Tea Time Linens with Alice in Wonderland

July 27, 2016By Janice FergusonEmbroidery, Projects 36 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Bring the magical characters of Wonderland to your own Mad Hatter Tea Party. With your Brother sewing & embroidery machine you can create a fantasy linen tea set for a special little girl’s birthday–or for her unbirthday! Have tea with Alice, the White Rabbit, the March Hare, and more of Disney’s Wonderland personalities, all machine embroidered on a tablecloth and napkins. A tea party is a great opportunity to discuss manners, hospitality and the rules of polite conversation with children. Meanwhile, you can learn about Madeira applique’, pinstitch, the exclusive My Custom Stitch from Brother and a handy technique for wrangling square corners into curves at the hemline.

image 1 A

Materials

  • Lightweight linen or 100% cotton:
  • white —1 yd. cut into 30” x 30”, four 8×8”
  • colors—four blue 5 ½” squares, four 4” square: one each blue, coral, green and yellow
  • Flat ¼” edging trim, such as tatting: 2 1/3 yds. Wider edging will require more yardage.
  • Needles: #100 wing or #100 standard for hemstitching, #75 for embroidery and construction
  • Thread: fine (50/2,-60/2 or 80/2) in colors to match colored linen for pinstitch on Madeira corners: blue, coral, green, yellow; white for basting; water soluble; embroidery
  • Notions: washout marking pencil, water soluble pen, tearaway stabilizer for embroidery
  • OPTIONAL: narrow paper stabilizer or strips of medium weight water soluble for hemstitching, seam sealant
  • Presser feet: open toe, embroidery
  • Miscellaneous: for Madeira templates– quilting template plastic OR card stock; for corner rounding template—stiff white cardboard 5×5”

Alice in Wonderland ibroidery.com designs

Tablecloth designs

  1. Alice in Wonderland Curtsy AIW01 – design center 2 3/8” above center Madeira curve
  2. Queen of hearts BRO-VV005 – design center 2 3/4” above center Madeira curve
  3. TweedleDee & TweedleDum BRO-AWL002 – design center 2 5/8” above center Madeira curve
  4. Cheshire Cat BRO-VV008 – design center 2 ½” above center Madeira curve

Napkin designs

  1. Alice in Wonderland AIW03 – blue – design center 2 ¾” above center Madeira curve
  2. Mad Hatter AIW04 – green – design center 2” above center Madeira curve
  3. March Hare AIW05 – coral – design center 2” above center Madeira curve
  4. White Rabbit BRO-AWL001 – yellow – design center 2 ¾” above center Madeira curve

Preparation

1. Download the PDF of the Madeira curve templates HERE for both the Napkin and Tablecloth, and cut from cardboard or quilting template plastic

Download: Alice in Wonderland Madeira Template

2. Cut corner curve from 5″x5” heavy white card stock. Use a simple curve like a jelly jar.

Making corner curve template
Making corner curve template

3. Starch and press all fabric until it is crisp. The tea linen set will turn out ever so much nicer if the fabric is very stiff. Spray starch, press, spray starch again and press once again. This gives good results.

NAPKINS

image 29 panned 4 naps

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Practice and experience gained from stitching the napkins pays off when tackling the larger tablecloth project. Trust me on this.

MADEIRA APPLIQUE CORNERS

1. Press each 4” colored linen in half diagonally.

2. With washable pencil, trace napkin Madeira template on to linen. Make certain the template point is at diagonal fold point before you trace with the pencil. If such a pencil is not available, a #2 pencil is preferable to water soluble. Using such a water soluble marker for this step may make the lines difficult or impossible to remove after the upcoming combination of iron heat and applied water.

Folded corner, template, pencil
Folded corner, template, pencil

3. Attach open toe foot then stitch on drawn line with water soluble thread, regular stitch length.

NOTE: Use these features if they are available on your machine– needle down, knee lift and camera with laser light to show needle entry point. Stitch slowly to reduce thread breakage.

