top of page
  • Writer's pictureAleksandra Karpiuk

The Beauty in Embroidered Table Linen

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Born in the heart of South Wales, Elin Manon creates one-off, hand crafted items that combine elements of knitwear and reworked materials. Our signature Bucket Hats are completely hand made from carefully selected vintage and surplus fabrics. We are especially fascinated by vintage and embroidered linen – we carefully source individual tablecloths for each batch.

Why linen? Linen fabric is made from flax, and it is completely natural. Linen is one of the most sustainable and stylish fabrics in fashion history. We are especially drawn to its texture and character – linen is thicker than cotton and therefore feels more solid, without being too hefty or cumbersome. It lends itself well to natural dyeing and pairs well with other natural materials like cotton or silk.

embroidered table linens in floral designs from antique shop in Cardiff, Wales
Source; Photographed by Elin at the Pumping Station Cardiff

One of our inspirations for choosing embroidered linen for out Bucket Hats is its rich and fascinating history. It spans thousands of years with the earliest examples dating back to the Ancient Chinese. Examples of stunning embroidery can be found throughout the world, each reflecting the country’s culture and unique traditions. Many people believe embroidery was born out of a desire to decorate clothing or create intricate designs. The truth is, it was simply a result of the need to patch and up-cycle things, very much like we do now.

The oldest form of hand-embroidery is called cross-stitch. As its name suggests, cross-stitch is a double stitch crossing the intersections of the diagonal and vertical threads, usually on evenly woven fabrics like linen. Traditionally, cross-stitch was used to embellish household items such as napkins, tablecloths, doilies or used to make things like pillowcases, greeting cards or trivets. Historically, young girls and women were taught how to cross-stitch or do needlework to produce so called ‘samplers’ – a finished piece of cloth with different patterns or embroidered motifs. Samplers were rarely displayed. They were used more as a specimen of skill and would often contain educational elements such as letters of the alphabet or old sayings.

Our Bucket Hats are one of a kind, so once they're gone, they're gone!

For our signature Bucket Hats we use mainly early to mid 20th century embroidered linens with raised floral motifs and Cypriot inspired designs. Bright colours Cypriot embroidery stands out thanks to its bold geometric designs, often combined with lace and drawn thread work.

To us, table linen is so much more than just a piece of fabric. There is a story behind each piece. Were they intended as a wedding gift? Or made by someone trying to pass the time? Table linens are often a family heirloom, passed down from generation to generation, each individual thread painstakingly embroidered by ordinary women with patience and dedication. They evoke a sense of nostalgia, which charms both us and our customers.

'I absolutely love it. I never go without a hat in the sun and I know it will be worn over and over again. The fabric reminds me of nanna’s embroidery when I was a child. My 83 year old dad normally pinches my hat, he is not having this one’.

Robert Loyd, a customer.

Perhaps these days many of us don’t see much use for table linens anymore. Because of their uniqueness and rich history, we believe they are too precious to be thrown away or sent to landfill. We painstakingly source them from vintage or charity shops and re-make them into something new.

At Elin Manon, we aim to create nostalgic and relatable pieces. They carry both the sentiment evoked by old table linens and our core values: eclectic, circular, artisan fashion.

Up-cycled bucket hats in a market stall by designer Elin Manon

If you loved this article and are interested in sustainable fashion and artisan stories, sign up to our newsletter below

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page