The Travelling Tablecloth

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It may surprise you to learn that I bought this tablecloth in Lapland. In Arvidsjaur, Sweden, in the Red Cross charity shop, to be precise. I was on a trip up there at the start of the summer and because it rained a fair bit during my stay, the charity shops of northern Västerbotten and Lapland were a good distraction (although my favourite Red Cross shop in Jörn has sadly closed down).

The tablecloth itself is a thick weave often used for placemats, though it’s bigger than a normal placemat, that’s why I think it’s a tablecloth, perhaps from a side table or coffee table. Anyway, I paid SEK 10:- for it (a little under £1). It caught my eye because of its pretty pink, grey and cream colour scheme, so I snapped it up (along with a few other examples of doilies and table linens, which you will be seeing here in due course). Of course, I wanted to wear it here in London – no sense wasting pretty textiles like this on homewares!

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On closer investigation, it was just about big enough for a mini skirt front. I am using the skirt front from my own Champagne Pattern – lengthening it to the length of the tablecloth and omitting the waistband.

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I made the darts as normal. You can see I considered leaving the fringe as a hem, but decided against it in the end, because I couldn’t work out what to do at the back.

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I actually cut the bulk from the front darts and pressed them open as far as possible to help it lie flat.

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I cut the back from some off-white crepe which was in stash (probably could have done with being a bit thicker), and a matching lining.

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Because I omitted the waistband, I made sure to understitch the lining at the waist to help keep the lining inside the skirt. Understitching involves sewing the seam allowances to the lining a few millimetres away from the seam line. It really works!

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You can just about see the row of understitching in the below picture…

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Here’s how it turned out. I paired it with pink and grey to really make the most of the colour scheme. I think it works!

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I feel like you can see a bit of fringe poking out from the hem – I will trim that before I wear it again.

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The back is plain cream so I need to be careful where I sit so I don’t get any dirt on it. Other than that though, it’s very practical ;-)

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Stay tuned for more Lapland tablecloth fun later this summer!

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42 comments

    • charityshopchic

      Thanks! I love old curtains in particular but I have some great doilies here at the moment that I’m also trying to figure out what to do with.
      (The sandals are from Dune – you may be able to get them in the sale if you hurry! Cannot believe I resisted block heels for so long – SO comfortable!)

  1. sjmcclelland

    very clever use of the table cloth. The pattern might have been too much if you used it on both sides – your design showcases the fabric perfectly.

  2. Claire

    Brilliant! The combination of pink and grey is so feminine I think, and love your pink shirt and grey sandals too. I do agree with a previous commenter that it might have been too much to have the whole skirt in the same fabric so it was a win-win situation!

  3. rimazimchick

    I love it, looks so nice. I recently bought some knitted pieces from a charity shop a long piece that would make a good table runner and some smaller pieces that could make cushions, but that is such a boring idea I really hope I get some inspiration to do something funky with it all.

  4. Kasia

    Wow, what a creative use of a tablecloth–I’m surprised to see in your pictures that it didn’t fray like mad, the fabric looks as if it should fray a lot. Plus, what an elegant outfit–whoever would’ve thought that you’re wearing a tablecloth, it looks like a designer piece!

  5. mpostings

    Just love this. I would never have thought of just a skirt front…… But it looks great. I have the skills but not the imagination I’m afraid. I see things in charity shops but find it so difficult to imagine it as something else. I need to work on this!!!

    • charityshopchic

      Thank you very much! I am always thinking about ways to incorporate found textiles into clothes. If it’s not a very big piece, it may work for a panel on a dress or top, but then you have to look for something else to combine it with. Good luck!

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