Thursday, January 20, 2011

Homemade tea party: DIY Table linens (part 1)

I made several gifts for my niece last year, so I wanted to try handmade again for my adorable niece. I knew she loved playing tea party, and I also knew she had recently graduated to a 'big girl' room (little sibling will arrive tomorrow!!) and would be getting a certain table and chair set for her new room. So I thought I could help her throw a tea party in style: I made table linens, some felt food, and a set of menus.

I have to say I was thrilled to bits when I heard it was her favorite Christmas present! She played with the entire set all day and even between opening other presents. She also cried for the first time ever when it was time for her to leave it and take her afternoon nap (this child never cries at nap time) -she even insisted on sleeping with the tablecloth! I don't know if I'll ever be this successful again in the gift-giving realm, but I'll enjoy this feeling while it lasts! =)


Today I'll be posting the how-to on the linens (the other 2 tutes are coming up!). You may have noticed I'm not a fan of patterns and like to create my own thing (yet I rarely stray from a recipe when I cook, go figure), so here's another example. Since I knew she would get this table/chair set from Ikea for her room, I made the tablecloth with those measurements in mind. I wasn't sure what size to make for the placemats, so based on the table measurements, a regular sheet of printer paper and a kleenex ended up being my templates for the placemats and napkins, respectively -use what you have, right?

I made these reversible to increase the fun and dug into my stash of fabric and pom-pom trim to make it happen. The funny thing is, my mom sent me this fabric ages ago, and I've essentially sent it back to a location 20 minutes from her, ha. You could definitely make these without the trim, but I think the special trim 'makes' the set! By the way, this is an awesome beginner sewing project because it's just a bunch of straight lines. I will say sandwiching in the pom-pom trim and sewing it evenly kind of made me mental, but I'm pretty impatient, so it could just be me!


Napkins: 4x 9" x 9" from fabric A, 4x from fabric B (4 napkins total, each 8" x 8" finished size)

Placemats: 2x 8.5" x 13" from fabric A, 2x from fabric B (2 placemats total, each 7.5" x 12" -more won't fit on this particular table) + 4x 8" lengths of pom-pom trim for the ends

Tablecloth: 1x 28.5" x 28.5" from fabric A, 1x from fabric B (1 tablecloth, 27.5" x 27.5") + 114"/3.5yds length of pom-pom trim for the edges

Coordinating thread for the topstiching: Remember the thread on top of your machine shows on top and the bobbin shows on the bottom.

* I did not use interfacing on any of these pieces and I don't regret it; I checked my finished pieces and nothing was feeling dinky or 'sliding around-ish'. If you're not sure, try a napkin first and see how you feel about it. (Although I would probably add interfacing in a formal placemat for adults!)

For the napkins: put the right sides of the fabric together and stitch around the edges leaving a tiny opening for you to flip the napkin right-side out. Don't forget to cut the extra off on the corners to eliminate bumps. Then turn it right-side out; I like to use a chopstick to do this, especially to push out the corners. Then topstitch all around the edge of the napkin to (a) close that little hole and (b) give the napkin a little more shape and polish.

For the placemats: same idea as the napkins, but sandwich the pom-pom trim in along the ends before you sew. Be careful because those little poms are going to want to mess with you and pop out on the corners, so pin them down well!

For the tablecloth: same as the placemats, except the pom-pom trim goes all the way around, so you'll need lots of pins!


And that's it! The most time-consuming part of this project was figuring out how big to make each piece and then deciding the most efficient way of cutting everything out, but if you're creating for a similarly-sized table, my measurements should work for you. This is definitely a great beginner project and a must if you know somebody who likes tea parties!

Stay tuned for posts on felt food and menus!


KJ@letsgoflyakite said...

Great job, I love the fabric choice and the pompoms. Judging by the smile, I think the gift was a hit!

jane said...

i want you for an auntie!

Allison said...

So, so sweet, but what's a Kleenex? ... don't you mean Tempo ; )

Juliette said...

Allison I'm dying with laughter, ha haha!! =P

Know what's really funny? I think the boxes of tissues at Aldi are the softest in Germany -and the cheapest, ha!

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