Friday, March 21, 2014

DIY the Perfect Tablecloth

DIY the perfect sized tablecloth with fabric that is cheap/affordable and cute.  Easy sewing project that takes no longer than an hour. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

I love tablecloths.  They keep the table looking nice, the toddlers can "accidentally" make a mess on them, and I can just toss them in the washer with no harm done.  Green smoothies seem to be the biggest culprit for a tablecloth change in our house.  

I have come to really love the convenience of a tablecloth, but to be honest there was a time where I couldn't find a tablecloth I liked in the size I needed.  It was kind of ridiculous.

I feel there were/are way too many old lady, way too nice lacy/frilly, tablecloths out in the world when really I just wanted something that looked nice, young, fun, fit my table, and did the job.  If I did find an okay tablecloth they were ridiculously expensive and usually not quite the size I needed.  It was kind of frustrating.   

Eventually I came to the conclusion that I was not going to find a tablecloth I liked for a price I liked, so I should just make one.  

I've made several tablecloths since that decision, and I couldn't be happier with them.  They are easy to make and very affordable... aka easy on the wallet so I can buy other fun baking items.  

First step in The Perfect Tablecloth is to buy the fabric.  

You'll have to measure your table and then add the hangover amount you would like.  The ideal hangover amount is anywhere between 8 and 10 inches on each side.  However, you can go longer depending on the look you are going for.  The longer the hangover the more formal a table can look.  With my young kids I didn't want too long of a hangover so I went with 8 inches.  

For the quick math, measure your table length and width.  Add 16 inches (b/c you want 8 on each side) to the length, and then add 2 inches for seam allowance.  That should give you the length/amount of fabric to buy.  Be sure to add a little extra to allow for shrinkage when you wash and dry the fabric.  

Don't worry if you end up with extra fabric.  I'm going to show you some fun things to do with that extra fabric.        

DIY the perfect sized tablecloth with fabric that is cheap/affordable and cute.  Easy sewing project that takes no longer than an hour. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
Now as far as type of fabric to get, you don't want a flimsy fabric but instead need something with a little weight so it keeps it's place a bit on the table and has a bit of durability to it.  Heavier fabric is pretty expensive at JoAnns even with a coupon, but Ikea actually has the most perfect tablecloth fabric.  Their fabric is super cheap, pretty decent quality, it's the heavier fabric you need/want, and they have some crazy to more toned down fabric prints to satisfy whatever your heart desires.  Seriously, head to Ikea for your fabric and you'll end up getting a tablecloth for about $7 a yard.  That's pretty darn awesome!

Second step is to wash, dry, and iron your fabric.  This is a must for any sewing project.

Third, you will want to square your fabric off.       

If you see in the picture below the fabric is shorter on one side/edge.  When you buy fabric and then wash it it doesn't end up squared and ready to sew.  Therefore you need to cut it so it is all even.   


DIY the perfect sized tablecloth with fabric that is cheap/affordable and cute.  Easy sewing project that takes no longer than an hour. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

You can do this a couple of ways, but it depends on the fabric pattern you bought.   If you bought a fabric with stripes or dots and there is a set line of sort with that pattern you can lay your fabric out flat and on one end see what line or dot you want to cut up too.  For example, on my polka dot tablecloth I found a the first row of dots that was complete and used the bottom of that dot to cut my fabric aka square my fabric off.  

If your fabric doesn't have a set pattern with distinct rows you can use the string method shown below.  On the shortest part of your fabric begin to gently pull a piece of string.  You will see this string pull across the width of your fabric.  That string will give you a squared or even "line" to cut across.   
DIY the perfect sized tablecloth with fabric that is cheap/affordable and cute.  Easy sewing project that takes no longer than an hour. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
Fourth, cut the length

I found it easiest to lay my fabric in fourth lengthwise (like a hotdog).  It allows me to work with the fabric a bit better.  Since my fabric is squared on one end I measured down one side the length that I need (94 inches for me) and mark that with a pin.  

Then I would measure down the other side the same amount and mark it with a pin. Finally, I would use my cutting ruler (b/c it is long enough to go from one side to the other) and cut the fabric.  

Now, you should have squared fabric on both ends.  You can do the same process with the width.  I am lucky that on the width I don't even have to cut the Ikea fabric so I just leave the selvage edges.

DIY the perfect sized tablecloth with fabric that is cheap/affordable and cute.  Easy sewing project that takes no longer than an hour. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
Fifth, iron the seams of the tablecloth. 

Using an iron and a ruler you need to iron and pin your seams.  Earlier I accounted for 2 inch seam allowances on the length.  I like to first press/iron up 3/4 of an inch, then I measure up 1 1/4 inches more and press that.  That fold prevents the fabric from fraying over time.  
DIY the perfect sized tablecloth with fabric that is cheap/affordable and cute.  Easy sewing project that takes no longer than an hour. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
I press and pin the entire seams.  As I stated earlier I don't have to cut the selvage off of the width of the tablecloth.  Therefore, I fold it up about an inch (depending on the selvage and any Ikea printing) and press the seam there.  The selvage will not fray so you don't have to worry about that edge showing.  

Sixth, pin/miter the corners.

The picture below shows the four steps to miter the corner.  First, fold up the corner about a 1/2 an inch and cut a triangle off of the top so it looks like the top left picture.  Second, fold each side in until they meet in the middle.  It should look like the bottom left picture.  Finally, pin the mitered corner.    
DIY the perfect sized tablecloth with fabric that is cheap/affordable and cute.  Easy sewing project that takes no longer than an hour. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

Seventh, sew a straight stitch around your entire tablecloth removing pins as you go. 

You do not need a fancy sewing machine or even a fancy stitch for this tablecloth.  All you need to do is sew a simple straight stitch about 1/8- 1/4 inch from the inside folded edge like you see below. 

When you get to the corner you will make a simple triangle to secure your mitered corner down.  In the top left box you will see I continued past the mitered corner line and sewed an extra 5 to 10 stitches onto the other seam.  Place your needle down into the fabric, raise your foot (but your needle is still in the fabric), turn your fabric 45 degrees like you see in top middle box, and then lower your foot.  Next, holding your reverse down sew backwards until you are about 5 or 10 stitches past the mitered line again.  Place your needle down into the fabric again, raise your foot, turn your fabric another 45 degrees (so now your have turned 90 degrees total in the same direction), and lower your foot.  Your fabric and table cloth should look like the top right picture.  Now you will be facing forward on the next side of your fabric and you can proceed to sew a simple straight stitch along the edge of the fabric.  

When complete you will now be able to see a stitch line of a triangle in your mitered corner as shown below.    
DIY the perfect sized tablecloth with fabric that is cheap/affordable and cute.  Easy sewing project that takes no longer than an hour. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
Finish sewing around your tablecloth created that triangle in each of the four mitered corners. 

Eighth, you can now enjoy your completed tablecloth that was cheap and is the perfect size for your table.  
  
DIY the perfect sized tablecloth with fabric that is cheap/affordable and cute.  Easy sewing project that takes no longer than an hour. Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

To be honest, the cutting and ironing/pressing of the seams takes the longest.  For a beginner sewer like myself this tablecloth takes me no longer than 2 hours from start to finish.

PS, my kiddos love this new tablecloth fabric with all of the butterflies, bees, and ladybugs to find.   

2 comments:

  1. You are way too crafty for me :).

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    Replies
    1. You are nice... but seriously they are so easy!

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