Introduction: No-Sew Bandana & Recycled Jean Table Cloth

About: I crochet and do crafts. Oh and I also work full time and have a family to take care of. I'm on here because this site is so cool and easy to post to. You can also check me out on Ravelry: http://www.ravel…

A project that has been in the works for over a year, I challenged myself to make this tablecloth from a photo that took me to a broken link from an email.

I absolutely love it and it was both a labor of love and joy, as I know I am going to cherish bringing it out for picnics and park functions for years to come.

Here's what happened:

I got an email from a craft magazine that usually has links to projects and how to create them. In general, the links are leads to free sites where one can get instructions but not necessarily photos of the process.

One particular email last Spring peaked my interest and had a "No-Sew Bandana and Jean Tablecloth" that I wanted to learn how to make. As I already mentioned, I clicked on the link in the email and it took me to a site with a photo of the tablecloth, but no instructions.

I was beyond frustrated and went to the craft store that day to purchase materials to make the tablecloth my way based on the photo I saw.

Total side note:I believe if a double sided fusible webbing was used, you could make a blanket too.

This instructable is the process of how I came up with this useful, relatively easy - although time consuming - no-sewing involved bandana & recycled jean table cloth.

My hope is to give inspiration to others with the completion of this project.

Fun facts about me: I do not like to sew. Now I know I don't really like to iron either.

I would have changed multiple things and I say that here and there throughout this instructable, but overall, I was very pleased to finish this project and be able to say "I made it!"

I am notorious for starting projects and dropping them, and this project was no exception that part of my life. It's done and I'm so proud to share it with you!

Step 1: Materials & Tools

Materials & Tools I used:

(links take you to examples)


Overall, not including the cost of the recycled jeans, I estimate the cost to be close to $40 for all the bandanas, the fusible webbing, the bonding web packages, the bias tape and the hem tape. I know cost could have been saved if I used grosgrain ribbon for the inner trim, but that choice was long gone by the time I started the project.

The overall size was about seven (7) feet long by about three-foot four-inches (40-inches) wide. If I were to do it over again, I would have probably made the tablecloth closer to eight (8) feet long.

I estimate that it took me about ten (10) hours from start to finish to complete this project. That time was spread out over at least eight separate evenings, over the course of a year. (I'm not kidding!)

I used my dining room table as an ironing board, thus it is not listed above as a tool. Please go to Step 4 regarding making my own ironing board, but if you value your wood table's finish, do not attempt to use the dining room table.

* I used a total of seven different pairs of jeans. Most of the pieces came from the bottoms of children's jeans, where I cut the pant legs off at the knees that were ripped. More on that in Step 2.

** I used 931TD type fusible webbing but would change it to a heavier weight if I were to do it over again and I would use double sided to make it thicker with another material on the other side. Also, they sell the fusible webbing in 17-inch width so be sure to get the right size.

*** I used two different cotton kitchen towels and that is visible in some of the photos.

**** I used these for the inside trim. If I were to do it again, I would use the same width grosgrain ribbon.

*# If I were to do it over again, I would choose to use a 7/8-inch wide hem tape or grosgrain ribbon.

Step 2: Cut Jeans

I used seven different types of jeans to get my 39 squares of jean material.

Most of the pieces came from the bottoms of my oldest son's cut off pieces of shorts, which had accumulated over a few years. Each half a leg gave two squares, and a full pant leg gave at least four squares.

I also used the back pockets of a pair of maternity jeans I had saved as they had holes so I couldn't give them away.

I used my 6-1/2 inch quilting square, rotary cutter and cutting mat to measure out perfect squares of material.

Step 3: Cut Bandanas

Before cutting the bandanas, I washed them and ironed them.

I used my long cutting ruler to fold the bandanas into three even pieces.

Each bandana yielded nine (9) squares, and I used nineteen (19) square of white and twenty-one (21) squares of red.

