How to Make a Skirted Tablecloth {the lazy girl’s guide}

by Edie Wadsworth on February 19, 2013

I love my dining table. Like LOVE it.  It’s an Eye-talian made table that I bought at O.P. Jenkins after our house fire. (I can’t find any more specific information than that).

This is one place I decided not to skimp.

I’m  all about a Goodwill rehab project but I wanted a good, sturdy table. After seeing Julie’s beautiful table, I knew wanted a large round table that would foster all kinds of warm and cozy hospitality.  I’ve tried various swatches of fabrics draped over it to simulate a make shift table cloth but I’m kinda rebellious.  Far be it from me to go buy a table cloth to fit the table.  THAT is way too right inside the box.  When Better Homes and Gardens came to our house, I found a kindred spirit in Elizabeth because not only did she not care that I didn’t have a proper tablecloth, she swore she wouldn’t have used it anyway.  And then she proceeded to duct tape a piece of fabric together and call it a day.  We were obviously separated at birth.

It looked a little something like this.

Then, before Thanksgiving, I hemmed and hawed around and nearly ordered a skirted tablecloth from Ballards.  But it was gonna be $250 for the size of my table and that just seemed OUTrageous.

So, I got my lazy sewing skills on and made one and I HAVE LOVED every raveling thing about IT.  I mean, LOVED it.

It’s imperfect and unfinished and raveling and beautiful.  I wash it every Friday and then drape it back over the table while it’s damp to finish drying it.

The first one I made was this perfect blue-green linen from Hobby Lobby.  It’s the one we use all the time. Here is it, freshly laundered in all its imperfection.  It adds just the right amount of coziness to my industrial/cottage kitchen. I could have ironed it.  But then those 20 minutes of my life are gone forever.  And we’ve got episodes of Gold Rush to catch up on, people.

I made another one this weekend in anticipation of an upcoming soiree at my house.

I used this fabric, that I ordered from Amazon, because apparently, if I can’t order it from Amazon with free shipping, I don’t need it.  It took about 8 yards for my sized table, give or take a yard or two. (I know, my attention to detail is inspiring.)

So, here’s the laziest tutorial ever known to man.  This tutorial will make real seamstresses shudder.  I will do violence to the craft of sewing.  I’m just giving you fair warning.

First, lay the fabric on the table and roughly (I told you there would be violence) cut out a circle in the shape of your table leaving about an inch overhang.  It helps SO much if you buy fabric that’s wide enough to cover the table.  My table is 48 inches in diameter so I made sure my fabric was 54 inches wide.  It makes this step so much easier.

I sat some heavy objects on the table to keep the fabric from moving and then just starting cutting my circle.


Okay, apparently, I sat a vase of flowers on the table but heavy objects would work fine.

THen measure the drop of the table from top to bottom and add 3-4 inches to make sure it gently brushes the ground after it’s sewn together.
I just layed my fabric right on the island and used the tearing method to ‘cut’ my strips. Many fabrics won’t tear and honestly it’s harder to sew if you do that because of the raveling. But I’m like the ten year old who won’t listen. So I tore it into strips. And then cursed it while I sewed. It took 4 1/2 strips of fabric for me but it’ll depend on the diameter of your table.

THen, I turned the circle piece wrong side up and started pinning the strips to the circle. I added in some very imperfect pleats, just by pinning them in place.

You can join the sides of each strip together if you want or not. I sewed all the sides together so my tablecloth skirt would be one continuous piece of fabric. Just pin it along the sides, when you’re joining the strips together.

About halfway around the table, I took it up to the sewing room and sewed what I had pinned because, 1) The fabric gets bulky and heavy fast and it’s easier to deal with 230 straight pins than 500, at a time. 2) I’m terribly impatient and wanted to see what it would look like half way through.
Ten, finish pinning the strips to the circle and the sides of the strips together until it looks like this.

Now, sew the rest of the pinned pieces together and you will be so darn proud of yourself.

Unless you’re me and do violence to your sewing machine by sewing at the speed of  lightning on steroids and break the bobbin thread every five minutes and poke 8,00o tiny holes in your fingers.

I have a love/hate relationship with my sewing machine but I do dearly love the finished product.

I don’t hem the ends, just let the ravel-y goodness drag the ground.  Surely that doesn’t surprise you.

I made this for a fun silhouette/french themed party at my house next week.  We’re making all kinds of goodies, of the crafty and food variety but this one is my favorite so far.

My sincere apologies to all talented seamstresses in the world!

