Every Spring I have high expectations of turning my backyard into the kind of outdoor living space you would see in Better Homes and Gardens. And every Spring I fall short of that goal (way short...like I don't even get started). However, this year I vowed it would be different. Now that my children both LOVE to be outside, I knew we would be spending A LOT of time out there and I wanted it to be a comfortable place to sit while they are running around picking dandelions and chasing butterflies.
We already had some nice patio furniture, but I wanted a little cafe set so we could eat dinner outside on occasion. So I picked up this little table at Target for $34.
Then I went in search of a cute tablecloth to add some fun color. Well let's just say I was very underwhelmed with the choices. I finally SETTLED for a blue one with white flowers, but it didn't have the punch of color I was looking for. Then, I caught a glimpse of the shower curtain aisle. I thought to myself, "what if I used a plastic shower curtain instead? It's plastic, it can handle being outside, and surely there will be more options than the three (boring) tablecloths I had to choose from." I was SO excited when I found this shower curtain!
This was exactly the fun punch of color I was hoping for! It was a little more expensive than the tablecloth, but once I saw it I knew it was PERFECT! I had to have it.
I had already decided I was brilliant when I had my TRUE STROKE OF GENIUS. I was thinking about what I would place on top of the table to weigh down the tablecloth so it wouldn't fly away. Then I thought, "what if I sew elastic around the bottom so it would keep itself in place without the need for something to weigh it down." It's sort of like a shower curtain cap for your table. See, genius, right? So I got to work.
My table has a diameter of 28". I decided to add 12" to the diameter, making my tablecloth diameter 40". Here's where you need to recall your high school geometry. Remember, the diameter is the measurement across the whole circle. The radius is the measurement from the center of the circle to the outside of the circle. This is the measurement you will need. For a 40" diameter, the radius is 20" (this seemed a lot harder in high school).
Now that you have that measurement, you need to tie a string to a pen or marker leaving 20" (or whatever your radius is) of slack. Lay out your shower curtain on a large table or the floor. It would be easier if you have someone to help you with this next step or you can just sort of wing it (like I did). Now, hold the end of your string with one hand and keeping the string tight, draw your circle. (I hope this makes sense, because it's really hard to explain but really easy to do). This will give you your circle. Make sure you like the image that will be the center because that's what will show up on your table top. Don't worry if you make a mistake, because it won't really show once you have your elastic in (if you look closely at the bottom left of my circle you'll notice my sharpie got a little off track but it doesn't show in the finished product).
Next I pinned about 1 1/2" casing around the entire tablecloth (no longer a shower curtain!). I'm sure if you're an expert sewer and you see my pinning job you'll be horrified, but I had never tried to sew around a circle before. And truly, this project is very forgiving so it doesn't really matter how sloppy the sewing job is.
Make sure when you're sewing that you leave an opening to feed your elastic through. I cut a "V" to make it easier to access the casing. Now just feed it through your sewing machine like any other project. If you notice your tablecloth is not moving on your sewing machine, it may be because the plastic is getting stuck on the automatic feeder. If this happens, just hold your tablecloth up with your left hand so it is up off the machine. This seems to alleviate the problem. I used an average-length straight stitch (number 2.5 stitch length on my machine).
Finally, it's time to feed your elastic through the casing. I started with a 3/8" elastic (because that's what I had) that was 72" in length. It's better to start with way more elastic than you will use so you can feed it all the way through and then pull it to the desired length. Pin one end of your elastic with a safety pin and beginning feeding it through the "V" you've cut in your casing. Once you've fed it all the way through to the other side, begin pulling your elastic and scrunching up your tablecloth to get the desired form. It really will look like a giant shower cap. Once you have the desired form, pin the 2 ends of the elastic together and do a dry run fitting on your table to make sure it fits properly. Once you have the right fit, cut off your extra elastic (I cut off 35") and sew the 2 ends together. Here's what mine looked like after I was finished with my elastic.
And here's what it looks like on my table...
So cute, right!?! It's sooooo much cuter than the plastic tablecloth I ALMOST settled for. And the best part is I don't have to keep anything on the table to weigh it down because it's not going anywhere!
I absolutely LOVE how this project turned out! Now I'm more motivated than ever to make my backyard oasis a reality! Stay tuned for more progress...Better Homes and Gardens, here I come!
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