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Italiano Kitchen: Bistro Tablecloth

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Benvenuti! I cannot claim a speck of Italian in my ancestry, but that doesn't mean I don't wax as rhapsodic as Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love when I describe the wonder that is Italian cooking. My husband tells great stories of the big Sunday Italian dinners of his childhood, with Grandpa Luigi at the head at the table and a heaping platter of spaghetti being passed from cousin to cousin to cousin... I lost count at about 10 cousins. The first of our five Italiano Kitchen projects is this simple, colorful tablecloth. It's the perfect setting for your own family gathering.

All the projects in our Italanio Kitchen series use a wonderful new fabric collection from our friends at Michael Miller Fabrics: Alfabeto Italiano Collezione. You'll find it online and in stores now.

If you like this tablecloth design, you might also like our Patio Party: Strips & Stripes Tablecloth. It is a similar design but without a lining, and with longer drop panels plus corner ties.

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The yardage shown below is based on our sample table, which was 40" x 54". You may need more or less depending on the size of your own table. We give you the measurement formulas.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • 1½ yards of 44- 45" wide fabric for main top sections: we used Alfabeto Italiano Collezione from Michael Miller Fabrics in Cream Grande Alfabeto
  • 1¼ yards of 44-45" wide fabric for center accent strip and drops: we used Alfabeto Italiano Collezione from Michael Miller Fabrics in Mustard Cha Cha Stripe
  • 2-3/8 yards of 44-45" wide lining fabric: we used Bella Solids from Moda in Ivory
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and cutting mat
  • See-through ruler
  • Seam gauge
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Ironing board and iron

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Preparing all the pieces to your measurements

  1. Measure the width and length of your table. Ours was 40" wide x 54" long.
  2. For the top center strip, cut ONE piece 6" x Width of Table + 1".
    We cut a strip 6" x 41" (40" + 1").
  3. For the large top panels, cut TWO pieces Width of Table + 1" x Length of Table - 5" (we have to take away inches to account for the center stripe) divided by 2 +1".
    We cut two panels 41" (40" + 1") x 25½" [54" - 5" (49") ÷ 2 (24½") + 1"].
  4. For the drop panels, cut FIVE 7" x width of fabric strips from the accent fabric.
  5. Cut one of these strips in half. Join each half strip with one full strip. You will now have two long strips, from which we'll cut the side drop panels, and two short strips, from which we'll cut the end drop panels.
  6. For the side drop panels, cut the two long strips down to Length of Table + 1".
    We cut our side drop panels to 7" x 55" (54" + 1").
  7. For the end drop panels, cut the two short strips down to Width of Table + 1".
    We cut out end drop panels to 7" x 41" (40" + 1").
  8. To create the four pieces of matching drop panel lining, repeat steps 4-7 above.
  9. For the main tablecloth lining, cut ONE large rectangle Width of Table + 1" x Length of Table + 1".
    We cut our lining to 41" (40" + 1") x 55" (54" + 1") .

Assemble the drop panels

  1. Pair up the four sets of drop panel fabric pieces and lining pieces. Pin right sides together.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both short sides and one long side, pivoting at the corners.
  3. Trim the corners and turn right side out. Press.
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  4. NOTE: We did make sure our drop panel stripes were nice and straight, but we didn't have to worry about direction. If you choose a directional print, stitch so the long sewn seam is along the bottom and the raw open edges are along the top of your directional design.

Assemble top and lining with the drop panels

  1. Find your center top strip and two large center panels.
  2. Pin one large panel to either side of the center top strip, making sure each large panel faces each end of the tablecloth as shown.
  3. Stitch both pinned seams, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seams toward the center strip.
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  4. Lay the completed tablecloth top on top of the lining panel and make sure they match, ie. that all the raw edges are even.Trim if necessary so all edges are flush.
  5. Pin a drop panel to each side of the tablecloth top, matching long side to long side and end to end. Align the raw edges so the drop panels on laying on top of the tablecloth top.
  6. Each drop panel should be centered on the tablecloth edge so it sits ½" from each end. This accounts for the seam allowance.
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  7. Machine baste all the panels place 3/8" from the edge.
  8. Place the lining over the tablecloth top, right sides together, matching all the raw edges, and sandwiching the drop panels in between the layers. Pin in place.
  9. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around the tablecloth, carefully pivoting at the corners so that the two drop panels form a perfect 90˚ angle.
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  10. Leave a 4" opening along one long side for turning.
  11. Trim the corners, taking care to not cut into the drop panels.
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  12. Turn the tablecloth right side out.
  13. Press all seams, folding in the raw edges of the opening ½" so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  14. Thread a hand-sewing needle and slip stitch the opening closed.
  15. Topstitch around all four sides of the tablecloth top, ¼" in from the seam... on the top fabric not the drop panel fabric.
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Project Design: Alicia Thommas

Sample Creation and Instructional Editing: Michele Mishler



Comments (3)

SUZ. said:
SUZ.'s picture
Hi - Very Cute! This would also work well for a square table, with a square cloth smaller than you'd like - a dilemma I have faced! The borders would serve not only as a coordinate but also to anchor the cloth in the course of "enjoying the dining experience." I thought of this immediately! worrying about flipping the cloth at the corners or mis-aligning the cloth as dishes are moved about, etc. Thanks!
Sheila D said:
Sheila D's picture
Love this, looks like we have our italian nonnies christmas present!smilies/grin.gif