If I were to do it over again, I would probably increase the size of the tablecloth by another row (or maybe two) and that would require more squares.

Step 4: Optional: Make a Large Ironing Board

This step is optional because despite my best efforts to protect my table, I ended up ruining the table's finish with the heat of the iron on the top.

If you have a large ironing board and would like to use that, go for it. I was able to spread my work out over a large area and iron over a large area with out having to adjust my squares.

This concept was functional, it just ruined the finish on my table.

The first time I tried making an ironing board on the table top, I used a very thick (about 1/4-inch at least) blanket with a sheet over the top of it.

The second time I made an ironing board on the table top (yes there was a second through forth time) I used a very thick fleece blanket, the thick blanket and the sheet (for about a thickness of at least 1/2-inch above the wood top. The extra fleece blanket did not stick to the table top like the single blanket did, which was a good sign, and as the top was already ruined, I continued using the two-blanket plus one sheet system until the tablecloth was done.

You can note that I used a twin size mattress fitted sheet to cover the top of the blankets for my make-shift ironing board.

Step 5: Prepare the Fusible Webbing

Before I started this project, I knew I wanted to be able to cover my kitchen table with the tablecloth, if possible. I purchased 6-yards of the 20-inch fusible webbing, which was more than enough.

I folded the 6-yards in half, and cut along the half line.

I worked on only one half of the webbing at a time.

Because I used only the one sided material, it was easy to see which side was the "fusible side" and which side was the non-fusible side.

Ensure that the fusible side is up prior to starting to iron in the next step. In my case, it looked like tiny raised bumps on top.

Step 6: Lay Out Your Pattern

As I was starting from scratch in my head, I began with the jean material and laid out a pattern from there.

Each row was a string of jean-square, bandana, etc. and I took the time to pre-lay-out every row and ensured that it worked with every column.

The diagonals are the same in all directions for the jean pieces, but the bandana pieces are the same in only one diagonal direction.

If I were to do it over again, I would be more aware of the placement of the jean material. As I cut the jean material in groups, I left the same colored jean pieces together in groups. That was an unintentional effect that I didn't pay attention to as I ironed the first side of the tablecloth together.

Step 7: Iron the Squares - First Side

As I was unfamiliar with fusible webbing, I followed the directions on the paper that came with it.

After laying out the squares, I chose not to pin the squares to the fusible webbing as described on the instructions. Rather, I used the tip of the iron to tack down each square in place to prevent it from moving while I was going to iron it.

The directions called for a damp ironing cloth to be used to help fuse the webbing to the material. I used a cotton kitchen cloth as my ironing cloth, hence the flower pattern you see on the cloth.

After completely wetting the cloth, I squeezed out all the water I could prior to placing the wet cloth onto the ironing area.

After placing the cloth over the squares I was working on, I systematically pressed and held down the iron for anywhere from 10 to 15 seconds in the same spot. The directions called for 15-seconds, and for the most part, I just counted it in my head before lifting the iron and moving it to the next ironing spot.

The ironing process was:

  • lay out the squares
  • using the tip of the iron, I pressed the iron in each corner of each square to keep it down
  • I placed the wet ironing cloth over the area I was going to press next
  • I worked my way across the ironing cloth and held down the iron for 10 to 15 seconds in one spot at one time

I repeated the process above over and over again for about 2-hours. I estimate that was the total time it took for the one side to be ironed down.

I ended up cutting the cloth when it was just a little longer than my kitchen table length. At the time, I wasn't really measuring and had I done it over again, I would have placed either one or two more rows of squares to make it close to eight (8) feet long.

Step 8: Iron the Squares - Second Side

The raised bumps side of the webbing is the fusible part. I placed the second piece under the first, completed one.

The first side overlapped the second side by about 1/2-inch.

I kept the pattern I had begun with (of course) and placed one of the pockets in the second row.

If the bandana piece hung over the edge of the inside where it matched to the first side, I ironed the piece down prior to cutting it.

