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DIY Tablecloth From Too-Narrow Fabric

Today I’m going to show you how to make a DIY tablecloth from fabric that’s too narrow – I’ll show you how to make a fell seam and also how to make a curbed hem with single fold bias tape.

DIY Tablecloth From Too-Narrow Fabric

But this project is highly classified, so you have to promise to keep this between us.  Promise?  Years ago I bought a few meters of this hilarious cowboy fabric because I liked the colours, it was on major clearance (a fabric store was having a going-out-of-business sale) and, well, the cowboy really looks like my father-in-law.  I’m not sure if he’d be amused (I’m thinking no), but I just thought it was so hilarious.  I’d show you a photo of him, but there’s no need.  He looks just like this (the biggest cowboy, hat in the air):

Cute Cowboy Print Fabric

For years I haven’t known what to do with the fabric, but I’m really getting into tablecloths because teak is a softer, slightly fussier wood and if one more person sets their drink down beside their place mat, on to the teak (argh!) I will cry.  So now when we entertain, tablecloths are my new best friends.  But this fabric was too narrow to just hem the edges and call it a day (darn), so here’s the clever way my Mom & I pieced it together.

Cutting Out & Piecing Together the Fabric:

First we cut the fabric into four quarters, but had to have the fabric pattern direction change to make it work.  After cutting out the pieces, we sewed together two quarters and repeated, so we had two halves.  Then we sewed the two halves together:

How to Piece Together Fabric

(Here’s a sneak peak at the finished product for a sense of orientation, although you can arrange the pattern any way you desire):

Make a Tablecloth from Fabric That's Too Narrow

We used a fell seam to keep the pieced together parts neat.  With this seam, when you look underneath the tablecloth there isn’t a bunch of threads and mess.  The end result looks like the seam along the outside of your jeans.

How to Make a Fell Seam:

  1. Sew two pieces of fabric together, leaving a generous seam allowance.
  2. Once sewn, trim one layer of fabric after the seam.
  3. It should look the photos labelled “3”.
  4. Fold the longer side in half and use it to cover the cut side.
  5. Iron the folded edge over the trimmed edge.
  6. Then iron it flat against the fabric.
  7. Lastly, sew the folded edge flat onto the fabric.

How to Sew a Fell Seam

When it’s done, the fell seam looks like this:

Fell Seam Sewing Tutorial

To make it easier to hem a curve (my tablecloth is round, but you can make a square or rectangular one and use the mitered corner tutorial), we used single fold bias tape.  Iron it, because it will have kinks from the packaging.

How to Hem with Single Fold Bias Tape:

  1. Pin down one edge, to the right side of the fabric, following the curve.
  2. Sew in place.
  3. Check to make sure it is sewn down everywhere and it nice and neat (no puckering, etc).
  4. Sew all the way around and then overlap the ends.
  5. Flip the bias tape to the wrong side (the same action you do to make a regular hem) and iron in place.
  6. Sew the bias to the fabric, sewing close to the edge.

How to Hem Curved Fabric with Bias Tape

And then it looks like this:

Sewing a Curved Seam

Here’s the Finished DIY Tablecloth:

DIY Tablecloth Sewing Tutorial

How to Sew a Tablecloth for a Curved Table

Here it is all set and ready for a meal.  It looks cute with my turquoise and green pieces:

How to Sew a Round Tablecloth

How to Sew an Oval Tablecloth

We plan to sew some matching napkins, too (using this tutorial) but for now I think these vintage yellow ones look so sweet.  The little embroidered flower tones down the cowboy-ness, although I’m not trying to make it more feminine.  The feminist in me loves that I’m rocking a fabric likely made for a little boy’s room.

DIY Fabric Tablecloth

And here’s my old-lady secret: I use a vinyl table covering underneath the fabric for added protection.  Really messy folks just get the vinyl, lol.

Using Vinyl Underneath a Tablecloth to Protect Teak

P.S. Don’t Forget to Pin for Later!

How to Sew a Tablecloth from Too Narrow Fabric

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15 Comments

  1. Danielle
    April 4, 2012 / 2:33 pm

    This fabric is fantastic… such a fun surprise & colour in your room! With 4 monkeys I too would be adding the vinyl underneath. šŸ˜‰

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      April 4, 2012 / 4:25 pm

      Thanks! Yup, the vinyl is pretty cool. Makes me super eerily calm when spills do happen. I'm all, whatever, no worries . . .

  2. Emily @ Go Haus Go
    April 4, 2012 / 3:37 pm

    Hilarious! The fabric has fantastic colors and I really do like the print. It's totally OK to be OCD about your lovely table. Awesome tutorial!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      April 4, 2012 / 4:24 pm

      Thanks!!It is hilariously unexpected, right? I'm trying to add more "fun" elements.

  3. Beth
    April 4, 2012 / 4:20 pm

    I love it. I was recently at Crafty Planet in NE Minneapolis to buy fabric for chair cushions, and I think I spied this fabric. I love it with your painting and the general serenity of your home decor. Nice job, Tanya!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      April 4, 2012 / 4:23 pm

      Thanks!!You really spotted it? That's awesome. I bought this about 10 years ago (so shameful, I'm a major procrastinator) so it's neat that it is still in print.

  4. Nette @ This Dusty House
    April 4, 2012 / 4:56 pm

    Love the cowboy fabric. It's the perfect touch of whimsy and seems to go with the painting behind your table like they were made for each other. Nice tutorial!

  5. Dharma
    April 4, 2012 / 5:52 pm

    I'm all for anything in your house that makes you smile (smirk) everytime you see it. I have sons, we have vinyl. Nuff said šŸ˜‰

  6. Rachelle @ Adventures in Creating
    April 4, 2012 / 6:37 pm

    Awesome- I love your funky tablecloth. If I had a teak table I'd be pretty adamant about protecting it too.

  7. Chelsea
    April 5, 2012 / 12:18 am

    hard core cowboys are soooo cool. My life would definitely be better if I had them on my table … who's wouldn't? Great sewing tutorial … it's scary how much you make me feel like I could actually attempt sewing.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      April 5, 2012 / 3:06 am

      Thanks!! How about if I also chant, "do it, do it, do it"? Enough peer pressure to take a stab at it?

  8. Urban Cholita
    April 18, 2012 / 12:56 pm

    First, I LOVE that painting in your dining room. Second, thanks so much for this tutorial. Our dining room table — also made from super sensitive wood — is 44 1/2 inches wide, so I was trying to figure out how to piece together my own tablecloth from 44" wide fabric. Adore the cowboys.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      April 18, 2012 / 3:18 pm

      Thanks! The painting is by my Hubby's grandfather: Bert Weir.I'm so happy the tutorial helped!

  9. Anonymous
    January 11, 2014 / 12:57 pm

    I LOVE Cowboy Print Fabric… (thought I was the only one)… I once found an old cowboy & Indian print on a man's shirt at a yard sale… cut it up into as many squares as I could get and pieced squares of denim in between to make a small lap quiltlining the back w/ a faded maroon cloth. I have no use for this lap quilt, but I just love to look atit because of the unique antique cowboy print. Glad to know I'm not the only one who appreciates these old cowboy prints…Great tutorial. You are my kind of girl…. Hugs, Sherry in Fl.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 12, 2014 / 4:55 pm

      I thought I was the only one!! I'm so happy to no longer be alone. Your quilt sounds amazing – I love the idea of mixing in denim. I really wish I knew how to quilt because it's such a great use for leftovers. Thanks for your comment – you made my day!

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