I blame a book for setting me down this handmade tablecloth journey.
Why a Handmade tablecloth?
My rekindled dreams of a vintage/cottage core home were influenced by yoga and a blanket. For more on this story, refer to episode 107 of the podcast. Anyway, while my aesthetic dreams were tickled by yoga and a blanket, they were reinforced by a decorating book.
Did I purchase the book to actually help me decorate, no. But that is besides the point.
The idea for a handmade tablecloth came from a Cath Kidston book I recently purchased, Vintage Style. While she doesn’t provide precise instructions for the handmade items in her home, she does describe them. The book also offers gorgeous imagery to help fuel your creative endeavors.
When I read her description of a red sailboat tablecloth, I thought “I shall need to keep a lookout for vintage fabrics.” While thrifting for such items provide a sudden rush of adrenaline and fill one with a sense of triumph, finding them in your stash is just as satisfying.
Especially when they come with heartwarming stories.
For 2 years, I’ve been hoarding 1 yard of Kokka dog breed fabric, that my dad got me for Christmas. It’s a very fun fabric with head-shots of happy curious dalmatians, shiba’s, bull dogs, schnauzers, huskies, etc. Set against a creamy beige background. The fabric is a blend of cotton/linen and it’s beautiful.
I really love this fabric. The first time I purchased it, I only bought 1/4 yard and made this pillow. At almost $16 a yard, I felt it was too indulgent. Which is why I was absolutely floored when my dad bought me the yard the store had left.
Sadly, this fabric has been discontinued. Before you ask, no, 1 yard is not enough fabric to cover my 72” long table. But following along with Cath Kidston, it is enough if one combines fabrics.
Luckily, a year ago, I had purchased 2 yards of quite a heavy cotton/linen fabric to sew some crochet hook cases. It’s remained mostly untouched. Alas, still not enough fabric to cover my 6 seater. Hence, employing crafty cutting and sewing methods is a must. Let’s walk through the process together.
Sewing a handmade tablecloth
Firstly, press all fabric to ensure even sewing.
Secondly, cut your center fabric in half lengthwise.
- With right sides facing, paying attention to the directional print, pin top and sew together. The goal is to have a longer piece of fabric.
- As I was being economical with my fabric, I stitched a 1/4” seam allowance. Press your seam open.
- Then calculate how much fabric you need to cover the table.
My table is a rectangular 6 seater, a lot of fabric is required to cover it. Typically I buy tablecloths that are 100 (l) x 56 (w).
Once cut and sewn my dog fabric measures 72(l) x 22(w) including the selvage. In hindsight including selvage was not the best idea. The kokka fabric had a 1” cream selvage with the brand info on one side. So of course, I cut this to 1/2”.
With these measurements I needed to add 28” total to the length and at least 17” to the width. Unluckily my fabric was not wide enough for this either.
In the end, I cut 4 pieces of out of my greige fabric. Two measuring 72×13” to add to the sides, and two measuring 14×56” for the top and bottom of the tablecloth.
At this point you may be wondering, what does a sewn tablecloth have to do with crochet? Well, we are getting there, slowly but we are getting there.
After I sewed all the pieces, it was time to decide on a binding. Because my tablecloth wasn’t as wide as I wanted I really didn’t want to hem it. Vintage Style came to my recuse again. In it, Cath Kidston talks about adding contrasting binding to vintage tablecloths and blankets. A very fine idea when you muck up your measuring. Or, in my case, when you didn’t have enough fabric but went ahead with the project anyway.
Of course, why purchase binding when one can simply crochet it. Famous last words.
This decision sent me down a vintage linen and crochet book rabbit hole.
I can’t wait to share the completed tablecloth with you!
Other sewing ventures: