Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Linens

I don't do much entertaining, when I do its normally of the paper plate variety. But for this Thanksgiving I've invited family for dinner and I wanted to be able to set a festive table. According to Martha's checklist I should be ironing my linens in preparation for the holiday, but I'm sure that's just a suggestion. Why would I do that when I could stay up half the night sewing napkins and a tablecloth?

And why not take the time for photos while I'm at it so I can show all of you? First, I should say that this is a story of making do with what I had on hand. I had some flour sack dish towels that I had purchased that were NOT high quality and I do NOT suggest that you also try this with cheap-o dish towels because they were a nightmare to sew.
The first thing I did with mine was give them a bath in strong tea to knock down the bright white color so people wouldn't feel shy about wiping their greasy lips on them:

I cut the dishtowels in half and they were really a little smaller than what I had in mind. When making these I suggest that you start with fabric that you can cut enough 20-inch (at least) squares to make the desired number of napkins.
So then I cut 3 1/2 inch strips from my tablecloth fabric and cut the strips into sections the width of my napkins. One long side of each strip was pressed 1/4 inch toward the wrong-side of the fabric:

Oh, look how nicely my iron burn is healing (ick, sorry)

Then I stacked them up in this order:
-napkin (right-side up)
-trim (right-side up with the un-pressed edge lined up with short side of napkin)
-trim (wrong-side up and with the un-pressed edge at top also)
-napkin (wrong-side up)

I folded each over a little to give a sort of cut-away view:

Sew around the perimeter with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. At the corners, leave the needle in the down position and pivot the fabric to make sharp corners. Leave yourself a 3 inch hole to turn. Clip the excess fabric at corners, turn right-side out and use some sort of poker-thingy to gently push the corners out. If you lined all the pieces up right it should look like this when turned and pressed:

Topstitch around very close to the edge. Remember that pressed edge? Topstitch along the pressed edge of the trim also making sure to catch the pressed edge on the other side:

Here is my finished set. One for each adult plus a miniature for Buggy so she feels special too:
All that cutting of strips left my tablecloth a little too short (oops) so I cut some strips of dark brown fabric for a border. It ended up giving it a nicer finished edge. Yay for happy accidents. And here is the squash I was thinking of using for a centerpiece:

Hmm, you're probably right. It would be hard to have a conversation around that thing. But what, I ask you, should I do with a 50 pound squash? This is actually what I was thinking of using:

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

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