If you’re used to table linens being long and narrow, like a runner or even a traditional tablecloth, it’s time to take a look at the Table Throw – also known as a Table Square. The square format gives this type of cloth much more flexibility for how it can be placed as well as the type of table on which it will fit. Ours finishes at a generous 50” x 50” and is a showcase for a bold patchwork design in gorgeous linen from our sponsor, Fabric Wholesale Direct. We used six colors of their 60” natural linen accented with a unique Kente African cotton print. It’s would make a stunning choice for your upcoming holiday gatherings.
We’re always on the hunt for online retail options that offer an interesting variety of substates. Fabric Wholesale Direct is an excellent resource for the types of fabrics that can be hard to find from other outlets: upholstery, bridal, sequined, waterproof, stretchy, sheer, and so much more!
We chose their 60” Natural Linen, which is available in 18 luscious colors. A medium to heavy weight fabric, the combed and woven texture of this linen is strong but with a wonderfully soft drape.
This Table Throw is meant to be used! We’ve included full fabric preparation information below on how best to pre-wash your linen, cotton, and interfacing so the completed Table Throw can be successfully laundered and pressed again and again.
Our custom patchwork design looks impressively intricate when finished, but the assembly is quite straightforward. The narrow accent strips are simple flanges sandwiched between blocks so they are very easy to set into place. These snippets of color and pattern catch the eye and echo the full size Kente African print panels on the back of the Table Throw.
The Kente African print cotton we originally selected is just one in a large selection of African prints available at Fabric Wholesale Direct. This is a category we’ve not come across before; the colors and patterns are unlike anything we’ve found in traditional quilting cottons. And, at just $4.99/yard, it’s affordable to use in large panels that can take full advantage of the striking motifs.
Detailed step-by-step instructions and clear photos take you through the complete construction process of the Table Throw. And, we’ve included full color drawings of the patchwork as both a finished panel as well as an exploded view that helps define the individual sections.
Our suggested yardage for the Kente African cotton print provided enough extra fabric to create two 20” dinner napkins. Steps are included below for a narrow hemmed finish with diagonal point corners. You could certainly get more fabric in order to cut additional napkin squares and/or mix and match napkins using your linen scraps. And although 20” x 20” is the standard size for a dinner napkin, your napkin squares can be smaller (or even larger).
We quickly became fans of this new square format. It looks great draped at an angle or positioned straight at the center of a larger dining or coffee table. It’s even fun to slightly accordion one side of the square to add a bit of undulating texture to your tablescape.
Our Table Throw finishes at approximately 50” x 50”. The optional napkins finish at 20” x 20”.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- SIX 60”+ linen cuts; we used 60” wide, 100% Linen from Fabric Wholesale Direct in the following colors and quantities:
⅝ yard Olive
¾ yard Charcoal Grey
½ yard Banana
⅝ yard Mist Gold
⅜ yard Coral
⅞ yard Sunflower
- 3 yards of ONE 44”+ quilting cotton for the accent flange strips and backing; we used a very unique Kente African Print cotton from Fabric Wholesale Direct
- 4½ yards of 20”+ lightweight fusible interfacing; we used woven Pellon Shape-Flex
- All purpose thread in neutral for piecing
- All purpose thread in colors to match the fabric: we matched to the Kente African print as well as the Charcoal Grey, Coral, and Olive linen fabrics
- See-through ruler; we recommend a 6” x 24” quilter’s ruler, which will be used to square up the cotton
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Measuring tape, at least 60” in length
- Iron and ironing board
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
Preparing the fabric
- As with all table linens, it’s important that you are able to launder your table throw when it’s complete since there’s a 120% chance someone will spill something on it during your next gathering.
- We recommend all fabric and the interfacing be washed and dried prior to cutting. This way, there won’t be unexpected shrinkage or warping after the fact. Prior to tossing the fabric into the washer, it helps to quickly finish the edges to prevent excess raveling. We serged all our cut edges, but a standard machine zig zag is also an option. Use the settings on your washer and dryer that you would normally select for table linens. Allow the cuts to dry completely in the dryer to confirm maximum shrinkage.
- Our linen fabric measured 60” in width prior to washing and shrank in width to approximately 56”. It also shrank in length by about 2” per yard. This is common with any linen. The African cotton print fabric shrank only about 1” per yard in length and 1” in width.