4. Cut a scant ¼” above stitched line. Clip curves and be sure to clip the fold to the stitching line.

Cut, folded blue corner
Cut, folded blue corner

5. Turn right side out and smooth curves with point turner. Press dry.

Turned Madeira corner with point turner

6. Spritz seam line with water.

Corner with water bottle
Corner with water bottle

7. Press immediately, placing the iron on the corner piece. Do not move the iron, just press UNTIL ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY DRY or you will be really sorry . Then turn it over and press again.

8. Open folded corner gently. If there is resistance, carefully clip one or two stubborn threads to release the seam line.

Opening corner
Opening corner

9. Press opened Madeira corner and set aside.

10. REMOVE WATER SOLUBLE THREAD AND STORE IN AIR TIGHT CONTAINER. An empty spice jar or small plastic bag works well. This is so easy to forget but very important. I once inserted a sleeve with this water soluble thread. Totally unaware of my mistake, I rinsed the markings out of the dress and the sleeve fell out. Groannnnnnnnn…

11. Press ¼” to inside of white 8” napkin. If the white napkin was well starched (and it really needs to be—if it is not, starch it again), it can be finger pressed and then ironed. This saves your fingers from being burned as you make that little ¼” fold and press at the same time.

Napkin with ¼” folded sides on white linen
Napkin with ¼” folded sides on white linen

12. Round 3 corners of white napkin with card stock template. One corner is left square.

Rounded napkin corners
Rounded napkin corners

Tip: Moisten one corner then wrap around the template with tiny pleats. Press. Repeat with remaining 2 corners. Remember to leave one corner square.

13. Draw curve on WRONG side of unfolded Madeira corner, using cardboard template.

Unfolded, pressed corner, bottom corner drawn in
Unfolded, pressed corner, bottom corner drawn in

14. Pin RIGHT side of Madeira corner to WRONG side of white napkin, the side which shows the ¼” folded edges. Match raw edges and corner point.

Madeira corner pinned to napkin
Madeira corner pinned to napkin

15. Attach multipurpose J foot or ¼” foot. Stitch Madeira corner with ¼” seam allowance and white cotton thread. Regard marked curve on Madeira corner as if it were a raw edge.

Corner stitched, not trimmed
Corner stitched, not trimmed

16. Trim corner along blue marked curve.

Corner stitched, rounded, trimmed
Corner stitched, rounded, trimmed

17. Clip curves and turn to right side of white napkin. Clip into ¼” fold on each side of Madeira corner.

Madeira corner turned ¼”, clip
Madeira corner turned ¼”, clip

18. Press ¼” folded edge to wrong side. Baste around white napkin, through the blue Madeira corner and across top of that corner. Alternatively, the entire baste area can be secured with a glue stick. It is important to have all held in place before you begin pinstitching along those edges.

PINSTITCH

** Also known as Parisian hemstitch

This is such a classic and useful stitch. Traditionally, pinstitch secures a hemmed edge or joins lace to the edge of fabric. Its use at the top of the Madeira appliqué corner is expected, but the finish on the edge of the napkins and tablecloth is unique. It is worth studying the sequence of this stitch then practicing and mastering its uses.

OPTION: If you are short of time, the linen edges can be nicely finished with an heirloom roll and whip or a shirttail hem. An appliqué stitch across the top of the Madeira corner could hold it in place.

  1. Attach open toe foot.
  2. Insert 100 sharp needle. A wing needle makes a larger hole but might have difficulty penetrating several layers of anything heavier than lightweight linen at the beginning of the Madeira corner.
  3. Thread needle and bobbin with fine thread to match color of Madeira corner.
  4. Open Utility Stitch menu.
  5. Select pinstitch which is in screen 3, #304 on The Dream Machine, Quattro, Duetta and ULT series.
Madeira corner turned ¼”, clip
Madeira corner turned ¼”, clip

If you are sewing on a machine other than the Brother sewing/embroidery machines listed above, choose your pinstitch carefully. It should look like this diagram. Don’t be fooled by the appliqué stitch with a similar appearance.

image 19 pinstitch diagramXXX

Pinstitch advances forward and backward 3 times into the same two needle created holes. It goes forward once more into the second hole created. Next the needle reaches 90 degrees into the adjoining fabric, lace or into the air and returns to the hole it just left. It continues in this manner.

