Sewing with vintage table linens is such fun! Unique prints and materials. Lace, embroidery, crochet trim, fun prints—-so many options!

Tops and jackets are just about my favorites to sew from tablecloths. I created a 50’s-style jacket from  a funky vintage (1940’s?) tablecloth that featured dozing Mexicans, donkeys with flowered hats, etc–a popular theme from that era. I laid out the jacket front on the corners and had the border design continue around the back. I used a complementary apple green for the sleeves and collar. A couple of scraps from the edge trim design looked pretty cute on the sleeves and tied everything together. I stacked black and white vintage buttons for a bold closure,




Another fun top I designed was made with 2 different tablecloths. One was a big floral in pinks and reds, the other was an embroidered tablecloth with a cross-stitched center section. I created the blouse  from the floral cloth and used the cross-stitched circle to create a flowing collar. In lieu of a facing, I bound the top edge with a strip of linen, which I then crimped and pleated for a unique look. I covered big buttons with floral scraps for the front closure.


I’ve created a few tops from an Indygo Junction pattern that is an easy shape and calls for big blocks of mixed textiles. Vintage barkcloth and tablecloths have been favorite materials for these tops. The front tab always looks great with big, funky vintage buttons. I inherited some table linens with beautiful cutwork embroidery and crocheted lace. I’ve experimented with dying some of these and this first top used sections of tablecloth that I tea-dyed. The upper sections are from vintage barkcloth curtains.




The next top is a mix of vintage textiles and the top is large Jacquard napkins I dyed a soft blue-green. Again, the balance of the top is from vintage barkcloth and other similar textiles. See the cute stacked buttons on the sleeve?



This vest also uses sections of Mom’s table linens which I dyed a soft pinkish-brown. The other side of the vest is, again, vintage barkcloth. The back makes this a trifecta of recycling! It’s cut from a brown denim dress I bought at Goodwill, originally just for the buttons. The flat-felled seams appear like princess seams, though the piece is actually cut in one piece on the fold.



Aprons have been a fun and easy way to recycle vintage tablecloths. Jeans and denim overalls make great foundations for sturdy, useful aprons.

Here I used some overalls to create a bib apron, adding a ruffle along the bottom from a tablecloth. This is a great way to make use of a tablecloth that has a few stains in the center “eating area”. The borders of the tablecloths hung, for the most part, off the edge of the table, so they didn’t get as soiled as the center areas.




This next bib-style apron was fashioned entirely from a single tablecloth and some solid pink fabric I had in my stash.








And here’s another darling apron made from a tablecloth printed with big red geraniums and Kelly green leaves. My neighbor dances around her kitchen in this beauty!

Next is a photo of Yours Truly wearing my dress made from a large floral tablecloth. I needed something cool to wear for the hot outdoor summer markets and this dress really fit the bill. I created a matching apron from a pair of red jeans and the dress sash went right through the belt loops!

And how cute is this little girl’s dress??? One of my favorite creations! The little button-on apron is the inspiration for this whole piece. It’s actually a napkin from a 1950’s table linens set. (My first thought was “Eeww! Who wants to eat on linens that color?!”  But that brown and yellow-green are hot colors once again these days and I had the brown fabric in my stash of cotton prints. The brown and white plaid is a bit of fabric I had left from high school!! (We’re talking 1970’s—peasant top!) I’ve had many moves since those days, but some things just don’t get tossed for another move—like FABRIC!!! (See, boys and girls, this is how you end up with “vintage” textiles!)




6 thoughts on “Creating With Vintage Tablecloths

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