- To pre-shrink the woven, fusible interfacing, soak it in warm water for 10 minutes. Do not wring; simply allow the water to run off. Hang to dry.
- To restore the crisp finish of the linen, mist each piece generously with water and place in a large plastic bag. Allow the fabric to rest in the bag for about 15 to 20 minutes to distribute the moisture. Remove the fabric from the bag and iron dry using the Cotton/Linen setting on your iron. Spritz with additional water for any particularly stubborn wrinkles.
- The cotton fabric should be pressed with a steam iron. Spray starch or sizing can be used as well for a super crisp finish. As you iron, be sure the pattern of the fabric is straight on the cross grain. This sometimes requires tugging opposite corners of the fabric panel to reduce the skew of the pattern.
- With this thoughtful fabric preparation, once your table throw is complete, it can be washed and dried without incident – although we do suggest removing it from the dryer while still slightly damp in order to press dry. That will make the wrinkles faster and easier to smooth out.
- From the Kente African print cotton, cut the following:
ONE width of fabric (WOF) x 51” rectangle, then from this rectangle, sub-cut TWO 21½” x 51” panels.
From the remaining yardage, sub-cut along the lengthwise grain to create TWO 21½” x length of fabric panels (there is 57” of length remaining).
From Panel #1, sub cut TWO 21” x 21” squares, centering the fabric’s motif – these become the 20” napkins – you can certainly get more fabric in order to cut additional 21” squares and/or mix and match napkins using linen scraps. And, of course, your napkin squares can be smaller.
From Panel #2, slice lengthwise to separate out the various stripe patterns within the design – you will have FOUR strips with a checkered stripe pattern, FOUR strips with an alternating horizontal/vertical block stripe pattern, ONE strip with multi-colored stripes, and a leftover strip also in the multi-colored stripe at the selvedge of the fabric. Toss the multi-colored strip, the leftover selvedge strip, and ONE of the block stripe strips into your stash bin; the SEVEN remaining 2” strips will be cut to fit as the table square is sewn.
- From the Kente African print cotton, cut the following:
The Diagram below shows our cutting pattern.
- From the Olive linen, cut the following:
THREE WOF x 5” strips
Sub-cut TWO of the THREE 5” strips down to 43” x 5” strips
Sub-cut the remaining 5” strip into TWO 19” x 5” strips
- From the Charcoal Grey linen, cut the following:
EIGHT WOF x 3” strips
Sub-cut TWO of the EIGHT 3” strips down to TWO 43” x 3” strips
Sub-cut TWO of the remaining 3” strips down to TWO 31” x 5” strips
Sub cut the FOUR remaining 3” strips down to FOUR 27” x 3” strips and FOUR 15” x 3” strips
- From the Banana linen, cut the following:
ONE WOF x 15” strip
Sub-cut down to ONE 15” x 15” square and FOUR 7” x 7” squares
- From the Mist Gold linen, cut the following:
TWO WOF x 7” strips
Sub-cut down to TWO 31” x 7” strips
ONE WOF x 5” strip
Sub cut down to TWO 19” x 5” strips
- From the Coral linen, cut the following:
ONE WOF x 5” strip
Sub-cut down to FOUR 5” x 5” squares
ONE WOF x 3” strip
Sub-cut down to EIGHT 3” x 3” squares
- From the Sunflower linen, cut the following:
TWO WOF x 3” strips
Sub-cut down to TWO 43” x 3” strips
TWO WOF x 5” strips
Sub-cut down to TWO 31” x 5” strips and FOUR 5” x 5” squares
ONE WOF x 10” strip
Sub-cut down to ONE 51” x 10” strip
- From the lightweight, fusible interfacing cut THREE equal panels, each approximately 19” wide x 54” yards long.
NOTE: We say “approximately” because we are accounting for the shrinkage as noted above. Your shrinkage might be slightly different.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Below are both a finished and an “exploded” view of the front panel of the table throw. These are good visuals to refer to throughout construction to remember how all the sections come together.
Fold the accent strips into flanges
- Find the SEVEN 2” strips of the Kente African print cotton.
- Fold each strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press well.
- These will become the eight accent flanges.
The center square
- As with most pieced projects, it’s best to work on a large flat surface. You may have a table big enough, but for larger projects, like this table throw, a hard (and clean) floor is also a good surface option.