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ruth February 19, 2013 at 7:39 am

Oh! Edie-I love it!!!!!! This is the best tutorial ever!!!!! I love your approach to this process. A bit whimsical and a whole lot of just going along and loving the finished product. It just breaks my heart that I can’t join this French inspired soiree.
Hugs :))

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2 Southern Gal February 19, 2013 at 8:26 am

That you let the ravel-y goodness go inspires me!

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3 Tammy B February 19, 2013 at 8:33 am

Wow, it looks like some kind of Edie wonderful! For a gal like myself who doesn’t sew, this looks possible! I still need a lesson from you on how to start my sewing machine! :)

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4 Shepea February 19, 2013 at 8:34 am

I kept picturing my high school home economics teacher, Miss Zwiebomber, with her eyes rolling back in her head as I read your tutorial this morning. I’m sure she wouldn’t have been able to survive your sewing sins!

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5 Nicki February 19, 2013 at 8:51 am

My favorite line of the month, possibly the year: “I will do violence to the craft of sewing.” Loved your tutorial. This kind of sewing I can do- I think!

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6 dawn February 19, 2013 at 9:02 am

this tutorial is the most fun… and i have learned that the right way is not always the best way!

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7 Joy February 19, 2013 at 9:07 am

Darling, this is mahvelous!!! You have inspired me. :-D

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8 Judith February 19, 2013 at 10:14 am

Edie you are a woman after my own heart! I am the daughter of a talented seamstress (who is also a bona-fide home-ec teacher) and was never patient enough to sit down with her to learn how to sew. I LOVE sewing now as an adult…but my version just about brings her to tears. It involves using the wrong side of the fabric on purpose, and measuring with a construction measuring tape instead of a flimsy fabric measuring tape, and (big gasp) cutting fabric on the floor. I love this tutorial SO MUCH! :) I think I’ll have to make one now to go with my Granny’s tablecloths. We just won’t tell my mom. ;)

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9 edie February 21, 2013 at 6:13 am

yeah, let’s not tell her.
i can’t have bona-fide home ec teachers stalking my bad tutorials!!

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10 Marty February 19, 2013 at 10:19 am

oh my! i love your sewing skills and techniques! they are just like mine ;) you should see the looks i get from the women behind the cutting counters as i attempt to ask questions. oh my! they always advise to buy a pattern,but that is NO fun! and everything i’ve attempted has turned out fine (although i’m sure seamstresses would cringe)

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11 Courtney @ Type B Mom Stays at Home February 19, 2013 at 11:43 am

The construction of this tablecloth speaks to my heart. I can’t be bothered with ends! I recently horrified the entire woman population of my family by hanging sweet grey and white chevron drapes sky high and with (gasp!) unfinished vertical edges. It’s fringy and pretty! And then my aunt yanked them down and sewed them. It was a sad day. ;)

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12 old welcome February 19, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Edie, I’m just gone keep it real here. I’m quite bothered by the unfinished edges. I’m not sure what that says about me, because I like you a lot, and you and everybody else on here seems fine with it. I don’t know why you even had to point that out, I would have never known. You could have pretended that you hemmed it, couldn’t you? Like you pretended on the pillow sham. I’m just all tore up about this hem! I don’t know, I just need perfection from my bloggers, and you’re ruining it for me.

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13 Evie February 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Girl, it’s killing me too! :-) But, I love Edie and want to try and let go of that ole perfectionism. Actually it doesn’t really bother me that “she” didn’t hem. I know that I would just “need” to hem it. Ha!
It looks fabulous and I love the fabric. It speaks of “Joie de vivre”. We all need some of that!

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14 SherrieB February 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm

If you ever want an easy frugal way to hem, check out the iron on tape hemming – you can buy at any sewing store and even Walmart… :)

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15 Wanda February 20, 2013 at 6:59 pm

I love the outcome as well! …..but as a pretty good seamstress those edges got me too! Love you Edie!

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16 edie February 21, 2013 at 6:16 am

we can all just pretend this post never existed.
what tablecloth?
:)
xoxo

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17 Kristy February 19, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I love everything about this tutorial! What is the point of hand-making something if you’re going to get rid of all the quirky goodness. That’s where the love, and personality, comes through. :)

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18 Bugs & Sunshine February 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm

FANTASTIC!!!!!

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19 Marie at the Lazy W February 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm

haha!! You are s much fun. Very French looking, very elegant-casual, whimsical. I love it. Ironed is nice, but this is even nicer, especially with those loose pleats. xoxo Think I’ll just try it.

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20 the farmer's wife February 19, 2013 at 2:30 pm

LOVE! So glad you showed this. I’ve been hemming and hawing about making one for FOUR YEARS! I can do this, and I most certainly will.

