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Citrus Holiday: Lemon Zest Tablecloth
Does someone wake you up at o’dark-thirty on Christmas morning?! Then you need a zesty zap of yellow to get you going. This lovely, lemony tablecloth is the perfect foundation for a holiday breakfast feast of waffles, fruit, juice and coffee. The bright yellow is set off with creamy drop panels and it’s all tied together with deep crimson bands and bows.
The Citrus Holiday tablecloth is based on our very popular Patio Party: Strips and Stripes Tablecloth. However, this new version sports a dramatic band along each drop panel and the corner bows are big and beautiful.
We’ve used fashion/quilt weight fabric for our sample because 1) we LOVE this Heather Bailey fabric, and 2) we already have a table pad for our table. If you plan on bringing any hot dishes to your breakfast table, make sure you also have a table pad or a good selection of hot pads and trivets. Otherwise, you might want to substitute a heavier home decor weight fabric.
Our Citrus Holiday projects were made using Heather Bailey’s delightful Pop Garden & Bijoux Collection. To learn more about how we created this non-traditional holiday palette, read our article: Citrus Holiday: Christmas Dining Room
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome DC4030)
Fabric and Other Supplies
Our sample was made for a table measuring 42″ wide x 106″ long. Measure your rectangular table and adjust amounts as needed.
- Fabric for tablecloth top: 3 yards of 45″ wide fabric: we used Heather Bailey’s Pop Garden Swirly Buds in Lemon
- Fabric for tablecloth drops: 3 yards of 45″ wide fabric: we used a cream cotton sateen fabric
- Fabric for tablecloth bands and corner ties: 1¼ yards of 45″ wide fabric: we used a red cotton sateen fabric
- All purpose thread to match all three fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pencil
- Large sheets of lightweight paper for patterns (optional)
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
Again, remember our sample was made for a table measuring 42″ wide x 106″ long. Measure your rectangular table and add or subtract inches accordingly to make your cuts. From your table dimensions, you need an extra inch in both width and length to account for the ½”seams.
- Take the 45″ x 108″ piece of fabric you are using for the tablecloth top (Swirly Buds Lemon in our sample), and fold it in half to measure 45″ x 54″. Using the folded edge as one side, draw a rectangle 43″ wide x 53½” long. Cut around drawn lines. DO NOT CUT FOLD. For our table measurements, we are using almost the entire piece of fabric; we trimmed just 2″ off the width and ½” off the height. When finished cutting, unfold the fabric; your top should measure 43″ x 107″.
- Take the 45″ x 108″ piece of fabric you are using for the tablecloth drops (cream cotton sateen in our sample), and fold it in half to measure 45″ x 54″. Using the folded edge as one side, draw three rectangles: two at 10″ wide x 53½” long and one at 10″ wide x 43″ long. Cut around drawn lines. DO NOT CUT FOLD on the two 10″ x 53½” pieces. DO CUT FOLD on the one 10″ x 43″ piece. You should end up with two pieces that are 10″ x 107″ and two pieces that are 10″ x 43″.
- From the fabric for the tablecloth ties and bands (red cotton sateen in our sample), cut EIGHT 2½” x 38″ rectangles for the ties, cut SIX 2½” x 36⅓ rectangles for the side bands, and finally, cut TWO 2½” x 43″ rectangles for the end bands.
- You could make patterns for the above rectangles using lightweight paper, pin it to your fabric, and cut around the paper. In either case, since these are rather large shapes, we suggest using a ruler and a T-square to make sure your lines and corners are straight. If you’ve chosen a fabric with a strong, directional design or grain, make sure you keep that straight as well. For more information on grain, read our tutorial: Fabric Grain: Secret to Polished Sewing.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Make side and end panels
- Thread your machine (top and bobbin) with thread to match the drop panels (cream in our sample).
- Collect your four drop panels: two at 10″ x 107″ and two at 10″ x 43″.
- Each of these four drop panels needs to be to finished on three sides with a simple double-turn hem. For each piece, turn the right side of the fabric under ¼” and press along ONE long edge and BOTH short edges. After pressing these three edges on each piece, turn them all again another ¼” and edgestitch all around to create your double-turn ¼” hemmed edges. Each of your four drop panels now has three finished edges and one raw edge. Your two side panels now measure 9 1/2″ x 106″ and your two end panels now measure 9 1/2″ x 42″.
