Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Viva La Frieda tablecloth

Sorry about it in advance, but this title proved irrisistable to me. It's also a first for me as I'm not exactly known for making usable items. Most of the time it's art for the walls only, or for one of the round robin albums, or swaps.

The tablecloth was inspired by the fact that Alphastamps has started stocking oilcloth, as you noticed on the ATC posted earlier. Not just any oilcloth either, but from Mexico and as soon as I saw it I had to think of Frida Kahlo. I stocked up on all the patterns they have just now but I wanted a few more so I googled Mexican oilcloth and lo and behold, I found a British company importing the exact same stuff. The company is called Viva La Frida. Hence the name with the edition of the e to make it my own.

By the way, Frida Kahlo also spelled her name with the additional e (i.e. Frieda) originally but changed the spelling at the start of the First World War as she was appalled by the actions of the German nation at that time.

The tablecloth is fully reversible and here are the instructions should you want to make your own.
My tablecloth is exactly 40" square made to fit my outdoor table. You can make it any size you like by making more or less squares.

Make a total of 100 squares as follows:

From a selection of oilcloth fabrics cut out 200 3" squares. I used my rotary cutter and mat for this purpose. Layer up 2 squares in different fabrics, with the wrong sides together and straight stitch around the outside edges. Use a larger needle than normal. A size 90 worked well for me. For stitching on oilcloth use a walking or alternatively a non-slip foot on your sewing machine, and a slightly longer stitch than usual. If you make a mistake you will have to cut extra squares as you can't remove the holes made by your needle! Also remember you can't iron oilcloth (as it would melt!!) but you can stroke out any rimples by hand easily.

Once you have your 100 double-sided squares, arrange them in a pleasing fashion for the front (you can if you like also try and make sure the back looks good but I have to admit that I left that to chance!).

Than proceed to sew your rows of squares together and after that join the rows together too till you've formed a large square of 30" sq. To join the squares and the rows you have to butt them together and oversew both edges at the same time, using the zigzag stitch on your machine. I used foot no. 10 on my Bernina which made it a bit easier as this foot indicates the exact centre of the foot itself. Line up the adjoining squares so that this indicator is exactly in between the two. Make your zigzag about 3 mm wide. Zigzag quite closely together but don't use satin stitch. It would make the whole thing too stiff! Have a look at the detailed picture above to see exactly what I mean. I've used red stitching to give you a better look.

Remember that your stitching and thus the thread you use both for the top and the bobbin will be on show so either tone it in with your fabrics or use a contrasting thread as I did. These fabrics are so wildly patterned that you hardly notice an additional element in the form of a contrasting thread colour (just like Frida did in her paintings, really!).

Cut strips of 5" wide for the borders, 4 of one fabric and 4 of another. Two strips of every 4 should be 30" long and the other two 40". Sew strips together of the 2 different fabrics, again wrong sides facing as you did for the squares. Be even more careful, that one strip does not slip as you cannot pin the oilcloth. Sew SLOWLY!!

Sew the 30" long strips onto opposite sides of your 30" square (again by butting them together as above) and then sew the 40" strips to the other opposite sides. Make sure to do some backstitching at the beginning and end of every row to secure your thread.

I wanted to show you this tablecloth on our table outside but we have a fierce storm raging. Not the best time for outdoor photography so instead I'm showing it hanging up for now.

The front is at the top of this blog and just above is the back. Remember the front is planned and the back potluck! The tablecloth is completely reversible so it's up to you which side will be on top!


Helen Cowans said...

Oh no! Whats happening to us? We're making useful items?????? Must be the influence of that book!

Kelly, Modern June said...

This is amazing! Sewing oilcloth can be a real pain I am amazed!

great job!


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