TEA LINEN NOTE: The repeated forward backward stitches which create holes are always worked into the white linen and only into the blue or colored linen at the bottom of Madeira corner curve. At the top of the Madeira corner, the forward backward stitches are in the white linen and the “reach” stitch goes into the blue corner. You will need to mirror image the stitch when you change direction. Look closely and you will see that the “reach” stitch is clearly visible in the blue linen at the top of the Madeira corner. At the bottom, the “reach” stitch goes beyond the fold leaving the pinstitch holes in the blue linen.
Pinstitch holes up and down
Pinstitch holes up and down

1. Set both stitch width and length to 3.0. Practice on a scrap with a fold. If there is any puckering, reduce the tension and/or use narrow paper or strip of water soluble stabilizer. Do not use regular tearaway stabilizer. The fine thread will be damaged when the stabilizer is removed. Stitch first over a folded edge of linen and then over colored linen stacked on folded linen—4 thicknesses—to evaluate whether adjustments to stitch length and/or width are necessary.

Pinstitch rehearsal, open toe foot
Pinstitch rehearsal, open toe foot

Begin pinstitching the napkins once the stitch pattern is familiar.

2. Pinstitch from lower edge of Madeira corner over scalloped top, creating holes in the white linen. When the top curve is complete, pivot, mirror image stitch pattern to place holes in blue linen, adjust the position of the fabric to go on around bottom edge of corner. Continue around napkin perimeter along the route as shown in image below.

Pinstitch route
Pinstitch route

3. Trim excess fabric from behind pinstitched hem. Do not cut away behind the Madeira applique’. Curved snips work well for this job.

Trimming behind pinstitch
Trimming behind pinstitch

4. Press well after trimming.

Editors Note: Janice is a wealth of information. For more information on the pinstitch, she has a wonderful post HERE on her own blog, Janice Ferguson Sews that’s chalk full of even more pinstich information!

EMBROIDERY

For Disney’s Alice in Wonderland linen tea set, characters for the napkins were paired with colored linen. Each design center should be marked as indicated, measured from the bottom of the center Madeira curve.

  1. Alice in Wonderland AIW03 – blue – design center 2 ¾” above center Madeira curve
  2. Mad Hatter AIW04 – green – design center 2” above center Madeira curve
  3. March Hare AIW05 – coral – design center 2” above center Madeira curve
  4. White Rabbit BRO-AWL001 – yellow – design center 2 ¾” above center Madeira curve

NOTE: In order to coordinate with the Madeira corners, embroidery threads vary from the colors indicated in the Disney embroidery design. Also note that the Disney trademark was stitched once only, on the Alice napkin.
1. Press napkin in half diagonally from Madeira corner to top of napkin. Then press flat. Crease will still be visible.
2. Load the 8 Alice in Wonderland designs in to machine.
3. Select Alice file #AIW03
4. Place snowman sticker for design center above center curve, as in listing above. For this particular Alice, the design is centered 2 ¾” above the lowest decorative curve on the Madeira corner. Without snowman function, draw vertical and horizontal lines to mark design center. Extend lines to edges of napkin for more accurate placement.

Snowman and measurement on napkin
Snowman and measurement on napkin

5. Attach embroidery unit and embroidery foot.
6. Open Alice file AIW03. Edit to include basting frame as close as possible to the perimeter of the design, so as to add no height to the design.

