Turning Spoonflower fabric into a tablecloth
February 13, 2016 3:02 PM   Subscribe

I just got a few yards of awesome spoonflower fabric for a tablecloth. I got the cotton canvas - decently heavy. I was wondering if it would be a good idea to add felt backing to it to decrease wrinkles/make sturdier/etc.?

If so, how would you add this felt backing (iron on? Sew on somehow)? This is a tablecloth that we got to fit a rectangular plastic folding table.
posted by stewiethegreat to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Cotton canvas + felt could end up so heavy that it doesn't drape nicely over your table. If you did go for it, you could use iron-on adhesive strips or sheets like these. Alternatively, you could machine sew it around all of the edges (creating a hem at the same time, since it sounds like right now you just have the raw-edged fabric).

If you just want a light backing, you can get iron-on stabilizer/backing like this. (I don't think that particular one would be useful for a home dec project like this, but there are a lot of options.) Or sew a much lighter weight material as the backing, like quilting cotton (maybe even in a fun pattern so you have a reversible tablecloth).

All that said, I don't think I would put any backing on a canvas tablecloth.
posted by dayintoday at 3:36 PM on February 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't add a felt backing. It might not wash and dry/shrink compatibly with the tablecloth, leading to puckering and wrinkles. If you dry the cloth on low and take it out of the dryer when it's just dry, you'll have very few wrinkles, especially after the first few washes when the fabric has softened.

My table needs to be protected from stains and heat, so I use a thin pad under any tablecloth. The tablecloth drapes better with the pad also. The one I use is vinyl with a flannel backing, but you don't need something waterproof so could use most any soft, sturdy cloth.
posted by wryly at 3:41 PM on February 13, 2016 [5 favorites]

Definitely use a pad and/or weights. It's a nightmare caring for things with backing the way you're describing.
posted by SMPA at 4:33 PM on February 13, 2016

Honestly, it should be sturdy enough as it is. You might have to iron it - but that's life. If you did add the felt, I'm not even sure how that would prevent wrinkling. If you feel like you need something underneath the cloth, You can get vinyl with a thin foam backing* - sold as table padding - by the yard at Joann fabrics.

*at least you could a few years ago, when I bought mine.
posted by sarajane at 5:06 PM on February 13, 2016

The cotton canvas should be plenty heavy on its own, and I suspect adding felt would just make it awkwardly stiff, making it hard to fold and not draping well on the table.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 5:11 PM on February 13, 2016

I know what you mean - having just bare fabric on top looks.... unfinished somehow. I have done just this for a baby's change table pad cover - if you get matching felt and sew the edges with matching bias tape (this tutorial is very helpful) then it looks really sharp. If you wash both fabrics beforehand then shrinkage shouldn't be an issue.

BUT (you knew there was a but coming) it is tricky to get the top side and the felt bottom side the exact same size and lined up well so that the bottom felt side doesn't bunch or shift, thus causing the drape of the top fabric to pucker. If you're a perfectionist and you get it wrong, it may really bug you. You could opt for a thinner bottom fabric to reduce this effect but it may still be there.

Another idea is to forgo the bottom fabric and just sew bias tape on the edges using the tutorial I provided. This will nicely finish the edges without the headache of puckering fabric. You could even hide weights inside the bias tape to help weigh it down if you felt necessary.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:54 PM on February 13, 2016

Use the felt for the "pad" and don't attach it to the cloth. You could make it an inch larger than the tablecloth so it will show just around the edges and it will frame the fabric of the tablecloth.
posted by raisingsand at 7:30 PM on February 13, 2016

my mom gets these padded things that go under the cloth. They are like quilted pads with waterproof fabric, so spills are not going to harm the table, nor is a warm dish. Table cloths don't cling, so it is easy to smooth it on.

I would not recommend putting cotton and felt together -- once washed they would shrink differently, which could permanently pucker.
posted by chapps at 7:48 PM on February 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

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