Tablecloth Cora

I have had this embroidered linen tablecloth for a few years now. It came from the op-shop where it was deemed unsaleable due to the stains, but I was confident that I could get it clean. I pretty much got them all out by simmering in soda ash and laundry detergent. Naturally I forgot to take before and after photos, so you’ll have to trust me about this!

I’ve been pondering the tablecloth on and off all year, and had wanted to make it for the Instagram August So Over 50 challenge for sustainable sewing, but was struggling with the layout. I’ve had a few patterns on this tablecloth, which was a square with a circle of embroidery in the middle and embroidery in each corner. A pretty common tablecloth design and was probably used for lunch or afternoon tea. In the end I went for – yes you guessed it! – the Pattern Union Cora blouse. I know this pattern so well and find that I can hack it to fit almost any fabric. I love the set in sleeves and the different neckline options.

I’ve hacked it so much that I forget what I’ve done, but I’m pretty sure I’ve made the sleeves wider at the bottom. For this Cora I used a two-piece sleeve due to fabric shortage, placed the back on the centre circle, and put in a centre front seam doing my best to line up the pattern. I unpicked it after I took this photo and it’s slightly better.

I used the edging at the bottom of the front and sleeves, but because the back is cut from the centre of the cloth, it didn’t have an edging, so I just cut the edging from some of the scraps which I then sewed on to the bottom of the back, and although the seam is visible, I think it’s ok.

This photo also shows the two piece sleeves. I did my best to pattern match but it was really tricky.

I used French seams throughout as I wanted to respect this lovely cloth, and I was aware that I was making this a slow sew.

I did wonder whether I would need to wear a camisole under it because of the cutouts, but I’m pretty confident that I won’t be offending anyone, although a lighter coloured bra might work better!

As I’ve been making underarm shields for other garments, I thought I’d make some for this one too as ironing it is a bit of a mission, so I don’t want to be washing it constantly.

My lovely follower M-C made some suggestions for the shields so I thought I’d take her advice.

I cut up some scraps of flannelette sheet and then cut these into circles, using a template from a set given to me by a quilting friend.

I overlocked the edges, but next time I will zig zag them as I don’t care much for the overlocking. I had three circles sewn together for each shield.

I sewed a very narrow “seam” slightly off centre. This makes them more comfortable as they fit the shape of the underarm better. I sewed press studs on to fix them to the top. I once again placed them in the same position as the other shields so I can use these in other garments. They are completely invisible and really comfortable to wear.

I took these photos on a lovely spring day, which is lucky as winter has since returned to Perth!

So, another tablecloth saved from landfill, and one that has given me a unique top, which I’ll wear a lot in the spring. I have a very few nicely shaped and decorated scraps left which I’ll find a use for, even if it’s another doll’s dress.

I am deeming this outfit a success as Archie told me he really liked it. I felt a bit thrown together so was quite surprised. It seems the lighter jeans (really, really old ones, which I’ve altered several times) with the whitish top met with his approval!

This was quite a slow sew so I’m entering it into the Instagram Magamsewalong challenge for Slow September.


24 thoughts on “Tablecloth Cora

  1. I love that top, you’ve done a great job although I expect nothing less. I’ve been pondering making some things from Mum’s table cloths as they are such lovely cotton. Think this has tipped me over..

  2. Looks grand & that back seam is totally overshadowed by design below!
    Very classic look with the jeans. Will you go back to that shop & show them? Hope so!
    Am certain they’d be thrilled, & might even give them ideas for how to keep similar items out the land fill. 😉

    1. Thank you. I went back to the shop today and showed them the photo and yes, they were thrilled! We talked about how to get things clean, as they have a proper kitchen and could easily do it if they have enough volunteers.

  3. Love this – we all have one of those tableclothes in our cupboard (of course depending on your vintage).xx

  4. Perfect spring top the cotton will be very cool to wear and the lace will let the breeze the flow. I’m sure there are some of these in Mum’s linen cupboard and good to hear how to get the stains out.

  5. Absolutely lovely! I know that you’ve discussed stain removal with soda ash before. (I bought the soda ash.) Did you explain your process anywhere? The directions on my packet don’t show simmering in soda ash and detergent. ;=)

  6. Hello Sue, Such a pretty top. I love how you have placed the embroidery at the back and front. It looks really meant to be. I remember my nannan had dress shields like these but bigger I think, for dresses made of difficult to wash fabric. What a good idea to bring them back for the heat of Australian summers. My slow sewing is so slow I haven’t started, and I have to admit that slow knitting is appealing to me more at the moment. All the best. Trish S.

    1. Thank you so much Trish, I was very pleased with my embroidery placement! I don’t yet know if I’ve made the shields big enough but I’m now putting them in everything! Makes such a difference. I’m also knitting and crocheting.

  7. Thank you so much Trish, I was very pleased with my embroidery placement! I don’t yet know if I’ve made the shields big enough but I’m now putting them in everything! Makes such a difference. I’m also knitting and crocheting.

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