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21 Kathryn C February 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm

hahaha! You are one crazy lady! That would have done me in, not hemming it. Silly OCD. Love the material, and the party theme – cannot wait to see/read all about it?? (hint, hint) Glad to see you are still alive. Did you get your writing work finished? Praying for many successes for you ;)

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22 Deborah February 20, 2013 at 5:14 am

I love it. Great tutorial. Your speaking my language.

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23 Tracey H. February 20, 2013 at 11:06 am

Thanks for keeping it real!! I can’t even sew a button, thankfully my husband was in the Navy and had to learn to sew things on his uniforms and he does buttons that fall off in our house:0) I remember paying a girl to do the sewing so that I could pass Home Economics, we all have our strengths and although I adore your tablecloths, hem and all, I would still need to buy it:0)

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24 Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D February 20, 2013 at 11:33 am

Hi Edie,
I was with you for a while and then I think the cold meds kicked in.
(Let’s blame it on those.)
I was all, “Gold Rush? What’s Gold Rush?” ;)

Can I just say I’m giddy about the fact that BHG uses duct tape, too!
~ Dana

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25 edie February 21, 2013 at 6:11 am

in other words, you had ADD, like me :)
i was relieved about the duct tape too!!

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26 Meagan February 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I don’t recall enjoying a sewing tutorial more than this one, eveh! I laughed and I thought to myself “It really is far more fun to try or do without worrying about perfection!” Love it! Thanks for sharing with us!!

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27 edie February 21, 2013 at 6:11 am

thanks, meagan!!
i’ve been wanting to share my love for the skirted tablecloth for a while but i know my unorthodox ways drive some folks crazy!
glad you can relate:)))

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28 Sarah February 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm

That’s my kind of sewing too! Love it!

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29 martha February 20, 2013 at 5:15 pm

I enjoyed this so much especially since my 4 year old granddaughter and I made her a “wedding dress” yesterday out of an old white lace bed skirt and a white tank top. I love creative sewing & duct tape. You are the best!

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30 edie February 21, 2013 at 6:05 am

now THAT sounds cool, Martha!

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31 Patti February 20, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Un-hemmed tablecloth don’t bother me – I love sewing simply. But 2 things do bother me – first I hate eating at a table with a long tablecloth – maybe I’m just clumsy, but I end up with my legs and feet all twisted up in it, pulling it or my plate off. And second – I too love my wood table with its ironwood base. I would never want to cover it up. I guess I would only use a tablecloth if my table was ugly. But you dear Edie – I love – wish you could be my neighbor – I would pick your brain about soooo much – and then go line dancing with you.

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32 edie February 21, 2013 at 6:05 am

i know what you mean about the tangling up!! but i do love the look and feel of the fabric to soften the room:)))
and YES, to the neighbor and line-dancing!!

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33 Amy February 20, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Hey there! Love this skirt. Made one a few weeks ago by tying strips of tulle to a ribbon. It was divine, simply divine. I wanted to wear it rather than pin it around a table. Wish we were neighbors, your girls could come paint in our schoolroom, and I would send mine over to yours to learn to cook. Love ya.

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34 edie February 21, 2013 at 6:04 am

i wish we were neighbors, too, miss amy!!
the tulle sounds divine:))))

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35 susan February 21, 2013 at 9:37 am

this is fantastic! i love that it’s not perfect. i sew but not well so this is perfect for me! susan

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36 Mimi February 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm

We’re kindred spirits! I make mine the same way :)

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37 Sherri February 22, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Love that – the stripes are gorgeous! Sewing is my business, but I love a perfectly quick project to add the right touch to a room :)

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38 Kris February 23, 2013 at 7:48 am

Girl, this is the tutorial that will actually get me to drag my sewing machine out of the attic. I’ve been using one of those folding buffet tables as a desk in my craft room (aka “crap room”) and it’s 9 kinds of ugly. I’ve wanted a skirted tablecloth for-evah, but couldn’t stand the idea of forking out so much money just so I can have a place to hide stuff underneath! But this . . . .this project I can get behind! Yee haw!

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39 Joy February 23, 2013 at 9:19 pm

I am now convinced, I need a chandelier.

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40 Felicity February 24, 2013 at 2:27 pm

This would make a totally cool hidey hole for my little 2 year old. Just sayin :)

Xx

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41 teresa humphrys March 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm

edie,
you are just tooooooo much! I love this post. I am a seamtress, but one who has taken more shortcuts than I can to admit on a blog….. :)

love the party idea. robin (you met her at Pearls and Grace Event at Opryland) did her daughter’s birthday with the theme “Paisley’s Parlor” which all began with her curls, and silhouette. darling, I tell ya, darling. please please post pictures of your party!
love ya, girl!

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42 Jocelyn May 29, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article.
I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely comeback.

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