The "I Think I May Have Crossed a Line" DIY Pleated Tablecloth Tutorial
$9... And an Hour or So of Work... That's Worth It, Right?
You know how it is when you plan something in your head? And you're excited about it? And it was the basis for everything else you were planning? And then all of a sudden something happens, and you're forced to change gears, but changing gears is, like, a huge deal? Well, that's what happened to me with this project... and it all started, innocently, at Christmas Tree Shops the other day.
So I'm forced to get in the zone. I've resolved to complete a few projects I've been lagging on in the house, and I go out to shop for some smaller "touches." And to my surprise, I really get into the zone. I'm in Christmas Tree Shops, and it all starts coming together. Here's where the "zone" takes me: (1) We'll do this party outside (please no rain), (2) I'm going with a turquoise color scheme with green accents (no big surprise here), (3) I know I have a few round and rectangular tables (to borrow) at my disposal. Perfect. I don't want the plain white tablecloths from the caterer, so I peruse the cute vinyl tablecloth displays in the store. I decide all the tablecloths will match. And, being in the zone, I find cute checkered turquoise tablecloths (at $2.99/each), round and oblong. I buy a bunch of them (and a couple other adorable accent pieces). IN. THE. ZONE. Fast forward two more days. I get the tables to the house. I start playing around with tablescape ideas, because I don't want to wait until the last minute (now are you starting to see a glimpse into why I may have a problem?), and I realize: OH NO. These round tablecloths are too small! Like, way too small! I hurry to tell my husband, knowing he'll share my shock and panic... yet, he seems unconcerned. "Just get another size," he tells me. No, no, that's not going to work. Because (A) they only offer 60" round tablecloths in this $2.99 display, and (B) the tablecloths are the basis of my entire plan. "I can't just GET different sizes, husband! This is a disaster!" He shrugs.
And so Operation Vinyl Tablecloth begins to come together. I decide I must sew a pleated skirt onto this ill-fitting tablecloth. And I'm not going to tell anyone, because sewing a cheap, almost-disposable $2.99 tablecloth is a really weird thing to do. But I'm telling you now, because it's my hope this will somehow justify my madness. Or maybe blogging is really a sort of therapy here... or maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better.
But here we go. Here are the steps I took to complete this strange, strange task. Here is the Operation Vinyl Tablecloth Tutorial, for anyone who may be just as mad as me:
- Step 1: Create a long strip to be used for the pleated section. I cut up an oblong tablecloth, using 12.5" strips. I was able to get 4 long strips out of a 58x70" oblong tablecloth this way. Cut the strips, then sew them together at the short ends so that you now have one long strip. In my madness, I extended my strip a little longer so that my pleats would be a specific distance apart (also because I was in trial-and-error stage). My long strip ended up being about 311" long and 12.5" wide (probably over 8.5 yards). You could easily just use one oblong tablecloth (about 288"), just make your pleats farther apart.
- Step 2: Make/pin the pleats from the long strip onto the round tablecloth. Be sure you keep the right sides together. My pleats were about 5" apart each, and the pleats themselves were about 1". Continue all the way around the tablecloth.
Step 3: Sew the pieces together! Sew on the wrong side. It's up to you whether you sew up the open seam or not; I did on the first one but left it open on the second. You can see the open one in the top pic. I didn't hem the sides at all-I mean, com'on, it's just a vinyl tablecloth after all! Although if I had a serger, it would be really easy... hint, hint, husband :)
- Step 4: Put the tablecloth on the table, and tug at each fold around the tablecloth so that each pleat is nice and straight. You're never going to get ALL the wrinkles out, it is a vinyl tablecloth after all! But one trick I've used to get wrinkles out of a vinyl tablecloth is to put the tablecloth in the dryer, on gentle, with a wet towel for just 2 minutes--watch the time! Then I put it on the table, nice and warm, and it sort of molds to the shape of the table. It doesn't de-wrinkle as well with the pleats on it, but it still helped a little.
Even if this was a little "out-there," it was still a lot less $ for about the same amount of work as my laminated cotton tablecloth.
But back to reality. Wondering how the tablecloth was received? The true test: husband. When he came home from work yesterday, I asked, "Did you see the tablecloths on the round tables out there?" He replied, "Yeah! They did fit after all. See, I told you not to worry about it." Aaah. My secret's still safe.
In reality, I eventually told my husband about the project, but made him swear not to tell anyone :) Another secret, I won't actually be using my kitchen chairs in the top pic for the party. They just look cuter. In actuality, we'll be using my Craigslist Plastic Party Chairs, so I felt it only decent to include a pic with them too.