Alice design on screen with basting frame selected
Alice design on screen with basting frame selected

7. Hoop tearaway stabilizer in 4×4 frame. Spray back of napkin with temporary adhesive and place on frame with snowman centered. The napkin must be carefully centered as the design is 94.5 mm in a 100 mm frame. If you’re a just-in-case person, hoop in a 5×7 frame so there is room to position the design, “just in case” the napkin was not exactly centered when it was basted.

8. Use snowman function to locate design center, then remove sticker or center design on marked cross hairs.

Snowman icon on Brother’s THE Dream Machine
Snowman icon on Brother’s THE Dream Machine

9. Embroider Alice. NOTE: Do not allow basting frame stitches to penetrate pinstitching as they might be damaged. Advance the stitch pattern one stitch at a time until the frame has passed the pinstitches.

image 27 Alice nap emb

10. Repeat with other three designs.

MADEIRA CORNER FLAT EDGING TRIM
Return to sewing mode. Attach open toe foot.

  1. Cut 4 pieces of flat 1/4” edging trim 8 inches long for corners.
  2. Zig zag from pinstitch hole to tatting or other flat trim, using thread to match the linen color. Take care to add ease to the trim at the corner curve.
  3. Apply seam sealant to raw edges at beginning and ending of flat trim.
After adding tatting to the corners, apply seam sealant in these areas
After adding tatting to the corners, apply seam sealant in these areas

FINISHING

  1. Remove stabilizer and wash out placement marks.
Tea party ready napkins
Tea party ready napkins

TABLECLOTH

Madeira corners

  1. Fold each 6” blue linen square in half diagonally. Press.
  2. Finish Madeira corners just as napkins.

Pinstitch — Work pinstitch around tablecloth just as on napkins.

Embroidery — Follow steps 1-9 for napkin embroidery, but use the following tablecloth designs.
Tablecloth designs

  1. Alice in Wonderland Curtsy AIW01 – design center 2 3/8” above center Madeira curve
  2. Queen of hearts BRO-VV005 – design center 2 3/4” above center Madeira curve
  3. TweedleDee & TweedleDum BRO-AWL002 – design center 2 5/8” above center Madeira curve
  4. Cheshire Cat BRO-VV008 – design center 2 ½” above center Madeira curve

Madeira corner flat edging trim:

  1. Cut 4 pieces of flat edging trim 10 inches long for corners.
  2. Add flat edging trim just as on napkins.

My Custom Stitch

This exclusive feature on certain Brother machines opens a world of creative possibilities. In My Custom Stitch I created a zig zag patterned feather stitch for use on baby blankets and other items. If you would like to use this My Custom Stitch as shown on the tablecloth, it can be downloaded for FREE here.
I used the 3 mm size but it could be widened to 3.5 or 4.0.

However, the directions below are specifically for the 3 mm MCS. Because the size of the Disney Alice in Wonderland embroideries varies, the distance between them also varies. By centering 16” of My Custom Stitch zig zag feather stitch between each embroidery it is possible to begin and end each 16” run of the zig zag feather My Custom Stitch with a complete pattern, a complete inverted V.
Alternatively, another decorative stitch could be used.

Zig-Zag feather sewn out
Zig-Zag feather sewn out

My Custom Stitch cannot be mirrored. So the zig zag feather must be stitched with the bulk of the tablecloth to the right of the needle. I know, I know–this is not where the bulk is normally placed while stitching. But you can do this, I’m sure.

