A good tablecloth can really set the mood for a party. It becomes the base for all the food and decor you have planned and can tell your guests if your part is going to have a sweet or sassy vibe to it.
I had this specific tablecloth in mind for the party I was designing, and being on a limited budget, I was not going to be able to shell out nearly a hundred dollars for what I wanted at my dream stores such as Anthropologie or Layla Grayce. My next best option was to make one myself, and for much less expensive. The version I came up with only cost me a mere $15, and really, if you were a better shopper or thrifter than I, you could create one of these babies for even cheaper.
I created my tablecloth using two plain white sheets from Wal-Mart. Based upon the measurements of my table (a 6 ft. by 2.5 ft. table), I knew I was going to need a full-sized flat sheet and a twin sized flat sheet. For the rest of this fab little tutorial (and for the sake of my sanity), I’m going to use the measurements that I used. I’ll explain how I got those numbers so you can calculate yours if your table is a different size.
1. I first cut three panels that were 73″ x 31″. One for the top and two for the sides, making sure to leave enough on the edges for an adequate seam allowance. Then I cut the two side panels to 31″ x 31″ so I’d have an adequate seam allowance there too. This is probably a trick that most people already know, but its new to me so I thought I’d share. If you make a little snip with your scissors on the grain line, you can rip the fabric the rest of the way up and it will rip in a straight line. This saved me so much time!
2. Now take the rest of your fabric and cut it into 4″ wide strips. Lots and lots of strips. Sew each strip end to end so you end up with one ginormously long 4″ wide strip.
3. Each of the ruffles is double the length of the panel. Get that? Basically, for each of the long panels, you’ll need two strips that are 146″ long (73″ x 2) and for each of the short panels you’ll need to strips that are 62″ long (31″ x 2). If you need to shorten these strip by a couple of inches so that you have enough material, go for it. In the grand scheme of ruffles, it’s okay.
4. Now that you have each of your strips cut, let the ruffling begin! Now I have learned since I created my tablecloth that there is a magical ruffler foot that can do all of the impending hard work for you, but a little hard work never hurt anyone, right? If you put your stitch length on your machine to its longest and the tension at its highest, your machine sans ruffler foot will still create some of the ruffles on its own. Run two sets of these stitches down the middle of each cut strip.
5. Now that you have the double stitch up the center, take the thread on one side of one end and start pushing your fabric done making sure to spread the ruffles out along the whole length. You’ll want to get your ruffles down to the original length of your panels: 73″ and 31″ long, respectively. You’ll end up with one gorgeous pile of ruffles.
6. Take a break from your ruffles for a few minutes. Using an iron, fold both short edges and one long edge of each panel approximately 1/2″ and press flat. This will make sewing your hem infinitely easier.
7. Lay your panels out flat and begin pinning your ruffles to the panels. I used a tape measure sporadically on mine to make sure my ruffle was level across the length of my panel. My bottom ruffle started 3″ from the bottom and the second ruffle stacked right on top of that. When one panel was finished being pinned, I lined up the next panel next to it, making sure that the ruffle placement matched up.
8. If you are in the throes of this lovely tutorial, take a moment to have a small break, eat some chocolate, regroup. Breathe deep. Important step in the process; musn’t be skipped.
9. Take each panel with the ruffles pinned to it and run a single straight stitch down the center of each ruffle. Your setting on your machine should be back to normal now.
10. When all ruffles are sewn to the panels, take each panel one by one and sew it *right sides facing* to the top panel. When you’ve finished all four sides, you are done! Give your self a firm pat on the back for a job well done.
You’ll probably notice that the sides of this particular tablecloth are open. That was done intentionally so that your guests could fit their legs under the table. If you chose to sew the side seams shut, your tablecloth would be perfectly tailored, but perfectly uncomfortable for people to sit at. I thought about adding ties in each corner to give it that extra special touch. Maybe next time!