Luncheon Breakfast Sets Of Great Charm Grace Eastmen Macomber 1923 Feb Needlecraft Article Webres

We may receive a commission when you make a purchase from one of our links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for support!

Here is another cute pattern out of my February 1923 issue of Needlecraft magazine for a Luncheon or Breakfast set including a lunch cloth (better known as a placemat) and napkins.

While there is no true pattern for the embroidery motifs on the napkins included (it required sending in and ordering the pattern) – it is easy enough to follow and I may even try tracing the motifs by hand to include in our premium vintage pattern collection.

This article was written by Grace Eastman Macomber. I very much want to research these writers of the time, because so very little is known about them. It will probably take a while to accurately find info, however, as the needlecraft industry wasn’t well documented since it was “women’s stuff” back then.

One of the sad things about the antique magazines is they typically are not printed in color – so we aren’t able to see the beauty of the embroidery and filet crochet edging done in blue thread, but we can certainly use our imaginations!

I’ve included the original article as printed – naturally, the language is a bit flowery compared to how we write today, but I decided it would be better to include as-is in case I would mistakenly leave out anything important if you decide to recreate these!

The article includes a section about an apron, but sadly there is no pattern for that and the image is a bit difficult to see – but it does sound like a lovely idea!


Luncheon or Breakfast Sets of Great Charm By Grace Easton Macomber

No housekeeper considers her store of table-linens complete unless it includes several luncheon or breakfast-sets; and there is no reason why she should not have them in plenty, since they are SO inexpensive and quickly made.

There are, of course, elaborate luncheon-sets for formal occasions; and our homemaker will like to include one or more of this sort. But we are talking, just now, of the cosy, cheery breakfast or home-luncheon-set, more than likely to be of creamy unbleached cotton, or “liberty linen” which is dainty and durable, and spells service to the last thread.

Lunch Cloth Napkin Great Charm Feb 1923 Needlecraft Photo Webres
Lunch Cloth and Napkin of Great Charm, Feb 1923 Needlecraft Magazine, “The Round Corners are a Distinctly Novel Feature”

A set, made of our well-liked liberty linen, is most unusual in both style and decoration. The round corners are a distinctly novel feature. The embroidery is done entirely with one shade of blue, in outline-stitch and French knots-a repeating scroll-pattern with the knots in groups of three.

It is the same thing over and over; yet there isn’t the merest suggestion of sameness, and one is not at all likely to tire of the pretty design.

The edges of cloth and napkins are finished with machine-hemstitching, all ready for working the border of plain filet. For this, blue crochet-cotton, matching the color of the embroidery, is used.

  1. Work 2 double crochets (dc) in each little hole made by the hemstitching.
  2. Chain (ch) 5, * miss 2, a treble (tr) in next, ch 2; repeat. In the depression each side of corner, after making the last tr down t h e side, miss remaining dc and same up other side, and make a tr, omitting the 2 ch, the 2 tr coming together forming the space. Join last 2 ch to 3d of 5 ch.
  3. Ch 5, tr in next tr, ch 2, tr in next, continue working space (sp) over sp until you have made the last sp down the side of corner, putting a tr in the tr preceding the 2 tr which came together in last row, then make a tr in the tr opposite, missing the 2 tr, ch 2, tr in next, turn, 8 sp, double treble (d tr) in next tr, turn; ch 4, tr in next tr, 7 sp, tr in next tr of 2d row, ch 2, tr in next, turn, 6 sp. d tr in next tr back, turn, and continue in this way, decreasing 1 sp each time, until you have filled in 9 rows of sp, ending with a d tr in next tr back: then continue with sp over sp.
  1. Fill each space with 3 dc, 5 dc in each loop across the filled-in corner.
    The edge of the napkin has 2 rows of spaces all around, without the filling-in spaces; fill the 2d row with doubles, as directed.

Just imagine a sunny breakfast room, all in blue-and-white so far as the table is concerned, and a canary singing in the window! Here is just the set for it, made ready while the mistress of the manse is waiting for the bread to bake, or the baby to finish his nap!

It really is wonderful how much may be accomplished in the spare minutes that fall to the lot of the busiest of us, if we will but have a bit of pleasant work at hand all ready to utilize them.

The cloth is a little less than one-yard square when finished, with a plain hem, one-fourth inch wide. Turn the hem and baste it evenly, or press it; in any event it must be kept very straight and even, as on the exactness with which such small details are executed depends much of the good effect.

Using blue embroidery thread three strands of the stranded cotton buttonhole stitch or blanket-stitch over the hem, taking the stitches one-fourth inch, or the width of the hem apart. These stitches really outline three sides of a tiny square; for the fourth side, at the turned edge of hem, secure the thread at back of work, bring the needle through, pass it under one of the upright stitches at the base, not taking into the material, making a tiny buttonholestitch or knot, under the next stitch, and so on.

Then in the center of each little square, thus outlined, work a French knot. Nothing could be simpler or more easily accomplished, yet the finish is extremely effective and unusual.

Corner Decorations

The corner decorations are also pleasingly quaint; in one corner is the cream pitcher, outlined with blue, and with the handle of satin-stitch in the same color.

Napkin Embroidery Motif Detail Feb Needlecraft Photo Webres
Napkin Embroidery Corner Motif Detail Feb Needlecraft Photo

The graceful spray has stems and leaflets of green, the stems outlined, the leaflets done in loop-stitch, with little circles of French knots to represent the flowers- light blue, pink and violet; this is put on after the outlining is completed.

In another corner is the sugar-bowl, in another a cup and saucer, and in the fourth a chocolate or coffee pot or, possibly, a pot for tea, if that happens to be the favorite beverage of the family!

The work is the same throughout, so far as the outlining and flower-spray and handle are concerned, all quickly done and affording much satisfaction to the one who enjoys having her table attractive.

The napkins, fifteen inches square, have the same hem-finish, and each a different motif, slightly smaller than used on the cloth, but of same design and worked in the same way. The set is very goodlooking and will be appreciated.

You will like a pretty serving-apron – call it a breakfast-apron, if you please for use with either of these sets, although not necessarily matching them in decorative design.

Charming Serving Apron
Charming Serving Apron by Josephine Wells, Pattern No, 2142 N.

The one illustrated, with its trailing morning-glories, is especially pretty and suitable. It is of unbleached cotton, finished with a plain, narrow hem, the neck and patch-pockets edged with two rows of darning-stitch in pale-blue and violet, the morning-glory colors.

The embroidery is of the simplest order, the open flowers and leaves outlined with long-and-short stitch, the buds in the same stitch, solid, the stems in outline-stitch-all quickly done but pleasing in effect.

Short straps at the back button to each side of the apron, which is well fitting and will be approved because so “slenderizing’!

Having the apron, by the way, one may make tracings of the morning glory design before working it, and provide a breakfast-set of liberty linen to match!

When making ready the furnishings for a summer bungalow, whether at the beach, in the country or among the mountains, one cannot do better than to include one, two, three or more of these sets.

The material is so inexpensive that the outlay need scarcely be considered, and the work of embroidering them is very slight. To carry out one’s own ideas in their decoration will be found very pleasant.

Really their cost, both in time and money, will be saved over and again in laundry work, to say nothing of other manifold virtues we may credit them with.


I hope you enjoy this free pattern for this breakfast and luncheon set. If you would like me to create a printable of a hand-drawn reproduction of the motifs for the corner please let me know – It’s on my to-do list, but until someone requests it I probably will not make it a priority at this time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.