Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Round Tablecloth Tutorial

As promised, a tutorial for the tablecloth featured in this post!  Most cloths you'll find in stores are just one big circle of fabric.  This one is slightly different, as the drop (the part that hangs off of the side of the table) is cut out and then stitched to the top.  This makes for a much more fitted look.  I think it keeps the tablecloth in place a little bit better, too.   My table is about 40" across, but this project is customizable to different sizes, whether it be for a dining table, side table, etc.  My nightstand is round, and I'm itching to make a smaller version to cover it!

You will need:
medium weight fabric (the amount depends on how big your table is.  I got by with 2.5 yards of 45" wide fabric)

coordinating thread

2 packages of single fold bias tape

a length of string or yarn

a pencil

First you need to measure how wide your table is and then add 1".  My table is 40" across, so the measurement I will need for the next step is 41".

Take the measurement you came up with and cut a square from your fabric.  My square is 41" by 41".

Next, you need to fold your square into quarters, right sides of fabric together, like so:

Use your pencil and string to make a compass.  Just tie the string to the pencil.  That's it!
You can use a chalk pencil if regular pencil marks won't show up on your fabric.

The string needs to be at least as long as one side of your folded fabric square, plus a little extra to hold onto.  Hold the pencil with one hand in the upper left corner of the fabric, and hold the string taut in the lower left corner, like this:

Now, while continuing to hold tightly onto the string in the lower left corner, begin moving your pencil and drawing an arch toward the opposite (lower right) corner.

Almost done!

Done!  I wish I had thought to use a pencil that would leave dark enough marks to show up in my photos. Basically, you should have drawn a perfect arch from the upper left hand corner down to the lower right hand corner.  I hope you get the idea. 

Cut along the arch you just drew.  Once you're done cutting, unfold your fabric, and you should have this:
A circle! It's like magic.

Now it's time to work on the drop.  I like the edge of a tablecloth to *almost* touch the seat of the chairs.  Once you've decided how long of a drop you'd like, you can cut strips from your fabric.
I made my strips 10" high and 45" wide.  I managed to get by with 3. You may need more or less depending on the size of your table.

Now you're going to make one long strip from all of the shorter ones.  Take two of the strips, place them right sides together, and stitch the 10" ends together using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Repeat with the 3rd strip.  You should end up with this:  
A little hard to photograph, but that should give you an idea.  1 long strip.

It's time to pin the long strip to the circle.  Take your time, and use as many pins as you like.  I won't judge.  Attaching a straight piece of fabric to a circular piece can sometimes be a pain in the rear.  Don't forget, right sides of the fabric together.  1/4" seam allowance.  

When you are ready to sew, don't start stitching at the very end of the strip.
See what I mean?  I started to stitch the strip to the circle about 1.5" from the end of the strip.  Here's another view:

Do the same when you reach the other end of the strip; stop your stitching before you reach the end of the strip.  This gives you a little bit of room to work with when you need to join the 2 ends.  

Figure out whether or not you have excess fabric on the short (10") ends of your drop.  If you do, trim it away and stitch the ends together.  If you end up with a gap, cut out another piece of fabric (10" by however much you need to fill the space) and use it to fill the gap.  Once you have the ends of the trip stitched together, finish stitching the drop to the circle.

When you're done, it should look like this:
It's almost a tablecloth!  The rest of the work is just finishing to make it look nice.

If you're worried about fraying at the seam where the drop is stitched to the circle/top, go ahead and finish it with a narrow zig-zag stitch.  I am always worried about fraying, so I did just that.
No need to press the seam open.  Just zig zag the two halves together. 

Time to press.  I've probably mentioned this before, but pressing is a big part of sewing.  It makes for a much nicer result.  Make friends with your iron!

Having a tailor's ham really helped with this step.  It's absolutely necessary, but definitely makes this easier.  I placed my ham toward the narrow end of my ironing board, like so:

right side down, drape the tablecloth over the ironing board, placing the seam on the tailor's ham.

Press the seam toward the drop.
FYI, it's very difficult to hold a camera in your left hand and try to snap a photo while you're holding an iron in your right hand.

When you're done pressing, your tablecloth should look like this:

Now flip your tablecloth over (wrong side of the fabric down), and press the seam again.  I told you to make friends with your iron!  Pressing the seam for a second time on the outside will make your tablecloth look so much nicer when it's done.

Now that the pressing is done, you can finish the raw edge of the drop.  You couldjust turn up the edge of the fabric and create a narrow hem, but I like this simple bias tape finish.  Very easy to do, and results in a nice, clean edge!

I used a scrap of fabric and green bias tape for these photos, because the green showed up a little better. I used black bias tape for my actual tablecloth.

Lay your bias tape face down on the ironing board.  Press one side open and leave the other side folded.
Yikes.  Guess I need to ask for a new ironing board cover for Christmas.

With the right side of the bias tape against the right side of your fabric, line up the raw edge of your bias tape with the raw edge of your fabric (where you'd normally press up the fabric and hem) and pin.

Stitch along the old fold that you pressed out.

Trim the seam.
Sorry about the weird angle.  This was another instance in which I held the camera and snapped a photo with my left hand while I held the scissors with my right.

Press the bias tape away from the fabric.

You should end up with this on the right side of your fabric:

and it should look like this on the wrong side of your fabric:

Now you're going to press the bias tape to the wrong side of your fabric, over the seam you stitched and trimmed earlier.

It should look like this on the inside when you're done pressing.

There should be a nice, clean edge on the outside with just the tiniest bit of bias tape showing.

Time to stitch the bias tape into place!  I'm going to show you a method called stitch in the ditch.  That just means you stitch in the area where the fabric and bias tape meet:  

See?  Stitch in the ditch on the outside of your fabric, and the stitches will catch the rest of the bias tape on the other side, like this:

Here's what your finished edge should look like.  You can see a little spot where I got out of line on my stitching.

That's it!  You now have a gorgeous cloth to cover your table.  Make a new one for each holiday!