I finally broke down and bought a table in the hopes that I will be at all the affordable-to-register craft fairs this season. I decided it would be a good idea to make a nice cover for it too. I wanted something cheery and bright to attract attention and also something that would properly hide any clutter I had lying around and give me extra storage.
I created a slightly gathered table cover that's open in the back so you can get to the storage under the table super quick! This table cover will take a couple hours to make, but it's definitely worth the time if you're trying to do craft fairs on the cheap.
Step 1: What you'll need:
- a folding table
- fabric (we'll talk about measuring below) - you can use one color or mix and match!
- sewing machine
- measuring tape
- iron + ironing board
You'll need one piece a couple inches wides and longer than your tabletop, and one long piece to go all the way around your table, plus a little extra (10-15 inches at least!) for gathering. I used a little over 2 1/2 yards of fabric for the skirt for my table, which is 48 inches long and 20 inches wide.
Also keep in mind you'll have quite a bit of fabric left over from the skirt. My table is 28 inches tall, and I used 45 inch wide fabric, so I have a pretty long strip left over. It'll make good quilt squares! You could probably piece together the remainder to form a top, but I figured that would not look as clean.
Step 2: First cut the top.
Now, using the bottom of the tabletop (the bottom of the metal bar under the tabletop, to be precise) as a guide, pull the fabric down slightly and cut all the way around. Follow the curves at the edges of the table closely - they need to be clearly curved, it will help with sewing later!
The pictures explain this better.
You could also lay the fabric flat on the floor, place the table on top and trace around, but that seemed like lots more work.
Step 3: Cut the skirt fabric to the right height
The best way that I've found to do this when you're working with a huge piece of fabric is to fold over the bottom of the fabric to half the height you're going for. In this case, I am folding over the fabric 14.5 inches. Fold, measure and then pin, and continue this all the way down the fabric. Pin at least every foot for ease of cutting. :)
Roll the already pinned fabric up as you go so you have more room to work with the unpinned fabric.
Once it's pinned from end to end, cut right where the edge of the fabric is. Now you've got your skirt fabric!
I feel like the pictures explain this better, too!
Step 4: Gather the skirt
Set your sewing machine to the longest stitch setting you've got - on most machines this will be a 4. Grab the fabric for the skirt and sew 1/4 inch in from one of the long edges.
Now, you'll sew another long line, 1/4 inch in from the first one. Do not backstitch at the beginning or end or trim the ends!
(Pro tip shown in the second photo: gather the fabric up in your lap while doing this. Letting it hang off the table will cause weird tension problems because of the extra weight!)
Now choose one end of the fabric, and grab one thread from each pair. Hold the threads in your right hand while you pull the fabric to the left. It should gather easily, but if it's hanging, try the other thread in the pairs. :)
I like to gather lots at one end, and then gather at the other end of the fabric. Try to make them meet in the middle. Spread the gathers out evenly. Just make sure not to gather too much, or the skirt might end up way too short to go around the table and you'll have lots of ungathering to do.
It's easier to do than explain, just keep holding the threads and pinching the fabric and moving it along as you like. :D
Step 5: Adjust the gathering on the table
Pin the skirt fabric to the table top fabric at the right spot on one side of the back on the table. Pull the fabric around the edges of the table, pinning as you go. If it seems you gathered too much, spread the gathers out towards the other end of the skirt. Pin frequently as you go, every 6 inches or so, until you reach the other end and slightly overlap the back of the table again.
Try to make the gathers nice and even and make any adjustments you need to while it's pinned and you can see how it looks.
Then, unpin the skirt from the table, because we've got some hemming to do!
Step 6: Hem the skirt
To hem the sides, fold over the fabric 1/4 inch and iron. The wrong side of the fabric should be facing up, and the part you fold will show the right side of the fabric. The fold it over another 1/4 inch and iron again. Sew this fold down, backstitching at both ends, all along the hem. Do this for both sides.
Now repeat with the bottom of the fabric. You can make the bottom hem a little larger if it looked a tad too long when you had it pinned to the tabletop.
Step 7: Pin the skirt to the tabletop
Pin all the way around and then flip the fabric over so it's hanging down. It's at this point you can make sure it's lined up properly and the corners look okay. Fix any major problems before unpinning/untaping the tabletop fabric from the actual table.
Step 8: Sew the skirt to the tabletop
Sew slightly to the left of the farthest gathering stitch, as shown in the photo. Keep the edge of the table top lined up with the edge of the skirt for best results.
Step 9: Hem the back edge of the table top
Fold it over twice like before, iron and sew.
You are so close!!