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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That Gingham Thingham


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Earlier this spring, I added a couple gingham embroidery or chicken scratch patterns to Needle ‘n Thread.

I was working on this chicken scratch design in particular while playing around with the stuff, and the resulting square is now something useful.

I call it a Gingham Thingham.

Gingham Embroidery Table Centerpiece

It’s actually just an 18″ square of gingham, embroidered with this design on two of the four corners. I would have done all four corners, or even embroidered around the whole edge, but time was a factor, and I put it aside.

So here’s a corner, finished. It needs a good pressing, but for all practical purposes, the Thing is Done.

The Thingham is really just a simple mat to adorn the center of a table, with a bowl of flowers on it or something to that effect. I’ll test it out on Sunday for Mother’s Day.

Gingham Embroidery Table Centerpiece

The back is lined with a plain white cotton.

So, construction-wise, it was just a matter of basting the ric rac into place on the gingham fabric so that just the little peaks of the ric rac would show, then sewing right sides together, turning inside out, and finishing the turn area by hand.

Ric rac on corners baffles me. There has to be a better way to do it, but this was all I could figure out if I wanted the corners flat and clean looking.

Once it’s ironed and on the table with a cheery abundance of flowers, I think it’ll look pretty cute. It’s a simple way to make use of an embroidery sample, anyway – and it’s a quick way to stitch up and put together a little handmade gift.

You can find more information about gingham embroidery – including patterns and stitching tips – in this index of articles on gingham embroidery.


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(21) Comments

  1. Ha – I know what you mean about easing rick rack around the corners. Either it’s pulled too tight and curls up like a bowl or if I ease extra into the corners, I don’t get it right and it’s bunchy looking. There must be a helpful hint on the great WWW some place. I’ve just never looked.

    I’m so tempted to do some chicken scratch again. It’s been decades. I’ve forgotten how cute or even pretty it can be.

  2. Dear Mary

    I do like your completed Gingham Thingham and the added edged ric rac looks so professional I love this mat and it will look lovely as a centre piece adorning your table especially with flowers or as a lovely gift. I really want to try this for my next project. Thanks for sharing this with us and I hope your mum has a lovely Mother’s day on Sunday.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. Good job. If they won’t let you call it chicken scratch, invent a new name and let the communities of the future decide what is going on. 🙂

  4. Oh – I love it! This is going to be my next project, so thank you for posting yours. I like your ric rac edging — it really adds that little certain something to the piece.

  5. It looks nice, Mrs. Corbet! I’ve just got to try chicken scratch sometime soon!

    I’m eleven years old today 🙂


  6. Hi Mary,
    I think it would look sweet as an embroidered cloth in a bread basket, with beautiful bread rolls wrapped in it. Nice on a summer table!

  7. Mary, that is so beautiful for Mother’s day. My grandmother and my mom both had linens of all sorts decorated with hand embroidery. I can remember gingham aprons with ric-rac trim.
    The best part is gingham, embroidery and ric-rac are still beautiful for today.

  8. It’s beautiful, and I love the way the purple flowers look different depending on whether there are white or red squares under the petals.

  9. Beautiful, Mary! I posted photos on the Ask & Share Gallery of a gingham smocked apron outlined in rick rack. The rounded edge of the apron makes it easier to apply rick rack or any trim, but the smocked pocket is triangular and I think the seamstress did a great job in the way she stitched the rick rack on at the point of the pocket.

    Your table will look really lovely with this beautiful Spring burst of color in the center! It would also work well covering a bread basket as someone else mentioned, and makes a wonderful hostess gift wrapped around a loaf of banana bread or other baked goodies!

    One of the nice things about Gingham Embroidery is that it is inexpensive to make and works up quickly. Nice for gift giving!


  10. Love your gingham! I collect vintage aprons with chicken scratch. I fold them neatly where a big section of the embroidery shows and have them stacked on top of my microwave. There is just something about this stitch that attracts me! Thanks for all of your posts.


  11. It turned out beautiful! I usually apply the rick rack the same or round the corners a bit more so it just flows around the edge. Rick rack was always on the aprons my Aunt’s made in the 50’s so it looks perfect with this piece!

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