A quilted table cloth is not only an attractive covering for your table, it also protects it from scratches and dents. The construction method is essentially the same as for making a quilt, and it allows for a lot of variation when it comes to the fabrics you use. With a nice fabric for the backing, the tablecloth becomes fully reversible. You could use two regular tablecloths, cotton fabric in two different colours or patterns, or a patchwork quilt top with a contrasting backing fabric. You can also vary your design in terms of the quilting pattern.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Measuring tape
- Two kinds cotton fabric, regular tablecloths or a quilt top and backing fabric
- Thin batting
- Large safety pins
- Fabric marker or chalk
- Yardstick or clear plastic ruler
- Sewing machine
- Bias binding
- Sewing pins
Measure your table top and cut two pieces of fabric and one piece of batting to fit the table top, plus any extra length you desire for the overhang. If you want the cloth to fit the table exactly without dangling over the sides, cut three pieces the exact size of the table top. If you want the sides of the cloth to dangle over the sides of the table by 1 foot at each side, for example, add 2 feet to the length and the width of the table top. If you are using purchased regular table cloths as fabric, cut off the hems with scissors.
Take one of the fabric pieces and spread it out on the floor with the right side down and the reverse side facing up. Smooth it out as much as you can with your hands so there are no wrinkles in it. Place the sheet of batting on top of the fabric so that the edges are aligned, and make sure it is smooth. Place the second piece of fabric on top of the batting with the right side facing up. Smooth the three-layer sandwich out with your hands.
Insert safety pins through all three layers at 1-to-2 inch intervals, starting in the centre and working out toward the edges. Take the time to make sure the three layers are smooth and wrinkle-free at this stage.
Draw a quilting design directly on the top layer of fabric with a fabric marker or chalk. If you are new to quilting, keep the design simple and use only straight lines as these are much easier to sew than curved lines. You could draw a simple grid using a yardstick or clear plastic ruler, and perhaps add a wide zigzag border to make it more interesting. More experienced quilters have virtually endless options for designs.
Take the pinned layers to your sewing machine and position them under the needle so that you can begin sewing in the middle of the tablecloth. Depending on the size of your tablecloth, you may need to tightly roll the sides up toward the middle to make it fit in the machine.
Slowly and carefully stitch along your marked guidelines, stitching through all three layers of fabric. Make sure the layers go through the machine smoothly. Work from the centre to the outside and remove the safety pins as you go.
Remove the tablecloth from your sewing machine and trim any loose ends of thread. If the edges of the three fabric and batting layers have become unaligned by the quilting, trim them so that they are all flush with each other.
Fold and pin bias binding around the edges of the tablecloth with regular sewing pins. Sew the binding to the tablecloth along the inner edge, taking care to make sure you are stitching through both the top and bottom layers of it. When you reach a corner, neatly fold and tuck the excess binding fabric under and stitch over the folds.
Tips and warnings
- You can change the appearance of the quilted tablecloth by using a thread colour that shows up against the fabric background, rather than blending in. If one side of the tablecloth is patterned and the other is plain, consider using a top thread that blends in with the patterned top side, and a bobbin thread that contrasts with the plain reverse side.
- Making your own bias binding from fabric instead of purchasing it gives you a greater variety of colour choices. If you have enough of your fabric, make binding from it to perfectly match the tablecloth.
- Use plain white cotton fabric to make a fitted quilted tablecloth (the exact size of the table top), and use it as a layer of padding underneath a regular tablecloth.
- For a quicker version of this project, make a long narrow table runner instead of a full-size tablecloth.
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