I Made A Tablecloth!

I got a sewing machine for Christmas and I wasted no time in breaking it in with a little project for my kitchen. Normally, posts about DIY projects would live on my (on hiatus) design blog, but this project was inspired by the kids, so I think I can post it here.

Ever since we moved into our house we have had the same dining table. It's a vintage table, passed on to me by my grandmother. It's the perfect size for our eat-in kitchen and is still in great shape. Or, it was in great shape until Luke was big enough to graduate from a high chair to his own seat at the table.

As to be expected, he's a bit messy when he eats. I bought some plastic placemats, maybe a year ago, but they just weren't cutting it. Don't get me wrong, I loved the pops of color they brought to the table but they weren't doing much in the protection department. Between the kids and the cats (that think the table is their sofa) the placemats never stayed put, making the table look cluttered and sloppy, and Luke had this incredible talent of somehow getting food UNDER the placemat. Oy.

The finish on my precious table was getting destroyed, and I would have another table eater stepping up to the plate before I knew it. Time to act!

I decided I needed a wipeable tablecloth, but not just the plastic kind you buy for a party and then toss in the trash. And to keep it from sliding all over the place - did I mention I have 2 kids and 2 cats? - I wanted it to have an elasticized edge to keep it from moving. 

Picture a giant shower cap, for my table.

After some googling I found that all the pretty ones are expensive all the cheap ones are fugly. So that meant my first date with my sewing machine was soon approaching.

First I went in search of oilcloth yardage. After a quick spin around Etsy, I found this great shop that sells loads of oilcloth patterns for cheap. I went with red and white polka dots to tie in with my red kitchen island.

Then I found this tutorial on making a fitted tablecloth and followed it exactly. It wasn't a bad tutorial, but if I were to make another tablecloth, I would make a slight modification. Instead of leaving the fabric rectangular, I would round the corners before I sewed the elastic casing. This would do 2 things: a) it would make it easier to pass the elastic around the corners and b) it would make the corners fit tighter. If you are using regular fabric, neither of those would be a problem, but oilcloth is very stiff and manipulating the gathers isn't easy.

I've had it in action over a week and I wish I had made/bought one of these sooner. I love the cheery print and it is AMAZING how easy it is to clean the table now. No need for coasters and placemats, which means I don't have a dozen things to move out of the way to do a quick wipe down.

In the end it wasn't a difficult task, but I'm proud of my first sewing project* and very pleased with the results. That said, oilcloth is not easy to work with so if you come to my house please don't look too closely at the seams.

*This wasn't my first sewing project ever, just my first with this machine. I have borrowed other people's machines for sporadic projects in the past, but never often enough to really claim "oh yes, I sew."

P.S. If you like the ease of an oilcloth table covering but don't have the time/patience/equipment to make one yourself might I recommend this one I found by Modernjune. When I was shopping I thought that was too much to pay for a tablecloth, but after having fought the oilcloth beast myself her price seems WELL WORTH IT.

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