  1. Draw a line 4” above the finished edge around the tablecloth. No need to draw through the embroidery.
  2. Mark the center of each side.
  3. Align the 8” mark of a ruler on the marked center of the 4” line and draw a perpendicular line at either end of 16”.
Marked 16” line
Marked 16” line
  1. Remove embroidery unit and embroidery foot. Attach sewing ankle with open toe foot.
  2. Insert memory stick with zig zag feather stitch.
  3. Select Sewing option.
  4. Open Character and Decorative Stitch menu.
  5. Select USB option.
 My Custom Stitch screen 1 USB
My Custom Stitch screen 1 USB
  1. Recognize single zig zag feather pattern.
My Custom Stitch screen 2 shows single feather pattern
My Custom Stitch screen 2 shows single feather pattern
  1. Select feather and next screen appears, showing the stitch repeated.
  2. Retrieve the stitch by selecting the folder with the blue arrow.

image 34 close MCS screen 3 feather stitch

  1. Save stitch to memory by selecting memory pocket with red arrow.
My Custom Stitch screen 4 memory pocket with red arrow
My Custom Stitch screen 4 memory pocket with red arrow
  1. Place the presser foot at the beginning of the 16” section. The center line on the open toe foot should be in alignment with the marked 4” line.
  2. Pull an 8” length of bobbin and needle thread to the left side of the tablecloth and hold it for the first few stitches.
  3. Engage single pattern function as you approach the end of the 16” in order to complete the pattern precisely.
single pattern icon
single pattern icon
  1. Pull again an 8” length of needle and bobbin thread at the end of the 16” run of stitching before cutting. No tie off is built into the MCS stitch so the threads must be hand knotted. Then trim closely for a neat finish on the underside of the tablecloth. Or they can be woven through a few of the feather stitches.

Finishing

Rinse out all markings and press tablecloth. Invite a few children for tea.

Kindergarten Tea

    • 2/3 cup instant tea
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 tsp. ground cloves
    • 2 small envelopes lemonade mix
    • 2-3 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1 lb. jar Tang

Mix well. Add 2-3 teaspoons to 1 cup hot water.
Enjoy with friends and your new Alice and Wonderland linens!

    These Disney embroidery designs have been manufactured by Brother under a licensing agreement with The Walt Disney Company, through which Brother has permission to use Disney images. The embroidery patterns offered on iBroidery are for personal non-commercial use only. No license is granted for any commercial use of these embroidery patterns and any such use is strictly prohibited.
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36 Comments

  • Janice! This is a wonderful tutorial! You will inspire many kindergarten teas. I would love to make this set.

    • Thanks, Terry. This is such a fun project with the sweet Alice designs and the heirloom techniques. I hope you get this set made up for your little ones.

  • Beautiful as usual. What little children wouldn’t love to have a tea party with such a delightful tablecloth and napkins. Thanks Janice.

  • I love this project so much. I can not wait to make my granddaughter one, she loves tea parties and this will be a great Christmas present. I have been looking for projects as I plan on making most of there presents this year.

  • Another excellent tutorial Janice!!! The pin-stitch is my favorite stitch to use to make anything special. I hope that this post will encourage many others to try it out. 🙂

    Kathy

    • Kathy, I couldn’t agree more that pin stitch makes anything special. I love, love, love it and my Brother machine makes a perfect stitch. Thanks for your kind comment.

  • Thanks, Janet for the excellent photos and clear tutorial. They remind me why I like heirloom sewing so much!

    • Oh, Hilary, heirloom sewing is pure delight. I’m so glad you like the tutorial and all the photos. It seems like a lot of images, but “a picture is worth a thousand words!” Thanks for your comment.

  • Oh my, this is lovely! The directions are fabulous, just fabulous. I feel like I can really put this together on my own. Thanks for sharing!

    • Rebecca, the tutorial is quite long, but I want my projects to be do-able for everyone from absolute beginners to experts. I think you could easily stitch this. Thank you for your kind comment.

  • Janice I have looked this over again and these instructions are so clear anyone could make it. Thank you for another great tutorial. I am gathering my fabrics now.

  • Janice, Wonderland lives at my house again! Amazing tutorial! Thanks for making the Looking Glass so Clear!

  • Janice Thanks for sharing this tutorial. My granddaughter (who turns 16 next month) and I had tea parties almost every weekend when she was younger. I want to print these directions so that I can make a set and put it up for her in the event she has a little girl in the future. I had ordered a tea set for her that would great with this. Many of the pieces were broken but this Maw Maw purchased another set and it is in the box on top of the cabinets in my sewing room. What a beautiful gift this will make one day!

