Heirloom Thanksgiving Bread Cloth (free tutorial)

It is not Thanksgiving at my house without some fresh homemade rolls.   If my son does not eat them all, they are pretty tasty for little turkey-cranberry sandwiches. I have a very pretty bread cloth that my mother in law gave me many years ago.  It makes me think of her when I use it and we lost her last year.  Everyone needs a little bread cloth to make Thanksgiving special and perhaps it will become an family tradition.  Here is how to make an heirloom Thanksgiving bread cloth for your hot, buttered rolls (homemade or not!). Use the fancy stitches on your sewing machine to sew the heirloom inspired hem. Then embroider one of my designs in fall colors for to match your Thanksgiving decor.  This would be a great gift too!

Materials needed:

  • 18″ x 18″ square of heavy cotton fabric (1/2 yd of linen or a heavy white kona works well)
  • Size 100/16 Wing needle (for those fancy heirloom stitches on your sewing machine)
  • White thread
  • Embroidery floss in Fall Colors
  • Free breadcloth pattern below


  1. First make the bread cloth.
  2. Cut out the Thanksgiving bread cloth using my FREE Pattern. It also has my free embroidery designs too!
  3. Iron and starch the cloth really well.  You may want to put down something on your ironing board for the overspray as it gets pretty crunchy with a lot of layers.bread cloth
  4.  Fold over 1/2″ all the way around the cloth and iron.bread cloth
  5. You will need to snip the inner corners to get the fabric to fold.bread cloth
  6. For the pointy corners, fold in the corner.bread cloth
  7. Then fold each side to form a miter.bread cloth lori miller designs
  8. After you have ironed,I like to hand sew the inner corners so that there are no raw edges. The rest of the sides get caught by the fancy heirloom stitching. Just fold each edge under and take some tiny whip stitches to hold them down. At the point in the corner, I just make about 3 or 4 satin stitches and it looks just fine.

Stitch the fancy hem

  1. Put your wing needle in your sewing machine.  I just used regular white all purpose thread.P1090318
  2. Choose an heirloom fancy stitch. Here are couple to try.  The ones I used were 701 and 711 on my Bernina 630. Just find a stitch on your machine that looks like one of these.P1090322
  3. Stitch about 1/2″ away from the edge so that the fancy stitch catches the raw edge of the hem underneath. Hint: If the fabric is puckering, add a little stitch and tear stabilizer underneath it.
  4. Stitch all the way around. This will take some time so be patient, but you will be so happy because it looks awesome. Now your bread cloth is ready for embroidery.
  5. I have included two FREE embroidery designs to try on the pattern, a little pumpkin and a fall tree.


  6. Here is the pumpkin.P1090326
  7. Using three strands of embroidery floss, embroider the pumkin and leaves with a stem stitch.stem-stitch-clean-and-sized-600x276
  8. Here is a diagram of a stem stitch.

  9. For the little tree, I made the trunk with a chain stitch (just a bunch of lazy daisies strung together) and the leaves are just lazy daisy stitch.lazy-daisy-stitch-clean-and-sized-600x276
  10. Now your bread cloth is all ready to place in your basket and fill with rolls or bread for Thanksgiving.  These would also be great with a holly design for christmas gifts.  Happy Stitching and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

I Love Bread

I love bread.  I have a very old bread-making machine that keeps chugging along and I usually make it in the dough cycle so I can finish the goodies up in the oven.  It does the  mixing, kneading and rising for me.  This was about Thanksgiving time and I was inspired by an heirloom bread cloth  my Mother in Law had given me, but it was very plain.  I decided to make two new ones, one for me and one for her with some added embroidery pizzazz.  I got to play with fancy stitches and needles on my sewing machine too.

LMDesigns Bread Cloth

I started out with this basic pattern.

LMDesigns Bread Cloth

I just used white cotton kona for the fabric, wish I would have had some white linen.  I used a fancy heirloom stitch on my machine and a very large wing needle to hem the entire thing.  I sewed right along the seam so the stitch caught it.

LMDesigns Bread Cloth

I sketched out a couple of designs and started to embroider on one of the flaps.  this is a cute orange pumpkin and oak leaves.

LMDesigns Bread Cloth

Here you can see the fancy stitches better and my embroidery.  I just used a simple stem stitch for the whole thing.

LMDesigns Bread Cloth

For my heirloom bread cloth, I stitched a tree with colorful fall leaves all in a chain or lazy daisy style stitch.

It was a perfect gift to send for Thanksgiving since we could not be together.  And I made a big batch of dinner rolls nestled in my cloth for us here in Michigan.