Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Vintage Linen: Circular Crochet Edging – a Free Pattern!


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My One Weakness (among all my other One Weaknesses – there are many!) is vintage linens embroidered with whitework. I have a hard time resisting beautiful vintage linens, and I’ve collected quite a few over the years. When I can’t get my paws on “new” additions to the collection because the budget just won’t allow – and because, really, where could I possibly put another one? – I have a worrying habit of crawling the internet for photos of luscious old linens embellished with whitework.

It’s a curse. Or a blessing. It all depends on how you look at it! I find heaps of inspiration in old embroidered linens. They are a great springboard for design ideas, and a wonderful source for the study of embroidery techniques.

Several years ago (back in 2008!), I wrote a short article about a vintage embroidered linen with a pretty crocheted edge. The whitework embroidery on the linen is very pretty, but the real eye-catcher on the whole piece is the edging.

Vintage Linen with Crocheted Edge

And then I found out I’m not the only one out there who takes inspiration from vintage linens. While I might concentrate on the embroidered aspect of them, Megan Mills is enchanted by the crocheted edgings.

Upon seeing the edging on the vintage linen above, Megan contacted me to find out if she could reproduce the edging as a crochet pattern.

I thought that was a terrific idea, and, to help her out, I sent along some higher resolution photos. They weren’t the best photos in the world, but apparently they worked for her, because…..

Vintage Linen with Crocheted Edge

… she did it! Hurrah!!

I do so admire folks who can crochet beautiful, complex edgings like this when following a pattern. But to see an edge and reproduce it so perfectly just from pictures – I am all agog with admiration for that feat!

Megan has written up a pattern for the crocheted edging and made it available on her website for free. If you have a hankering for making your own new vintage linen – for encircling a round anything with a beautiful crocheted edge – do check it out!

Ah, me. If only I could crochet…


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(25) Comments

  1. Mary, Megan did a wonderful job! As soon as I get back (where I have a printer). I will be getting this pattern. I like to crochet in between projects so I don’t get bored. Thank you for allowing her to put her skills to work. Thank you Megan for sharing.


  2. Dear Mary

    This is beautiful like you I don’t crochet but I love lace and linen especially if they are antique. Lovely design and would look nice on any linen piece.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. What a lovely bit of work! Perhaps you might do a tutorial on attaching trim to finished embroideries?

    I have a knitted lace oval that’s meant to trim a linen centre. I wish I could find good directions for affixing it. The issue is that since the trim is circular not linear, the centre has to be cut exactly to fit. But since the trim is knit, it has a fair bit of stretch. So far all I’ve managed is a misshapen and rippled mess!

    1. Please excuse me popping in here Mary.

      Jennifer, try pressing the edging into shape, tacking it to the (uncut) linen in the correct shape – this gives room for manoeuvring. Once satisfied, stitch the lace to the linen with a tiny stitch like four sided stitch, then carefully cut the linen from the back of the knitting. By using four sided stitch or the like, fraying is avoided.

  4. G’day Mary,
    This is extra special and beautifully generous of both of you. Thank you. I have a collection of crochet edged linen too. Also some crochet bodices that would have originally been on nighties or petticoat type underwear. They’d make up into gorgeous retro dresses now or even…umm, a nightie! I can’t resist a lonely piece of linen and crochet that is passed by because it is tattered. (Not tatted. I just looked it up!) Parts of it, both embroidery and crochet, can be given new life in crazy patchwork etc.
    I’ve done a fair amount of crochet in my time but not for quite some time now. I still can’t resist a pattern though. Especially one like this and a number of others on Megan’s site are calling to me, like chocolate chip cookies call to Snoopy! Thank you Megan.
    A couple of years before I was pregnant with our first son I crocheted a bunny rug in baby wool. It has a wide border of bunnies in filet crochet.
    After many specialists and tests I was told that a rare problem I had gave me only a 1% chance of ever conceiving. Amazingly, at the time I was given that diagnoses, that 1% was actually a couple of weeks towards being a 100% wonderful baby son, and we had been trying for over 5 years! Back then we didn’t find out for many weeks later than you can now. I eventually had 2 boys who are very loving and helpful men now. AND, THE Granddaughter has been wrapped in my crochet bunnies bunny rug. Just a happy crochet story while we’re on that subject. And some dreamy reminiscing.
    Cheers, Kath.