- Find the 15” x 15” square of Banana and ONE of the folded Block Stripe strips.
- Cut the folded Block Stripe strip in half.
- Center one half of the Block Stripe strip along the top of the Banana square and one along the bottom, aligning the raw edges of the folded strip with the raw edge of the fabric panel. Make sure the motifs exactly match along the top and bottom as shown in the photo below. Pin in place and then trim away the excess so the strip is flush with the square.
- Find the FOUR 15” x 3” Charcoal Grey strips and FOUR of the 3” Coral squares.
- Arrange the Charcoal Grey strips around the center square like a frame with a Coral square in each corner.
- Place the top and bottom Charcoal Grey strips right sides together along the top and bottom of the center square, sandwiching the accent flanges between the layers. Pin in place.
- Place a Coral Square right sides together at each end of the remaining Charcoal Grey side strips. Pin in place.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch each of the four short side seams…
- …and the two longer top and bottom seams.
NOTE: If you’re a quilter, you may be more familiar with using ¼” seam allowances for piecing. However, for home décor projects, especially ones that need to stand up to frequent laundering, we prefer to recommend the sturdier ½” seam allowance. All seam allowances in this project are ½”.
- Press open all the seam allowances. Then press flat from both sides.
- Place the sewn side sections right sides together with the center section. Pin in place.
- Be very careful to line up the seams at the corner squares.
- Stitch each side seam.
- As above, press open the seam allowances, then press flat from both the back and the front.
- This completes the center square.
Add the first inner frame
- With the completed center square still right side up and flat on your work surface, find the TWO 19” Olive strips, the TWO 19” Mist Gold strips, and the FOUR 5” Sunflower squares.
- Arrange these pieces to frame the center square with the Olive strips top and bottom, the Mist Gold strips to either side, and the four Sunflower squares in the corners.
- Place the Olive strips right sides together with the top and bottom of the center square.
- Place a corner square right sides together at each end of each Mist Gold strip. Pin in place.
- Stitch each of these six seams (remember, all project seam allowances are ½”), press open all seam allowances, and press flat from both the front and the back.
- Place the side sections right sides together with the center section. Pin in place. As above with the center square be very careful to line up the seams at the corners.
- Stitch each side seam. Press open the seam allowances, then press flat from both the back and the front.
Add the second inner frame
- Find the FOUR 27” Charcoal Grey strips and FOUR remaining 3” Coral squares.
- This second inner frame goes together in exactly the same manner as the first inner frame above.
- Remember to press open all seam allowances and press flat from both the back and the front.
Add the paired side sections, the upper and lower accent flanges, and the wide top/bottom strips and corner squares
- Find the TWO 31” Sunflower strips and the TWO 31” Charcoal Grey strips.
- Place a Sunflower/Charcoal Grey pair to either side of the center section.
- Stitch together each Sunflower/Charcoal Grey pair.
- Stitch a sewn pair to either side of the center section.
- Find the TWO remaining folded Block Stripe strips.
- As you did above with the center square, center a folded Block Stripe strip along the top and bottom of the sewn center section, aligning the raw edges of the folded strip with the raw edge of the fabric and making sure the alternating block motifs exactly match along the top and bottom. Pin in place. As before, the Block Stripe strip will extend beyond the fabric panel at either side. Trim the excess so the strip is flush with the panel.
- Find the TWO 31” Mist Gold strips and the FOUR 7” Banana squares.
- Arrange the Mist Gold strips at the top and bottom of the center section with a Banana square in each corner.
- Place a Banana square at each end of each Mist Gold strip. Pin in place and then stitch each of the four seams. As above, press the seam allowances open and then press flat from both the back and the front.
- Place a sewn Mist Gold/Banana panel right sides together with the center section along the top and bottom, sandwiching the accent flange between the layers. Once again, double and then triple check that all your corner seams match up well.
- Stitch the panels in place. Press open the seam allowances and press flat from the back and the front.
Add the final four accent flanges, the final top and bottom paired sections, and the final side strips and corner squares
- Find the four Checkered Stripe folded strips, which will become the four accent flanges on each side of the center section.
- Pin an accent flange along the top and bottom of the center section, aligning the raw edges of the folded strip with the raw edge of the fabric panel and centering the flange motif.
- Repeat to pin an accent flange along each side.
- Overlap the ends of the flanges at each corner and trim away any excess so the flanges are flush with the fabric panel.