For more information on hemming, read our tutorials: How to Make a Simple Hem and .
- Thread your machine (top and bobbin) with thread to match the ties and bands (red in our sample).
- Pin two 2½” x 36⅓ band pieces right sides together along one 2½” edge. Sew them together using a ½” seam allowance.
- Take a third 2½” x 36⅓ band piece and stitch in the same manner to the two-panel unit you just made to create one three panel unit that measures 2½ x 107″. Press all seams open.
- Fold under ½” all along both short sides and one long side and press. Leave the other long side raw. You now have one long band that measures 2″ x 106″ with three folded edges.
- Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 with the remaining 2½” x 36⅓ pieces to create a matching three-unit band for the opposite side.
- Take the two 2½” x 43″ end band pieces; on each, fold under ½” all along both short sides and one long side and press. Leave the other long side raw. You now have two long bands that each measure 2″ x 42″ with three folded edges.
- Matching all raw edges, pin the red side band units to the cream side drop panels, and the red end bands to the cream end panels. In each case, the band’s folded edge will run horizontally across the panel.
- Edgestitch along each long folded edge and each long raw edge. LEAVE ALL ENDS OPEN.
- Take one 38″ x 2½” tie strip (from the red sateen) and fold in half to be 19″ x 2½”.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around both long sides and the folded end. Start at the raw end, stitch down one long side, pivot at the corner, stitch at an angle across folded end, pivot at the corner, and stitch along the remaining long side. Leave the raw edge open.
- Clip off the fabric along the folded edge, following the angle, leaving an approximate ½” seam allowance.
- Turn right side out through the open end. Press.
- Edgestitch around three sewn sides. Raw end remains open.
- Repeat steps 1 – 5 with the remaining strips to make a total of eight ties. Set aside.
Attach ties to drop panels
- Find your four drop panels (two sides and two ends)
- Slide a tie into the open ends of the bands on each panel. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch all eight in place to secure. Match the edgestitching line on the band to the edgestitching on the drop panel.
Attach panels to top
- Collect your tablecloth top piece and all four of your finished drop panels (2 sides with ties and 2 ends with ties).
- Thread your machine (top and bobbin) with thread to match the tablecloth top (lemon in our sample).
- Pin one end drop panel, right sides together, to each end of the tablecloth top, lining up the raw edges and centering to leave ½” on each side.
- Sew a ½” seam. Sew slowly and very carefully; you don’t want to catch the ties in the seams when you get close to the corners. Remember to back tack at the beginning and end of each of your seams.
- In the same manner, pin one side drop panel, right sides together, to each side of the tablecloth top, lining up the raw edges and centering to leave ½” on each side.
- Sew a ½” seam. Sew slowly and very carefully; you don’t want to catch the ties in the seams or the end panels. Remember to back tack at the beginning and end of each of your seams.
- In each corner, you’ll be able to see a small square of the tablecloth top fabric. This is a raw edged square.
- At your ironing board, flip the tablecloth to the wrong side, and press this raw edge corner towards the inside of the tablecloth.
- Then press both the side and end seam allowances towards the inside of the tablecloth top. The will cover the raw edge square completely.
- Repeat for remaining three corners.
- Place on your tablecloth on your table and tie a lovely bow at each corner.
Hints and Tips
Substitute ribbons for corner ties
In our sample, we made our own ties for the tablecloth corners because we want the bands and ties to look as if they were one continuous piece. However, you could save a little time by buying satin or grosgrain ribbon, which comes in pre-determined widths and colorful, unique designs. You would need about ½ yard of 1½” wide ribbon per tie or 4 yards total for all eight ties.
To tidy up the end of your ribbons, fold the end on itself twice in ¼” – ½” folds and topstitch for a clean, finished look. You can also cut the ribbon ends at a 45˚ angle and leave them raw. Test a small piece of your ribbon to see if the raw edge comes unraveled. Raveling is especially common with delicate silk and satin ribbons.
Project Desgin: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Heather Tucker
Instructions: Liz Johnson, Gregory Dickson
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