    • Oh, Susan, you are an awesome grandmother! You’ve already made wonderful tea party memories with your 16 yo granddaughter and now you are setting the scene for her to repeat the tradition with her some-day children. Thanks for sharing your sweet story.

  • Janice this is a wonderful tutorial as all your projects are. I love the child size tablecloth and napkins and I love the pinstitch also, it gives a beautiful decorative finish to projects. And thank you for sharing your custom stitch with us for this project. I have handkerchief linen and look forward to making this project. Thanks for another great project tutorial!

    • Betty, this is such a fun little project to make. Working with linen is always a joy and is such a good foundation for the My Custom Stitch feather. My Custom Stitch is such a great feature on Brother machines. Please share a picture when you get this made.

  • Janice,
    You do everything with such elegance. I just love this teat set. Every little girl should have tea with someone. Very inspiring!

  • The color of corner fabrics used give this project a vintage look which I like very much for a tea set. The images are well executed and the details as always are perfection.
    susanna

  • How precious! It’s too late for my granddaughters (who would have thoroughly enjoyed this) but- now there are the great-grands and I know they would be thrilled to sit at such a sweet table setting. Such skill and love sewn in every stitch!

  • Rosie, I couldn’t agree more! Having tea with a child is pure delight–the conversation and opportunities for gentle manners instruction are countless. It’s even more fun if you have dress up hats and child size gloves.

  • Susanna, I’m glad you like the different colors of the napkin corners. At first I was hesitant, but I needed to coordinate color with the different designs. Fortunately, I had those vintage linen handkerchiefs.

  • Rheeta, I would encourage you to make up a set like this. Your greats’ esteem for you might be even higher! Thanks for your sweet words. Let me know if you have any questions.

  • Your sewing is art! Thank you for sharing the process and for being so encouraging. I appreciate the clear and concise directions from you, a real master of our craft! Thanks Janice.

  • Thank you for all your sweet words, Terri. For the heirloom sewist, this project is pure joy to make. I hope those with no background in heirloom sewing enjoy seeing new techniques up close and personal. Knowledge of the pin stitch, entredeux stitch, Madeira applique and lace application enables anyone to tackle an heirloom project.

  • Janice I just again found one of your special superb tutorials . ( I just invested in the Dream & with these fantastic tutorials of yours you are like on my door step ( all house work on hold for now ). When you have hours of travelling distance to get any info to use the machine you are just like a Gold find . I will do this project asap . I just love what is on this website as it is so encouraging & helpful when you are at a loss of how to fix problems/ buttons to press etc that arise to use for this fantastic machine . Greatly appreciated all Dream info Thanks Coral

    • Hi Coral,

      Thank you AGAIN for another lovely comment!! Welcome to Stitching Sewcial. We are so glad you are enjoying the articles. Our writers and team put a lot of effort in to bringing their passions to you, our readers.
      Happy Sewing!!
      Best,
      Kimberli

  • So beautiful! Thank you Janice for this tutorial. I have a great niece that will definitely love this set.
    Cristina

    • Hi Cristina,

      Thank you for your comment! This is such a classic set that Janice created for us, I too adore it! Please be sure to tag us @BrotherSews and #StitchingSewcial if you post any photos on Facebook and Instagram so we may share in the joy of your work!

      Happy Sewing!
      Kimberli

  • Cristina, thank you for your kind remarks. Your niece will love having her own tea linens and the opportunity to play hostess to family and friends. My children and grandchildren both loved our tea parties at which we practiced “polite conversation.” They learned to ask how is your mother? are your roses blooming? what keeps you busy these days? They were also taught that your religion, your personal health and your personal politics are not good topics for polite conversation. Without fail, the young tea drinker asked, “What’s politics?” Childhood innocence at its best! Happy sewing to you, Cristina.

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