We all have those moments when the red wine gets spilt or the tomato sauce is dribbled across the table cloth. These sorts of stains usually spell the end of the tablecloth, but with a little creativity and some well placed appliqué, tablecloths can be given a second lease of life – and at a fraction of the cost of a new one.
- An old tablecloth
- Old shirts or any old scraps of fabric
- Needle and thread
- Embroidery silk and old buttons for decoration
- Iron-on adhesive such as Bondaweb
- Iron and ironing board
Sort out your fabric - make sure all the fabric you’re going to use (table cloth and old shirts) is washed and ironed.
Create a template - the great thing about this project is that you can use any design you like. This tablecloth was designed for Easter, but it’s easily adaptable for any season or effect. There are lots of websites with templates for appliqués that you can easily download. Or cut out a shape from a magazine.
Before you cut out your fabric shapes from the templates, use a paper based, double-sided adhesive web such as Bondaweb (sold by the metre from haberdashery and sewing shops) to attach to the shirt fabric, so when you cut out the templates you’ll have a sticky surface to help fix the pieces to the tablecloth. Following the instructions, attach the ‘web adhesive’ to the template - Bondaweb just irons on – but be careful to attach it just to your fabric and not the ironing board cover!
Lay the templates onto the bonded shirt fabric and draw around them. Cut around the outline. Continue until you have all the appliqué pieces for your design.
Lay the pieces out on the table cloth, making sure you cover up any stains or tears.
Remove the paper backing from the web adhesive. This will leave a sticky side that can be laid face down on the cloth in the chosen position. Iron the fabric shape into place.
Repeat this until all the fabric pieces are positioned and fixed to the cloth.
Secure the applique shapes - either hand sew around the shapes with a needle and embroidery cotton, or use a machine embroidery stitch to go neatly around the edges. Make sure each piece is edged thoroughly so it won’t fray.
Once all the applique shapes are secured in place, you can decorate them with old shirt buttons or embroider extra detail. For this one I’ve used shirt buttons as the background as well.