Sew Your Own: Downtown Tablecloth Tutorial
Let's Get Started!
Tired of the traditional department store tablecloths that look like they belong in your grandmother's house? (No offense Grammies everywhere, you probably wouldn't want these either). If you're looking for a great housewarming gift or just a way to add a new look to your place, try this fun and easy project. Here's how:
1. Always wash and dry your cloth as it will be laundered once your project is finished. Then iron it all out. Sometimes you (and be you I mean me) might be tempted to skip this step. Don’t do it. You’ll regret it when you have a puckered up project after one wash.
2. Measure your table. You can adjust the drop (amount hanging off the table) to whatever you like, but I chose 6″, which is pretty standard. This means that I added 6″ to each edge, or 12″ overall. So their 42″ table wants a 54″ x 54″ tablecloth. I wanted a 3″ border, so the main fabric will be 48″ when all sewed together.
3. Once you decide on the finished dimensions, you add in for seam allowances. I like a 1/2″ seam allowance so that means adding a full inch to the cut piece (one 1/2″ for each side)
So the actual pieces you cut are as followed:
1- 49″ x 49″ main fabric (mine is an Amy Butler design)
4- 56″ x 4″ border fabric
1- 55″ x 55″ lining fabric
4. Fold one lining piece and the main fabric in half and iron in a tiny mark showing in the halfway point. Line up the fabrics rights sides together, matching the center points, and pin
5. Sew down the length with a 1/2″ allowance. Pull the pins out as you go and keep tension on the fabric to keep the layers even. Repeat with the opposite border piece. Press the seams open.
5. Repeat with the opposite border pieces.
4. Now for the mitered corner. Don’t be afraid, seam rippers were invented for a reason. Grab the opposite corners and fold the tablecloth in half on the diagonal. Taking care to match up the seams, iron a crease in and put in a few pins to keep the corner in place when you sew. Using a ruler and a fabric marker, draw a diagonal extending from the crease of the main panel. Pin.
5. Sew along the line you drew, starting at the seam between the border and the main fabric. Once you’re done, flip it over and check it out. It took me a few times to get it just right, but once you see it you’ll know what went wrong. If you’re happy with it, trim the seams to about a 1/2″. Repeat with all four corners.
6. Iron out the whole exterior and make sure you’re completely happy with those corners and that they have produced some rockin’ right angles.
7. Lay your lining right sides together on top of your exterior. Getting it all lined up can be a bit of a trick, but I suggest pinning each corner and then smoothing it out with your hands or a ruler from the center. Once you’re happy with it, pin all the way around.
8. Sew all around, but leave about a foot of seam on one side unsewn. This way you can pull it inside out. Make sure you turn the corner of the seams on the mitered seam.
9. Clip the corners off as close the corner as possible without clipping the stitches. Trim down the seams to about 1/4″. This will allow for sharper corners and edges.
10. Turn the whole thing inside out. Now you need something to push the seams out. I prefer my fingers, but there are tools designed for this task, and a butter knife will work just fine. Run your finger/butterknife carefully down the entire seam from the inside, especially on the corners. This will create sharp corners and edges.
11. So now it’s almost done, but there’s about a foot of seam that’s not sewn. What to do? Some people would slip stitch this. Since I’m bad at slip stitching, I choose to topstitch around the edge of the entire tablecloth. To do this I ironed out all the edges, pinned them every so often and took special care to turn in the seam and iron in the open portion. Then I topstitched very close the edge all the way around. And woohoo! You have your very own downtown cool kids tablecloth!
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