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.
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):
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:
(Here’s a sneak peak at the finished product for a sense of orientation, although you can arrange the pattern any way you desire):
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:
- Sew two pieces of fabric together, leaving a generous seam allowance.
- Once sewn, trim one layer of fabric after the seam.
- It should look the photos labelled “3”.
- Fold the longer side in half and use it to cover the cut side.
- Iron the folded edge over the trimmed edge.
- Then iron it flat against the fabric.
- Lastly, sew the folded edge flat onto the fabric.
When it’s done, the fell seam looks like this:
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:
- Pin down one edge, to the right side of the fabric, following the curve.
- Sew in place.
- Check to make sure it is sewn down everywhere and it nice and neat (no puckering, etc).
- Sew all the way around and then overlap the ends.
- Flip the bias tape to the wrong side (the same action you do to make a regular hem) and iron in place.
- Sew the bias to the fabric, sewing close to the edge.
And then it looks like this:
Here’s the Finished DIY Tablecloth:
Here it is all set and ready for a meal. It looks cute with my turquoise and green pieces:
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.
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.
P.S. Don’t Forget to Pin for Later!