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Special Occasion Tablecloth with Deep Double Ruffles
This beautiful tablecloth can dress up your home or an upcoming event. It would be perfect as a wedding guest book table! When the festivities are over, move it inside as an elegant side table with a shabby chic flair. The lovely drape of the tablecloth along with its lusciously deep ruffles are thanks to Embrace Double Gauze by Shannon Fabrics. Soft and light as a cloud, Embrace Double Gauze has the colors and texture to create just the right mood for your special occasion. Truth be told, wouldn’t you just love to have a skirt with ruffles like this?! The twirl potential is off the charts!
When the double gauze fabrics first came out, most were adorable baby prints in soft colors that mixed well with traditional pastels. Since then, print options have expanded to include non-nursery prints, such as the Aim High arrow pattern we chose. And solid colors are more varied as well, from the subtle Baby Pink and Snow White on our sample, to rich jewel tones like Cobalt and Amethyst.
Follow our color combination or create your own to match a wedding palette or your home’s décor.
The ruffles are made from two different color panels sewn together. As you’ll see in the steps below, with some clever gathering, the ruffles can be attached with just one seam. The panels are then folded along that seam to create the two-color, double-ruffle effect. With just two panels along each side, you get four stair-stepping ruffles in alternating colors. So pretty!
You likely recognize regular gauze for its sheer open weave. In fact, the process that creates gauze is even called “gauze weave” (or “leno weave”). This weaving process twists two warp yarns around the weft yarn in a figure eight pattern, resulting in a strong yet sheer fabric. Double gauze is just that, two layers of gauze. Teeny tiny stitch tacks, so teeny and tiny as to be invisible from the right side of the fabric, hold the layers together. These double layers help eliminate the super-sheerness of standard gauze and give the fabric a bit of extra weight, which imparts the wonderful, almost velvety drape.
Our tablecloth is designed to take full advantage of that velvety drape. When placed over the table, the sides of the ruffles come together at each corner and the puddle slightly onto the floor.
As shown below, our tablecloth is sized to fit a standard side table: 30” high x 34” wide. The design will work with either a round or a square top table. The drape is a bit more dramatic with a round table. The included illustration will help you determine how to size the tablecloth up or down.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot or similar; or engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the AcuFeed™ Flex system we use on many of our Janome studio machines
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: As mentioned above and shown below, our tablecloth’s finished size, as well as the supply requirements listed below, are based on a 34” round or square table, 30” in height.
- 6 yards EACH of TWO coordinating solid colors of 50” Embrace Double Gauze or similar; we used 50” Solid Embrace Double Gauze by Shannon Fabrics in Snow White and Baby Pink
- 4½ yards of one coordinating print pattern of 50” Embrace Double Gauze or similar; we used 50” Embrace Double Gauze by Shannon Fabrics Aim High in Pink
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- One large spool of heavyweight upholstery thread or similar to use for the corded gathering method – the color doesn’t matter as it will be removed; you could also use very thin yarn or cording
- See-through ruler
- Measuring tape
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- From the two solid colors of Embrace Double Gauze, cut the following:
EIGHTEEN 11½” high x width of fabric (WOF) panels from EACH color.
Then, pull out TWO strips from EACH color and cut these four strips in half to yield FOUR 11½” x 25” strips in color one and FOUR 11½” x 25” strips in color two.
When done, for the SHORT tier of ruffles, you’ll use you eight 11½” x WOF strips from solid color one (two panels per side) and eight 11½” x WOF strips from solid color two (two panels per side). For the LONG tier of ruffles you’ll use you’ll use eight 11½” x WOF strips and four 11½” x 25” strips from solid color one (two and a half panels per side) and eight 11½” x WOF strips and four 11½” x 25” strips from solid color two (two and a half panels per side)
- From the print pattern of Embrace Double Gauze, cut the following:
TWO 78” high x WOF panels.
Keep one panel as is; it will be the center base panel.
From the remaining panel, sub cut TWO 78” x 15⅝” rectangles for the side base panels.
NOTE: You are working with large pieces for a tablecloth. For cutting help, check out our tutorial on Rotary Cutting Large Panels to see how to fold and cut.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Find your pile of panels for the short ruffles. It should contain eight 11½” x WOF strips from solid color one and eight 11½” x WOF strips from solid color two.
