Two new tablecloth tops

I have made two tops from old tablecloths – one a 1960s psychedelic number given to me by my friend Leonie, and the other one which was my mother’s and which is also possibly from the 1960s.

The bright top is the In the Folds Collins Top. I resisted this pattern for a long time as I did not think it would suit me at all, thanks to my particular shape, and then, in a sudden rush of blood to the head I bought it. It sat in the pattern stash for many more months and I finally decided that its day had come.

The tablecloth had some faded bits and some non faded bits, so I worked hard on the pattern placement and finished up putting the faded parts on the sides, so they’d be less obvious and more or less symmetrical.


In fact, you can’t really tell that some panels are not as bright, particularly when I’m wearing it. dsc02777.jpg

I decided to do the sleeveless version as I thought the sleeves would make me look even more top heavy. I really like the sleeveless version but may attempt the sleeves if I use some really floaty fabric.


Next time I make it, I’m going to drop the front hemline a bit, and will definitely try a more drapey fabric.

I put this photo on Instagram: the hem called for bias binding so I went to my stash and found this mauve binding which picked up the mauve of the faded part perfectly. You can just see on the right the brighter colour which is more purple. I suspect that the bias binding is of a similar era to the fabric.


I had previously made a Kylie and the Machine Ida Clutch which is a lovely free pattern, and used the same fabric for the lining.


My leather was a bit thick and I had to eliminate some of the topstitching, but, for the most part it sits flats. IMG_0188

The second top is, as mentioned, a square tablecloth with quite decorative edges. I have spent quite a lot of time trying to do something interesting with this tablecloth but I was reluctant to chop into the embroidery, so it kept going back into the stash. I am entering this tablecloth top as an example for the Make a Garment a Month Neglected November theme on Instagram.

I think the tablecloth was trying to tell me to just put a neckline in the centre and be done with it. I decided to use the Holly McQuillan neckline from the Make Use website.


I cut out the neckline but left the back part attached. I folded it under and sewed it down.dsc02767.jpg

The front is just turned under.


I also put in a couple of side seams to give it a bit of shape and love the fact that this has created sleeves.


This has been a surprisingly useful top. When I first made it I felt that I was wearing a tablecloth, but I’ve now worn it to and from the pool and around the house and feel as though I could possibly wear it on a casual outing. This was probably the fastest make ever – probably took around 30 minutes and I love the fact that I’ve saved one of my mother’s tablecloths. I only have three boxes of linen to go!




12 thoughts on “Two new tablecloth tops

  1. Great to see you in some bright colours Sue, the Collins top is terrific. How does it compare for you to some of the other boxy type tops? I am in the midst of cross comparisons of a few, and then this one popped up on your site! I know it looks more styled than some of the straight lines.
    The second top is terrific, I have many old linens to design and sew my way through. I cannot part with them, but it is a challenge to come up with designs that will keep as much of their beauty and the hard work on show. The thought of cutting through that work – makes me cringe. Your idea is perfect.

    1. thank you Michelle, I do like the Collins top. I am not much of a one for boxy tops as I have a tendency to look a bit second trimester! I do like the style lines and it will lend itself to colour blocking, I also think it will be better in a more floaty fabric.
      Those old linens are a problem, and it is a problem to maintain the designs. This is one solution, but good planning and cutting does help.

  2. Believe it or not, I had never heard of the Collins top before seing yours. This pattern would also lend itself to a great mosaic of denims, don’t you agree? I also like your take on your mum’s linen tablecloth. It looks fresh and floaty. Very feminine.

    1. I actually tried it in denim but the fabric was too stiff and I looked enceinte! I am going to make a floaty version next. Thank you for your kind comments x

  3. I love these two tops, the brightness of the first one and the tableclothyness of the second one. Both look totally fabulous on you.

  4. Love the tablecloth top! I think it would be great for a summer party! And just think how easily it will fold for travel! You’ve said you have a lot of table linens to use up. I’d be happy to use some up on your behalf! 😉

    1. Thank you, and thank you for the offer of helping me with the tablecloths – my quilting friends have already made off with a bunch and now I’m worried I’m going to run out!!

  5. The bright Collins Top and the crips white floaty Top are both perfect for the coming Summer. The matching Ida clutch for the Collins Top is just another enjoyable piece and great use when having a lunch or dinner party.

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