We have a round table in our kitchen. It's usually covered in easy-to-wipe oil cloth that spends its life smeared in yogurt/paint/playdoh/pasta sauce/cereal. But occasionally it gets to play host to a dinner party, for grown ups. Then it is adorned with - nothing.
I think I threw out all of our previous table cloths in a fit of pique when I realised that actually it is not at all possible to hang on to any semblance of your former social life once you have a baby. But now the boys are three and a half and almost 18 months our social life is slowly crawling out of the gutter. I am capable (although not always willing) to stay up passed 10pm and we can now invite friend for dinner without it meaning that we'll both take two weeks to recover from one late night and a couple of drinks.
Our table being round, it is nigh on impossible to find a cloth that fits. I don't like round table cloths. I'm sure it's because of those round MDF side/lamp tables everyone had in their sitting rooms in the late 80s early 90s. The ones that alway sat under the lovely bit of sponged painted wall in a tasteful shade of peach. They always had floor length round cloths and the image haunts me. So I needed a square cloth but I couldn't find one the right size at all - so I bought some lovely fabric from CallyCo and made my own.
Of course if you have a normal shaped table and can find a plain and simple cloth that fits you can simply add spots to that. It's very easy. If you need to make your own it's not difficult, you just need to sew four straight lines to hem the edges. There is something fancy and twiddly you can do to make super neat corners and I'm planning a post on that later in the week - so bear with.
To get started with your spotty table cloth you will need:
Fabric or a table cloth that fits your table. If you're buying fabric you need enough to cover the top of your table and for a drop of eight inches, plus your seam allowance. Matching thread (if sewing) Fabric paint - you can obviously choose any colour. I went with gold because though Christmas may be over I still feel the need for glitz. I got mine here. A cork - Champagne or otherwise A paint brush - mine is from Hobbycraft.
Cut your fabric to size if applicable. Then iron your table cloth to remove any creases and fold it in half, iron a crease, and in half again to iron another crease. This will give your four quarters and some straight guide lines to stop your spots from being too haphazard.
I found that it was best to paint the fabric paint onto the cork with the brush. Although dipping the cork in the paint was faster it was hard to get the right amount of paint. You need to generously cover the base of your cork without it being too thick. Do a few practice spots if you aren't feeling confident.
Put your fabric on something that you don't mind getting slightly mottled with fabric paint. I stuck mine over the freshly wiped oil cloth (and actually the paint wiped off just fine). I started stamping at the edge of my fabric in a corner. I measured the distance between my spots using my fingers - four fingers widths looked good to me. It doesn't matter what the distance is it's just keeping it evenly spaced that is important. When my first row of dots was complete I started my second row - four finger widths away from the first - with the dots aligned with the centre of each gap between the dots in the first row. At this point I was still measuring the gap between each spot - but after a while you get the feel of it and can just spot away.
To get the most consistent spots I found that I had to press and hold the cork for a second or two. I only got one spot out of each application of paint. Occasionally I had to retouch some of the spots with paint on the brush. But I wasn't too fussy. As long as it looked like a spot I was happy for it not to be perfect.
I filled each quarter with spots - matching up the rows so each quarter followed on to the next. It took me about two hours over several sessions to do all the spots - it's quite therapeutic. You can set your spots with an iron. Use a clean tea towel between your iron and the spots and turn off the steam. Once your spots are set you should be able to wash the table cloth without losing your spots. Check the instructions on your fabric paint though because the fixing methods might be different.
If you used a ready made table cloth you're all done and can invite your friends over for wine and something out of a Jamie Oliver book. If you've used fabric you now need to hem your table cloth - so your dinner party will have to wait. Check back later this week for a step-by-step on fancy corners and other sewing tips.