After a long and fruitless search, I think I’ve given up on the idea of finding place mats that coordinate with my china (Habitat set from a few years ago: white, with markings in all sorts of colours around the edges), table (oak) and kitchen decor (pale coloured murky green walls; bold floral curtains in the same murky green, with red and black). You can see a couple of snippets of what it looks like here and here, and this is the fabric we used for the curtains in the large window.
I have a lovely brown table runner that my mum bought at Zara Home in Amsterdam* and has let me have on a long loan – I was with her when she bought it, and don’t know why I didn’t buy one for myself at the time. Had I done that, I would have been all set: our table is rectangular, so two table runners are needed – one for the two people at the top of the table, and one for the two at the other end.
And so I have a new plan: to make two table runners. Even that is not easy: the fabrics I’m finding that look right are not washable, which seems a risky strategy for something that is going to sit under plates filled with food. I have some pale green oilcloth with white spots on which would look good, but I’m finding it sticks in the sewing machine. I looked in my Readers’ Digest sewing book and they suggest sewing through tissue paper, which I may try tomorrow night. Or, I may simply cut the edges very neatly and not hem them at all, which is an appealing idea right now.
Now that I’m away from my sewing machine I’ve been able to do some research – this is some excellent advice that I could have done with knowing about two hours ago: how to sew with oilcloth.
*I don’t know where else Zara sell their home goods – they are a Spanish company as far as I know, but a trawl round several Zara shops in Barcelona about this time last year turned up nothing.
UPDATE: joy of joys, you can now order Zara Home things online (if you live in Europe). There’s a rather steep shipping fee of £7.95 though, but I suppose if you found something you loved it’s worth it. And it is cheaper than a flight to Amsterdam.