Saturday, March 5, 2011

Make it: Tablecloth

"Why buy it when I can make it?"

It may be one of my mantras, and it is definitely another confession of mine.  There are only a few things I won't attempt to make myself: clothes, tortillas, cheese, and mayonnaise (though I wouldn't consider that an exhaustive list).  Most everything else my little engineer mind relishes in creating from scratch, seeing parts come together to make a beautiful, useful whole.

I began browsing a few months ago when I decided we needed a tablecloth, but I couldn't find anything I liked.  The options were either too formal, too flashy, too expensive, or just ugly.

What's an girl to do?  Make her own, of course.  The internet proved somewhat useful as I found a large following of crafty homemakers with a plethora of advice on home-made tablecloths.  The catch was that I didn't have access to a sewing machine--so I had to get creative.  Back in the recesses of my mind, I remembered a craft mom and I did where we used Stitch-Witchery, a net-like fusing fabric.  Hobby Lobby carried it in 5/8" tape, which proved perfect for the hemming.

Fabric Details:  This lovely fabric was $4/yard (on clearance from $30/yard), and is extra-wide (54").  I have approximately a 6" drop on all sides.  My table is oval, but I chose to leave the tablecloth square, because it seemed too difficult to round the corners.  (Note:  Wash your fabric before you sew it.)

Finishing Details:
  • Measure the length and width of the table.
  • Add double the drop length (6" + 6" = 12") to each dimension.
  • Add width of hem (2" + 2" = 4") to each dimension.
  • Cut cloth to dimension.*
  • Starting at corner, measure a 1" fold and iron (fabric-only, at this point) along the entire side.
  • You now have two options:
    • Pin and sew across the edge
    • Working with ~12" sections of Stitch-Witchery (I used heavy-duty), iron for 10 sec. each side with steam setting.
  • Repeat for all four sides.
To make sure my hem was secure & wouldn't fray, I did a second fold & hem around the edge.  I found the fabric was too thick at the edges, so I hand-stitched them.

*If your fabric isn't wide enough:
  • Buy double the length you need and cut it in half (hamburger style)
  • Place one piece on top of the other, pattern-side in & sew long edges (creating a cylinder)
  • Bring sewn edges together to find the middle of one piece and make a mark down the middle with a fabric marker (alternatively, you could iron to form a crease).
  • Cut along the mark, and now you have double-wide fabric!

P.S.  I got these five books for $3.50 at the public library book sale today.  (Basically a STEAL!)  Titles are as follows: The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine by Jeff Smith, Thomas Aquinas: Selected Writings edited by Rev. Father M. C. D'Arcy, Flatland by Edwin A. Abbot, Freezing and Canning Cookbook by Food Editors of Farm Journal, and a recipe book for my Tupperwave Stack Cooker.

P.P.S.  This goes with another personal mantra, "Why pay full price when I can get it used for much less?"


  1. I love how the tablecloth turned out! And paying full price is so over-rated...good work!

  2. Woot yah for buying books! Thanks for going with me!

  3. Mantra #1 & 2 are both fabulous life mantras to live by, but I will say that tortillas are not too difficult to make, just a little time consuming.