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Singer 404
and a Holiday Tablecloth

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Click here to see the tablecloth plan

We're going to use some neat holiday fabric (that always appears in fabric stores just around a holiday) to make a holiday themed tablecloth.

Standard tablecloth logic calls for an extra-wide piece of cloth (for a standard 8 person dining room table) -- but holiday fabric tends to come in 44 inch widths. We could join two pieces together to form an 88 inch wide -- but that leaves a seam right down the middle of the tablecloth.

We're going to follow the plan in the above link to form an 88-inch wide piece of fabric -- but one with two seams (one down each long side of the table) instead of one down the middle.

Basically, we'll join the 44 inch cuts to form a cylinder. We then cut the cylinder down one side -- this yields an 88 inch wide rectangle that's made of three segments: one 22 inch wide piece, one 44 inch wide piece, and a final 22 inch wide piece.
I'm starting with a single cut of holiday pattern fabric that's 6 yards long and 44 inches wide. I'm folding this in half lenghtways to find the midpoint. I'm doing this because I want to split the fabric in half at this point. That will leave me with two 3 yard by 44 inch pieces.
The first time I did a tablecloth this way, I used my scissors to cut the fabric in half at this 3 yard midpoint. This didn't work well because the cut wasn't perfectly perpendicular to the length of the fabric.

I'm going to improve on this by "tearing" the fabric, not cutting the fabric! I'll start by folding the fabric to find the midpoint, then cutting a little "snip" at this point
Once you've made a "snip" at the midpoint, carefully pull the two sides apart on each side of the "snip". The fabric will tear directly across the grain and separate the fabric with a perfectly perpendicular divide!
Once you're torn the fabric across it's 44 inch wide, you end up with two 3 yard pieces, each 44 inches wide! We're now going to sew these two pieces of fabric together; we'll sew along the length (the 3 yard part) of the fabric.
Sew the two pieces together, sewing along the 3 yard edge. I tend to use French Seams a lot, so I'm sewing "wrong sides" together. If you prefer other joining stitches, please feel free to use them instead.
Once you've sewn along one wide, trim the seam allowance to about 1/8" of an inch. This is a little bit of a pain to do, because you've got to cut all along that 3 yard side. Keep after it, though, and ...
... you'll eventually get to the end of the 3 yard side. Whew! Next, flip the fabric so right sides are together. Straighten your seam and press the sides together. I normally finger press, but you can use an iron if you want near perfect seams.
Now, seam along the inside of your seam. Use about a 1/4 of an inch seam allowance. This will completely enclose the earlier seam you did when you joined the edges (and that's also why you trimmed the allowance to an 1/8 of an inch -- it makes it easier to enclose!) This is your finished French Seam!

Pretty cool, right? Looks nice and is very easy to do, right? Good, because when you finish, you need to do the same thing to the other side of the fabric!

In summary, you begin with a 6 yard by 44 inch piece of fabric. You cut this in half to yield two 3 yard by 44 inch pieces of fabric. You join the two pieces to make a single 3 yard by 88 inch piece of fabric. You now join the outside edges (along the long side), to end up with ...
... a cylinder of fabric that's 3 yards long and 88 inches in circumfrence. Actually, if you didn't care about the seam down the middle of your fabric that you had before you built the cylinder, you could have just hemmed that 3 yard by 88 inch piece for your table cloth. Following these few extra steps will shift that seam to where it won't matter, though!
Find the midpoint of the cylinder along one of the open ends. Our cylinder is made of two 44 inch wide segments. What we want to do is find the mid-point of one of these 44 inch wide segments. Once you're found it, use your scissors to make a little "snip" at this open end, then ...
... gently grab the fabric along each side of the snip and "tear" it down the middle. This "tear" will be 3 yards long! By tearing instead of cutting, we'll split the fabric right along the grain line for a completely perpendicular separation!
Wat we end out with is a 3 yard by 88 inch piece of fabric. Well, we were at this point earlier, but this particular cut does NOT have a seam right down the middle. It has two seams, each about 22 inches in from the sides, but separated by 44 inches in the middle. That 44 inches on my table just about sets the seams on the edges of the table ... basically hiding the seams!

So ... let's finish up our tablecloth. Basically, all we need to do is hem at this point. Use whatever hemming method you prefer -- I folded each edge up about 1/4 of an inch, then folded it up another 1/4 to enclose the raw edge. I then sewed along this roll to hem the tablecloth. You might prefer serging an hemming, or even perhaps a rolled hem. Since we're using novelty holiday fabric, the fabric is probably not extremely fine, so any hem you feel comfortable with will likely do.
When you reach the corners, you can cut them and create a diagonal hem ... or you can just kind of "punt" and continue with the 1/4 folded hem like I did. Diagonal corners are nice, but this is nice enough for my purposes. Please use whatever cornering technique you feel is appropriate!
Here's one of my inner seams (at the 22 inch point). Note how this particular pattern does show the seam (if you look for it). Depending on the pattern you purchase, you may be able to hide the join fairly well.
Here's a finished tablecloth (yeah, I know, it's a different holiday. Didn't have time to set the table before I took these pictures, though!) Can you spot the 22 inch seams? I can't find them and I know exactly where they are.

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