Thursday, June 19, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Square Tablecloth

It's been a long time since I regularly updated a blag, so I have a large backlog of projects that I'd like to talk about. Since it's Thursday, I think it's the right day for a past project! This first one is a really simple tablecloth project, which you can easily mimic for your own table.

Our dining table is 48"x48" square, which is actually fairly irregular. We had it custom made from Room and Board, sized to be the perfect board game table–and it is! The only problem is, it's difficult to find square tablecloths that fit. Rectangular ones are both too long and too narrow, and circular ones look a little bizarre on the square. 

I did a few quick searches, and found that standard table widths are around 35"-40" wide, and tablecloths drop around 10", give or take a few inches. So if I want a 12" drop on each side of my table, I would need a tablecloth that is 60"x60".

I've had this blue and silver batik fabric around for quite a while; I had bought it two years ago at Christmas as a furoshiki cloth, and I think I used it for that purpose just once. At 44" wide, however, it was still too narrow, but I found a mostly matching blue cotton in my stash to fill out the ends. A bit of measuring and cutting (OK, I got lazy and ripped. At least I was on grain as a result!), and I was ready to sew.

Sewing the ends together

Trimming to move the seam allowance under the more opaque solid blue.

Topstitching with some silver thread I found.

Add a simple hem to the edges and voila!

So, how can you make your own? First, if you don't know the dimensions of your table, you should measure it. Then, find some fabric you like! It should be longer than your table; that is, if your table is 36" long, and you want a 12" drop on the ends, you should get at least 60". Add a couple of inches for seam allowance, and this means you should get about 1 3/4 yards.

To find the width, either read the label on the bolt when you buy it, or measure across the fabric, from selvage to selvage. Make sure your measuring device is perpendicular to the selvage!

Pro tip: with most plain weave fabrics, especially cottons, you can make a snip in the selvage, and then rip across to the other side, and this will get you a straight edge. You've got to be fast about it; pretend you're ripping off a bandage.

If you intend to wash your tablecloth after using it, wash the fabric now, so that any shrinkage happens uniformly, before you start sewing. After it's dry, measure its width again. Is your fabric wide enough? If not, then cut some coordinating fabric the same length, and sew it to the selvages like I did with mine.

Once your cloth is the right size, straighten the edges and do a small hem, and you've got a brand new tablecloth!

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