- Find the TWO 43” Sunflower strips and the TWO 31” Charcoal Grey strips.
- Place a Sunflower/Charcoal Grey pair at the top and bottom of the center section.
- Stitch together each Sunflower/Charcoal Grey pair.
- Stitch a sewn Sunflower/Charcoal Grey pair to the top and bottom of the center section. As above, the Sunflower strip is the inner-most strip.
- Find the TWO 43” Olive strips and the FOUR 5” Coral squares.
- In the same manner as above, stitch a square to each end of each strip. Press open the seam allowances and press the long panels flat.
- Stitch a long panel to either side of the center section.
- Press the seam allowances open. The accent flanges are pressed down toward the outer edge. At the back, clip the flange ONLY where the Coral corner square intersects with the borders. This will help the flange lie flat.
- This completes the front panel of the table square.
Create the back panel, interface, and stitch front to back to finish
- Find the 21½” x 51″ panels of the Kente African print cotton. It should have already been pre-washed and pressed, so the fabric’s intricate motif should be close to square. Double-check using a 6″ quilter’s ruler. You can gently stretch the fabric from either corner and press again if needed.
- Find the 10” x 51” Sunflower linen panel.
- The Kente African panels have a cut edge and a selvedge edge. Place the cut edge of one panel along one side of the 10″ wide Sunflower panel. Pin along the 51” length.
- Stitch together, using a ½” seam allowance.
- Press open the seam allowance. Trim any excess length so the linen and cotton panels are flush.
- Match the cut edge of the remaining Kente African panel to the opposite side of the Sunflower panel, aligning the cotton panel so the motifs match on either side of the center Sunflower. Pin in place.
- Stitch together and press open the seam allowance.
- This finishes the back panel of the table throw.
- Find the three panels of fusible interfacing. These were cut slightly oversized and will be trimmed when applied.
- Place the sewn back panel right side down on your ironing board. Align the edge of the interfacing with the selvedge edge of the back panel. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the full length of the back panel.
- Once fused, trim away any excess length so the interfacing is flush with the fabric panel.
- Apply a second strip of interfacing in the same manner, overlapping the lengths by about ¼”.
- Fuse this second panel in place, then trim the length flush to fit as needed.
- Finally, add the third strip of interfacing, trimming both the width and length to fit flush against the back panel, and using the same manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Place the completed back panel right side up on a large flat surface.
- Place the completed front panel of the table throw on top of the back panel, right sides together.
- Match the upper and lower edges so they are flush.
- The sides should also be aligned, but the back panel will be slightly wider than the front panel. Trim the sides of the back panel to match the front panel. This will remove the selvedge edges from the print fabric. A rotary cutter and see-through ruler is the best option for this step.
- Pin the table throw around all four sides, leaving an approximate 10″ opening at the center of one side.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the front to the back along all four sides. Remember to pivot at each corner and to lock the seam at either side of the approximate 10″ opening.
- Clip the corners.
- Turn the table throw right side out through the opening. Using a long, blunt tool, gently push out and square up the corners. A long knitting needle, chopstick or point turner works well for this. Press flat, turning in raw edges along the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Edgestitch around all all sides, using thread to best coordinate with all the colors of the front panel in the top and to best match the back panel in the bobbin. As with all edgestitching on table linens, keep your seam just ⅛” from the edge and slightly roll the seam toward the back. This edgstitching closes the opening used for turning.
NOTE: We took the time to start and stop our edgestitching at each section in order to re-thread the top thread to best match the front panel fabric. This is an optional step, but does create a professional finish for the table throw.
- We created two standard 20” dinner napkins from the Kente African print as an accent for our sample photography. You can do the same, purchasing a bit more of the print fabric should you wish to make more napkins and/or creating additional napkins from your leftover scraps of cotton and linen.
- A 20” finished square is the standard size for a dinner napkin, but you could certainly make your napkins smaller (or larger). Simply cut your starting squares 1” larger all around than your planned finished size.
- The napkins are finished with a narrow double fold hem with clean diagonal conners.
- To create this hem, first press back all raw edges ¼”, then press back an additional ¼” all around.
- Re-fold each corner point to meet on the diagonal.
- Topstitch all around to secure the hem.
NOTE: If you are brand new to this type of hem finish, we have a full tutorial that details how to create the diagonal point corner.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler