Let's Set the Table
Are you someone who puts the same tablecloth and napkins on your table each fall or autumn season? Does your table look the same each Thanksgiving?
Time for a change - and an easy one at that.
We all love to sew and adding individual style to our environments is both rewarding and amazingly lovely.
Let's start with the dishes
What dishes will you be using for the fall season of dinners and entertaining? I love the china that we received as a gift from Bruce's parents. It's a special set of china with beautifully etched leaves of fall shades.
The decision on a base tablecloth is not easy. The plates are decorative and the base is white with gold etching around the edge. Our chairs have a fabric base that is olive green. Humm. What fabric do we select to not overpower the plates and coordinate with the chairs?
We selected our 115" wide Batik Cotton with the Gardenista Vine motif in the shade of Waning Autumn. Our table is a large oval in shape and measures 96" long by 60" wide.
Measuring and sewing the base tablecloth is an easy way to make the perfect custom tablecloth for your table. Watch Part 1 of our Let's Set the Table series to learn how to measure and sew your own custom tablecloth. [ Click the image to view this episode ]
We love the tablecloth fabric that we selected for our table. It looks beautiful and matches both the dishes and the furniture. However - The table looks a bit bare. We need more color to break up the light backgrounds in both the batik tablecloth and the dishes and serving pieces.
It's time for Accessories and Accents
I spent a few minutes looking for coordinating fabric to make napkins and a table runner. Believe it or not - our Batik Cotton was not the answer. We don't have the perfect shade to bring out the olive green and brown in the Waning Autumn motif in the tablecloth. But - hold everything... we do have Batik Linen.
The solution was simple..... [ Left image is Batik Linen in the shade of Ivy, and the right image is Batik Linen in the shade of Dark Brown. ]
The two shades above allow us to mix and match fabric shades without restricting us to one coordinating fabric. I like the fact that there are options. When we have a small intimate dinner we can use only one color family. When the gathering is on the large side, we can mix and match and make a less formal.
We added four items to our table setting. Table runner, cloth napkins, plate charger cover, and decorative leaves. Let's talk about each one, but scroll down and view our Part 2 - The Accessories on our YouTube channel for all the details. [ Click the image below to view Part 2 - Accessories on our YouTube Channel ]
Let's start with the Table Runner
The table runner is not included in the Part 2 - Accessories video and that was simply an oversight. Let's talk about the table runner.
We decided to add a simple coordinating table runner to separate the business of the tablecloth from the featured decorations in the center of the table. The candle sticks are brown wood, the center tray is a casual heavy gold tray decorated with small decorative gourds, apples, and pumpkins. It was an easy decision to select the Batik Linen in the shade of Ivy for our table runner.
We decided on a 18" wide runner with curved short ends and straight long edges. I serged the edges with a 3-thread overlock stitch to keep it simple and unassuming.
What does the center of your table require? Do you have a simple lace table runner or a quilted table runner that will create that center vision? Use what you have or create your own simple table runner to accent your vision.
Next, the Linen Cloth Napkins
We have several options for cloth napkins. I had a bit of extra fabric left over from the tablecloth. If you haven't already planned the fabric for your tablecloth - make sure you include the measurements for additional napkins. It is well worth the extra fabric. I was able to make four 18" napkins from the tablecloth fabric.
Our napkins measure 18" square when finished. They are a casual size because most of our dinner settings are not formal. Formal dinner napkins measure 20" square to 22" square. Plan accordingly.
I start with an 18 1/2" square piece of fabric. I use a serger to simply serge the edges of the fabric with a 3-thread overlock stitch. Tuck the thread ends at each corner into the back of the napkin and use a product like Fray Check to secure the threads from raveling. [ Reference Part 2 - Accessories on YouTube for details ]
Time for the Plate Charger Covers
The background shade of our tablecloth matched too closely with the lightness of the plates and serving dishes. There is nothing easier to create difference and separation on your table than a plate charger. Plate chargers are typically inexpensive plastic plates in various shades to match your table setting. I only have plate charges in the shade of red for the Christmas holiday. Well, that won't work for Autumn now will it.
The easiest way to use the plate chargers we have is to cover them. Think shower cap. Let's measure the chargers and create an elastic-edged circle to cover the plate charger. It will wrap around the bottom of the plate charger and the elastic keeps it in place.
Here are the basics. Find your fabric pencil or favorite tracing wheel. Place your plate charger or any plate larger than your dishes on your fabric. Use the fabric pencil to trace the entire edge of your plate charge. If you are confident - estimate 1" or more beyond the edge of the plate and draw your circle.
Use your serger to cut and serge the edge of the circle following the trace markings.
Move to your sewing machine and make sure you have matching thread in the needle and matching elastic thread in your bobbin. Sew all the way around the outside edge of the fabric following your serger thread. Backstitch to start and stop.
Turn on your iron and set it to steam. Use steam on the back side of your new plate charger cover to steam the elastic. The elastic will tighten with the steam and create that natural elastic look.
Insert your plate charger/plate inside your new cover and set your table.
The Decorative Leaves
I have to say that this was the super fun portion of this table setting.
I like to challenge myself to either make something new or challenge my skills by doing something new. This was a "challenge my skills" by doing something new activity.
I'm not very confident when freehand quilting on my sewing machine. The easiest way to construct the leaves is to create a shape - mine are leaves, trace the shape on fused fabric, quilt with an interesting design, and cut out and display.
These steps are exactly what I followed to create these leaves. I'm sure there are precut shapes available. My goal was to match the etched leaves on our plates. Here are the basic steps I followed to make our leaves.
- Photographed the leaf shape on the plate
- Printed the leaf shape in various sizes using my home printer and 8 1/2 x 10 inch copy paper. I decided on a larger leaf to add dimension to the table runner.
- Cutout the leaf shaped for tracing.
- I fused two pieces of fabric together using Wonder Under fusible interfacing.
- Trace the leaf shape on the "RIGHT" side of the fabric using a fabric pencil. Trace as many leaves as you wish from your fabric selections.
- Using your sewing machine, sew all the way around the left to secure the left layers.
- Switch your presser foot to a quilting/darning foot and free-hand quilt the veins of the leaf. Be as creative as you wish.
- Cutout each leaf using a fabric scissors. Cut slightly outside the stitching. Make sure to avoid cutting any of the stitching.
- Smile and decorate your table.
I had a wonderful time making the leaves and I hope you do as well.
We Love Our Table
Our fall table setting is ready to share with others. We absolutely love the simplicity and elegance of the results.
A custom tablecloth, coordinating table runner, cloth napkins, plate charger cover, and decorative leaves was all it took to change our setting. We love it and we hope you find inspiration to add a few items to your table.
Until Next Time.....