- Split up the panels into four sets of two: four sets in color one and four sets in color two.
- Place two same-color panels right sides together aligning one 11½” side. Pin in place.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch together the panels.
- Press open the seam allowance.
- Repeat to assemble the three remaining sets. And then repeat with the second color. When finished, you should have four 11½” x 99½” panels in each color.
- Pair up these panels so you have one of each color in each pair. In our sample, we had four sets, each set containing one Baby Pink and one Snow panel.
- Place these longer panels right sides together, aligning the vertical seam allowances. The raw edges should also be flush all around. Pin together, leaving an approximate 3” opening along one long side for turning.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch together the panels. Remember to pivot at each corner and to lock your seam at either side of the 3” opening.
- Clip the corners and press open the seam allowance.
- Turn right side out through the opening.
- Gently push out the corners with a long, blunt tool so they are nice and sharp. A chopstick, knitting needle or point turner works well for this.
- Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Hand stitch the opening closed.
- The long ruffles are assembled in a similar manner, you are simply stitching together three panels rather than two at the start.
- Find two long and one short panel in the same color. Pin a long panel to either side of the short panel.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch together the panels.
- Press open the seam allowances.
- The remaining assembly steps are the same as for the short ruffles.
- Set aside all the flat ruffle panels. You should have four short double-sided panels and four long.
Create the base
- Find the three large panels that make up the tablecloth’s base: the one 78” x WOF panel and the two 78” x 15⅝” panels.
- The two narrower panels will be sewn to either side of the wider center panel.
- In order for the tablecloth to have a clean finish on both the front and back, we recommend French seams.
NOTE: If you’re new to this type of seam finish, we have a full French Seam tutorial you can review prior to starting the project. But, we have summarized the basic steps below.
- Place one narrow panel WRONG sides together with the wide panel, aligning their inner 78” raw edges. Pin in place.
- Using a ⅝” seam allowance, stitch together.
- Trim back the seam allowance to ¼”.
- Re-fold the panels RIGHT sides together along the seam line. Pin together, making sure your seam line sits evenly along the edge from top to bottom.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together from top to bottom, encasing the raw edges of the previous seam within this new seam.
- Flip over the sewn panels so they are right side up and press the finished seam allowance outward, toward the narrower panel.
- Topstitch the seam allowance in place, running your topstitching close to the main seam line within the narrower panel.
- Repeat to seam the remaining narrower panel to the remaining free edge of the center panel.
- The hem of the base panel is a simple double fold. To to this, press back the raw edge ½” all around, then press back an additional ½” all around for a 1” double-fold hem.
- At the corners, you could leave a simple square overlap as the corners will be mostly hidden by the drape of the ruffles.
- However, we decided to unfold our corners to create a clean diagonal point at each.
- If you are new to this technique, we have a full tutorial showing this process for both ¼” and ½” narrow hems.
- Topstitch the hem in place all around. Remember to pivot at each of the corners.
Mark the base for ruffle placement
- Using a fabric pen or pencil, create guide lines for the two tiers of ruffles.
NOTE: Make sure to choose a marking tool that will easily wipe away or vanish with exposure to air or the heat of an iron. At the very least, because the Embrace Double Gauze is sheer, make sure to use a light color for the drawn lines.
- For the first tier, draw a horizontal line 7½” up from and parallel to the bottom hemmed edge. You are drawing in one large square.
- For the upper tier, draw a horizontal line 14” up from and parallel to the bottom hemmed edge (or your could measure 7½” up from the first set of guidelines). You are drawing in a slightly smaller square.
- When working with larger projects, it can be hard to capture everything within the camera’s frame. Below is a drawing to refer to that shows the placement of the guide lines on the base panel as well as how the ruffle panels are attached.
- When the ruffles are finished and folded over into position, there is one longer “bottom” ruffle in one color and one shorter “top” ruffle in the second color. In our sample, the bottom is Snow White and the top is Baby Pink. Decide which of your colors you want as the bottom and top.
- Place the panel flat on your work surface with the side facing up that will be your bottom ruffle. In sample, that meant our Snow White side was facing up. Measure 3½” down from the top seamed edge and draw a horizontal line across the panel with your fabric pen or pencil.