  5. I was very interested in your today’s blog – I crochet and embroider so am easily sidetracked by any beautiful work using either or both craft. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the benefit of Megan’s Irish crochet patterns – also whilst trawling through websites – her work is terrific. The irony is that, living in Ireland, I’ve collected Irish crochet designs from NZ! Shows you how truly worldwide is the art of the needlewoman – long may it continue to be so.

  6. Love this edging – I have crocheted more than
    knitted over the years, and the beauty of crochet is once you know it, it is relatively easy to reproduce from (clear) photos.
    Thanks so much for sharing all that you do.

  7. This is a real beauty. Thank you Megan for creating the pattern for it, and thank you Mary for giving Megan the opportunity to re-create this vintage piece.
    I shall put this project on my 2013 TO-DO list. I can just see this gorgeous edging on table centre piece for my dining table, and I can’t wait to start it.

  8. Ooh, pretty. My first love is crochet, but I sell my crafts to make a living. Crochet takes too long to sell at a price that would make up for the cost of time and materials, so I seldom sell my crochet work. But that is a gorgeous pattern that NEEDS to go on a dress or a skirt or a tablecloth or or or… You get the idea 🙂 Thanks for the link!

    1. Please forgive the autocorrect error with my name… My iPad thinks it’s smarter than I am and changed my name from Luna to Sauna and I didn’t catch it till after the comment was sent!

  9. Oh thanks so much for this one Mary. !!!!! I immediately put my “new printer” into use and kicked out these pages. My grandmother had taught me to crochet when I was about 8 or 9 which then, gave me a desire to master other facets of the world of needlework. After my grandmother, who died in 1988, I now have YOU !! 🙂 🙂 🙂 <3 <3 <3 ….again thank you so much for your continuing tutelage.. Another pattern to embellish the edges of some of the pieces you have taught me how to do.
    …Judy in Pittsburgh

  10. Hi Mary,

    What a lovely blog! 😉 I knew you must have published it because today I have received all sorts of emails from people visiting you.

    If anybody decides to try the pattern and gets stuck with it then they can just drop me a line. I’ll do my best to help.

    Kind regards,

  11. Hello mary,

    I and my mom do crochet but i stopped and started embroidery and my mom continued crocheting, She will definitly love this. Thanks for the pattern

  12. Hi Mary,

    This question is about embroidering on eggs.

    I’m so intrigued about this technique, read
    your blog about using sodium silicate, researched it, and it was indicated that it
    can be caustic, so I definitely do not want to
    use it. Also, the other option to harden the
    eggshell was mod-podge, but would it leave the
    eggshell shiny?

    I would probably choose to use either duck or
    geese eggs, do you have a source to recommend?
    I checked e-bay, the eggs seem to be expensive.

    I’m looking forward to learn more about this


  13. The copy is amazing, as you say, real talent there.

    One particular technique I’ve never seen before is in the way the 2 lower petals of the 4-petal flower appear to originate behind the piece and are draped over the join of the 2 upper petals. The lower petals are attached at their lower edge where I presume they are under a small amount of tension to hold them in position.

    Would you be willing to take a closeup of the flower, front and back? I would love to figure out how that was done, and how this did not cause the center of the flower to roll out away from the plane of the rest of the piece. Besides being a inventive and a bit whimsical, this feature adds dimension to crochet in a way I’ve never seen before

  14. Hello Mary,
    I have acquired some linen napkins with crochet edging. I’m not sure how old they are but they have a couple of old stains on them and I am certain they are hand stitched with lovely floral embroidery too. Would you be able to give me some idea as to their age? Thank-you so much

    1. Hi, Sonia – Probably not, without actually seeing them in person and such. Plus, storage and environment can “age” textiles beyond their real age. Your best bet would be to find someone closer by – maybe an antique dealer who works with those types of things?

  15. Hi , i am hoping to can help me. I have searched Google flat, and cannot find any answers. I was given some beautiful old linens, embroidery all done , except for edges. One is a chival set , and each cloth is surrounded by a row of little holes. There isnt enough fabric to hem it. What is to be done ? I crochet very well , but havent a clue how to start the first row and what to do with the raw edge. Help !!!! Please !!!!

    1. Hi, Bee – Well, the problem is, I don’t crochet enough to know the technicalities of adding a crocheted edge in this manner. But I’m pretty sure the little holes are for crocheting an edge onto the linen! I would imagine that you’d start with some kind of slip knot into a hole, and then crochet from there, just as if you were crocheting any lacy edge. Maybe start by working slip knots or chain stitches or basic single crochet stitches into each hole, to make a foundation of a sort, and then crochet over that foundation in the round as you go. Maybe looking up crocheted edging patterns would help?

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