Seaside Madeira Table Linens



Making these  table linens was a nice break from sewing for my granddaughters. Fine white linen is paired with lime green and embroidered with a fun blue fish.  This color combination reminds me of the beach, just 30 miles away.

Sitting on the screened breakfast porch, looking out over our front yard with this table setting made me just as happy that I was not roasting on Daytona Beach and scanning the waterfront for sharks.  It’s very peaceful on my porch.  I enjoy pulling out dishes and napkins that coordinate with the setting.

Linen is one of my favorite fabrics and Madeira applique’ is one of my favorite sewing techniques.  Add pinstitching and embroidery–well, just let me tell you I was having a big time!  I never once missed lace or a girlie  angle.  If there is any interest, I would be happy to put up a Madeira applique tutorial.  Let me know if you would find that helpful.


corner tablecloth 2


A square tablecloth was added to this imagine-you’re-at-the-beach set of table linens.

I really enjoyed stitching these new Brother designs.  The unique stitches create marine life with the kind of irregular, spiny edge that you see on shells found on the beach.  A different sea creature was stitched on each corner.  Note the  texture.


crab corner


This reminds me just how tasty the blue crabs are in this area.


corner fish


Except for the color, this could be a delicious Red Snapper.  When we were newlyweds, we rented a little house one block from the ocean.  We reveled in the beach life, enjoying picnic dinners in the sand, walking along the shoreline as we talked about our day and falling asleep each night to the sound of the surf.

We soon discovered that by 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon the fishing boats came in to dock at the inlet a few miles away.  By 5:00 I was buying fresh snapper from the nearby fish market.   And by 6:00 even the novice cook that I was managed to have a fine dinner on the table.


corner starfish


As a young couple, Bob and I often found prickly starfish and stinky horseshoe crabs as we walked along the gulf beach when we visited my parents in Sarasota. Since then we have enjoyed sun and surf with our children and grandchildren.

This tablecloth evoked lot of sweet memories.  And it was a refreshing diversion from little girl clothes.


beach sign2

Cute  beach story:

A few weeks after we married and moved to the beach, Bob bought a little sailboat.  We had met the previous summer in the Berkshire Mountains at a children’s camp where he taught sailing.   So he was thrilled to be so close to the water and to be able to sail.

We were hardly settled in our little house when 8 year old neighbor Teddy came calling.  Immediately he was a fixture in our home and our life.

One Saturday, Bob was sailing with his brother Chuck and our Border collie, Clio.  Shortly after they all returned from their outing, Teddy came rushing in, fresh from fishing at the big pier.  He was breathless and firing non-stop questions.

“Bob, were you just sailing?”  “Yes, Teddy.”

“Did you sail by the pier?”   “Sure did.”

“Was Chuck with you? ”  “Yep.”

“Did you have Clio in the boat?”  “Uh-huh.”

“Were you wearing a red hat?”    “Yeah, Ted.”

“Was Chuck wearing blue trunks?”   “He sure was.”

With an explosive grin and his arms flailing wide he declared, ” I SAW YOU!”

Teddy was a kid who did not jump to conclusions.


9 responses to “Seaside Madeira Table Linens

  1. This was sew much fun to read! And YES, please do a tutorial on how to do Madeira applique. I love your projects, they look crisp and fresh… Very appealing.

  2. Oh, Janice, what a funny story! Love the colors in your table setting – how charming. Your work is lovely, the little sea creatures a whimsical touch. A Madeira appliqué tute would be appreciated. Thanks for all you share.

  3. Nananeva, I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I certainly enjoyed writing it and sewing those linens. Right now I’m staring at some serious deadlines and have two big weddings I’m involved with (see Playgroup Mamas post) But as soon as I am freed up, I will get started on the Madeira tutorial. I love that technique. Thanks for writing.

  4. Echo, I’m glad you enjoyed that story about Teddy. That happened 46 years ago and I often wonder what happened to that adorable, curly haired boy. I was generally pleased with the table linens. That rarely happens.

  5. Another beautiful and inspiring project! I would love to see a Madeira tutorial and would also appreciate any hints on your perfect pinstitching. My one attempt looks like the “bad” example photo in Fine Machine Sewing, but I haven’t figured out the fine-tuning.

  6. Thank you, Nancy. I’m glad you like this project with all the Madeira applique and pinstitching. It will be a little while, but I do plan to offer a Madeira applique tutorial. You might find my pinstitch tutorial helpful. It’s detailed and lengthy with a second post with more info.

  7. Gorgeous linens! Love the line green linen!

  8. Thanks, Kay. I think the lime green gives a crisp, contemporary look to a traditional table setting.

  9. please I would love to have a written instr. sheet from you on how to do a madeira hem for a pillow case. I am 65 yr s old and have a new machine emb. machine and I want to make a few nice pillow cases for gifts. If this would be possible please email these inst. and supply list to me. Thank you so much, Little old lady from Lousiana

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