I'm so, so sorry to all of you who asked about the table linen in my simple summer post back in May. I started to put together this post and then the sun started actually shining for more than a few minutes, my mind turned to freckles and ice lollies, and I completely forgot to come back to it. A few weeks on, I hope you still find it useful. Looking at the forecast, we have plenty of warm evenings ahead of us, so lots of opportunities to dine outdoors.
Initially, I searched and searched online for garden-inspired table linen to complement our beautiful rose bushes. Pink and green should always be seen. Let's face it, who better to take inspiration from than Mother Nature, right? She rarely gets it wrong.
Tap, tap, tap went my fingers on the laptop, and I found quite a few lovely tablecloths, table mats, napkins, etc. But the sticking point? Adding them all together, my favourite designs came close to £150. While I don't mind investing in things for the home that will stand the test of time, it seemed a little steep when we have so many more important things to buy. So I decided to have a go at making my own and popped to our local fabric store (they have a few across the North West and you can order online, too) and found these gems. Linen fabric in beige, pale green, blush pink and a beautiful botanical design. And all for less than £25. Jackpot.
I have a simple sewing machine which very much suits my simple sewing abilities, and with all the straight edges required for a table cloth, table mats, napkins, and a cutlery holder, they made for good simple sewing practice.
I washed the fabric before starting to allow for any shrinkage (I've come to realise that there's always shrinkage) and then simply cut the table cloth, table mats and napkins to size based on ones I already own - but with an extra 2cm all the way round to allow for a neat hem.
The cutlery holder was my own idea though, and really an excuse to add another pretty layer to the table. It wasn't complicated (you've probably gathered that my sewing skills don't stretch to complicated) and if you'd like to make something similar, here's how I did it.
First up, I gathered my cutlery together, popped them on a piece of paper and cut out a template - 22cm x 45cm.
Then I pinned the template to the fabric, drew around it with tailor's chalk, and cut out one piece of plain beige and one piece of the botanical print.
I placed them front to front and pinned them together ...
... before sewing 1cm from the edge all the way around, bar the last 5cm.
Next, I tied knots in thread to secure the stitching and trimmed each of the four corners of the fabric to make neater edges. I then used the 5cm gap to turn the holder right-side out.
And closed the gap with a needle and thread.
Finally, I folded over 15cm of the fabric to create the pocket for the cutlery and used a zigzag stitch (on the sewing machine) up one side of the holder, across the top, and down the other side. Then, I tied tight knots and trimmed the thread for a neat finish.
All that was left to do was pop my cutlery inside to admire my handiwork ... and then make three more. I'll be honest, they're by no means perfect. Just by studying these photos not-even-closely, you'll spot slightly wonky seams and amateurish stitching. But I enjoyed making them and if I serve my supper guests enough wine, I'm pretty sure that they'll start to look practically perfect, right?
What do you think?
Apologies for being clueless when it comes to technical terminology for all things craft and sewing-related. If you'd like to make them and feel that I haven't explained something properly, please do get in touch and let me know. I'm always happy to help.