NOTE: Although this line will be concealed between the folds of the panel, we do still recommend making sure to use a marking tool as described above that will easily wipe away or vanish with exposure to air or the heat of an iron.
- Because these panels are quite wide and made up of double layers, we recommend using the corded gathering method. This method is stronger than traditional machine basting so it’s easier to gather up a wider, heavier panel. The steps are shown and summarized below, but you can also take a look prior to starting at our full Machine Gathering tutorial.
- Make sure your panel is still bottom side up (Snow White side up in our sample) so the drawn line is visible.
- Set up your sewing machine for a zig zag stitch.
- Adjust the length and width to the maximum.
- Place the heavy thread or similar approximately ⅜” above the drawn line. You don’t have to pin it in place; you simply hold it in place.
- Begin to sew approximately ⅜” in from the side of the panel. Your stitch is zig zagging (also called couching) over your thread/cord of choice. Do not catch the thread/cord in the stitch, otherwise you’ll have to start over. You’re making a narrow tunnel with your zig zag stitch.
- Run one cord ⅜” above the drawn line and one cord ⅜” below the drawn line. We are using two lines of gathering because of the length and the double-thickness of the panels.
- Leave long thread tails for knotting at the beginning and end, as well as a tail of thread/cord for gathering at the beginning and end.
- Stop approximately ⅜” from the opposite side edge of the panel. When you’ve reached the end, simply remove the panel from the machine. Just like machine basting, do not lock your stitch at the beginning or end.
- Press the panel along the draw line; you want this center section to be nice and flat.
- Repeat this process for the remaining ruffle panels – both the short and the long panels.
Attaching the ruffle panels to the base
- Place the base panel right side up and flat on your work surface. It’s quite large, so placing it on a clean floor may be your best bet.
- Along each of the drawn guide lines on the base panel (each side of the two drawn squares), measure to find the exact center point. Mark these center points with pins.
- Find one long ruffle panel. Mark the exact center of the panel’s drawn line.
- Align the center point of the panel with the center point of one side of the lower tier square. The drawing above is helpful to see how the panels are attached. These steps are describing the “A” section of the illustration. The top side of the panel should be against the right side of the base panel. In our sample that meant the Baby Pink side was against the right side of the base panel and the Snow White side was facing up, which is, of course, the side on which the corded gathering was sewn. The panel is flat.
- Pin in place through both layers at the center.
- Gather from one side into the center until that half of the panel fits against the drawn line on the base panel. The end of the panel should align with the corner of the drawn square.
- Knot the ends of the thread to secure.
- Repeat to gather from the opposite end of the panel into the center pin point. Once again, knot the ends to hold the gathers in place.
- Pin in place along the drawn line
- As you’re pinning, adjust the gathers so they are as even as possible from one end of the panel to the other.
- Attach a Walking foot or similar.
- Stitch along the drawn line with a tight stitch. We used the Triple Stitch on our Janome machine.
- Repeat to attach the remaining longer panels along the bottom tier. The panels come together at a right angle at each corner of the drawn square.
- When the bottom tier is complete, repeat to attach the shorter panels in the same manner to the drawn square of the upper tier.
- When the stitching is complete, remove all the zig zag stitching and the thread/cord.
- Press all the ruffle panels along the sewn seams to create the final double ruffle effect in two colors. As mentioned, refer to the illustration above to get a better overview of the full panel positioning. These steps refer to the “B” and “C” sections of the illustration.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild
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Lusciously gorgeous! But only
Lusciously gorgeous! But only yardage and thread (not factoring in any state taxes) brings the cost to roughly $175! I will have to simply drool. But it is a beautiful design!
@Harriet – Thank you – so
@Harriet – Thank you – so glad you love the design. Do make sure you are comparing all the best prices in your area – yardage prices for Embrace are traditionally well under the cost of quilting cottons. Our calculations show under $100 on average for this project… and for this type of luxurious look and feel in a cloth you can use over and over (it is quite washable).
Absolutley luscious! Makes we
Absolutley luscious! Makes we want to throw a party 🙂
@Ellen – Thanks so much! Yes.
@Ellen – Thanks so much! Yes… let’s have a party