The same process was followed to iron the squares down as the first:

  • lay out the squares
  • using the tip of the iron, I pressed the iron in each corner of each square to keep it down
  • I placed the wet ironing cloth over the area I was going to press next
  • I worked my way across the ironing cloth and held down the iron for 10 to 15 seconds in one spot at one time

A couple of Notes:

Make sure to tack those corners! I had an off piece that was thankfully covered by the trim in the next step, that I forgot to iron the corner and it did move until the heat of the ironed pressed on it fully.

Be sure to wet the cloth. The moisture in the wet cloth apparently has everything to do with the fusible webbing working.

This side took me over two hours to complete, as I was short a few jean squares and ended up having to cut more.

Step 9: Iron the Inside Trim

Now that the squares were all ironed down, the thing that took me the longest to complete on this project was ironing the inside trim.

So if I were to do this project over again, I would use 7/8-inch white grosgrain ribbon and the 5/8-inch fusible bonding web to iron the trim over the ends of the squares.

What I used was 7/8-inch wide, single fold bias tape. It did not have its own fusible back, so I also purchased and used a 5/8-inch size fusible bonding web.

My now trusty ironing cloth was used for this part of the project as well, and the whole process took me at least four (4) hours over the course of four days.

I did not originally purchase enough trim. I was again, super lazy and did not try to do the math in my head to figure that it took about nine packages of 3-yards each so I went to three different fabric stores to find the same size and type (single fold) of white bias tape. The time spent looking for the material is not included in the listed time frames.

Placing the Inside Trim

  • The directions on the package of bonding web say it all: Place the bonding web in between the layers of fabric - in this case, the trim.
  • I set the tip of the iron on the trim to hold it in place prior to placing the ironing cloth over it. That was not in the directions, but a learned lesson from the ironing of the squares.
  • Place a damp ironing cloth over the work area.
  • Set the iron on "wool" setting and press for 10-seconds. Do not slide the iron.
  • Ensure that the bond is secure.


The thing that took the longest was planning the trim. I chose to use an over, under method, which meant that every other corner was planned to be over or under the opposite direction of trim, depending on what had been done in the row/column before it. This is where the photos are very helpful to see what I am talking about.

I used the tip of the iron to tack down the beginning and end of the working area.

I cut the bonding web into the size of piece I was working on to get the over/under - under/over look of the inside trim I was working on.

After tacking down the trim at the beginning and end of the working area, I used my damp ironing cloth to press down the piece I was working on.

The longer I worked on the project, the better I got and planning out longer distances of trim.

I hid cut pieces of trim under a straight piece of trim in several places.

The final photo in this step shows the end of one side over one square. I cut the trim too short when so I used smaller pieces to finish it off.

Step 10: Iron the Outside Trim

I used three packages of iron-on hem tape. If I were to do this again, I would definately take the time to either find a wider trim or use grosgrain ribbon to finish off the edge of the tablecloth.

The first thing I did was trim any and all overhanging pieces. The edge trim was only going to be as even as the edge I was going to cover, so I wanted to keep the edge straight.

Unlike the inside trim, the outside trim was laid over all of the edges and I didn't have to place any fusible webbing because it came with the iron-on capability.

I started in one corner and it took less than an hour to tack and iron each piece of trim. I did not use a damp ironing cloth as the directions did not actually state that it was important for this type of material.

I placed the iron directly onto the outside trim because I wanted to keep it as straight as possible, and I pressed the pieces in small sections, checking and double checking how the trim was laying along the edge.

I did not slide the iron.

When I was finished, I was kind-of in shock. Although I will probably never do something like this again, I'm glad I used up old saved jeans and technically this was my first quilt-like project.

I didn't have directions or a completed project to follow, but I wrote this instructable to help others! Give me a shout out if it helps you!

Thanks for checking this DIY no-sew tablecloth out. Have a great summer all!

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