Blessings and an Altar Cloth

This week, on Monday morning to be precise, a kind lady offered to help with looking after changing the altar cloth in our parish. I was delighted! What a blessing! So without beating about the bush, let me say that I haven’t been changing it weekly. Busy? Lazy? Tired? Anyway, I have been hoping that someone would offer practical help – thank you Holy Spirit for prompting Mrs. B to step up!

After a quick conversation to determine what would work best I realized we are short a cloth and so guess what? Yes, I’m making an altar cloth right now, it’s about half sewn.
Let me share a little known horror of working with linen:

Fresh out of the dryer.

So obviously after calculating yardage and cutting the appropriate amount off the bolt it has to be laundered; washed and dried on the hottest setting to make it shrink. Because as I have told you before, you don’t want a nasty surprise when you wash it and it no longer fits, do you??!
My friends, the above picture is the end after I’ve cut off all the loose bits. A bit raggy isn’t it? However am I going to get a neat hem from THAT?! Read on…

Of course I could just eyeball it and try to do a straight cut but what’s really needed is to follow one thread right across the width of the fabric. And just how am I going to do that… why, my dears, I’m going to draw (as in pull) a thread.
Here we go:


A wee snip at one end. Find a thread and start drawing it out. Go slowly. A pair of sturdy tweezers or other suitable tool is helpful because you’ll never manage it with your fingers. I keep a pair of little needle-nose pliers in my workroom for this job. All that puckering above is the drawing out about half way through. I actually managed to get the whole thread out this time, which is rather unusual over sixty odd inches.

Where to cut.

So you can see where to carefully cut, right? If the thread breaks halfway you just cut to where you can and then find the thread and start pulling again.
As I said a little known horror, slow. A bit tortuous.

But now I can set a proper hem!

Here we are! Lovely isn’t it? Ready for the hems and corners to be marked and set, pinned, stitched. Then embroidered, laundered and pressed again.

Anyway that’s all for now. Back to stitching it (yes, by hand!) because I want to get it to the wonderful Mrs. B by next Monday or Tuesday latest.
I’ll show you the other steps another day.

Thanks for reading.

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