Sunday, February 23, 2014

Gathered or Ruffled Tablecloth

I have posted this picture because it is so similar to a house in Texas that I lived in, on a rural route. We called it a miniature southern colonial style. From the inside, were views that could be enjoyed at various times of the day. The kitchen had a morning view where the light showed off a magnificent rose-of-Sharon blooming tree.

The west side of the house was where the evening view was seen of colorful sunsets, and the north and south sides had windows where I could just imagine the original owner and builder of the house looking out at the old farm gate and the dewberry blossoms.

These days people are particular about things, enough to take a picture of something as minute as the painted flower on a teacup or the tapestry design on a pillow, but I did not even take one photograph of the inside of the house or the views seen through the windows. You can read a more detailed description of this house on Lillibeth's blog.

The house was not very updated inside but it never bothered me because there were so many thoughtful features in it. This is the place that turned out to be the source of many pleasant memories for us. For one thing, it was not so new and grand inside that it required better furniture, and all the odds and end pieces I owned worked perfectly in the nooks and crannies. A table for a desk in front of the north window was perfect for art or letters, and an old rocker by another window gave enough light behind the shoulders for an afternoon of reading.

Several days ago I actually finished making a couple of things, but it seems to take me such a long time to get the pictures taken. By the time I have done the normal amount of housekeeping, i.e. meals, kitchen clean-up, beds, bathrooms, sweeping, any errands away from home, and all the other things on my list, the light has faded and my time is gone.
This is a ruffled tablecloth, requested by a reader. There are many ways to do this, and you can find tutorials and instructions online. The fabric stores now have pre-ruffled fabrics, with several rows of ruffles, so you can do this without the trouble of gathering it yourself. I was able to buy a bolt of white muslin and it is the loveliest fabric. It is such a favorite of mine that I call it my homespun silk.
These are fabric pastries just made with a circle of cloth, gathered up with a running stitch, filled with fiber-fill and painted with polymer or scribbles puff-paints. When the paint dries it remains shiny and puffy. I have spritzed a little vanilla scent on the inside of these before gathering the fabric.

I am using a cake-stand for demonstration because it is easier to get pictures of a small tablecloth.

To make this, place a plate or cake stand on the cloth and trace around it with a pencil. Remove the plate and cut out the circle, but not on the line. Cut it bigger to make a seam allowance.

If you are making this for a full-size table, lay the fabric on top of the table and draw the circle around the table-top with chalk, on to the fabric. Remember to cut it a little extra to make a seam allowance. A half inch or more should be fine.

Measure the circle approximately with a measuring tape. More length is better than a perfectly tight measurement.
Fold the circle in half, then fold in half again, as you see, above. With a pencil or chalk, mark all four folds.
Open up the circle to see the four marks.
Now you need to hold fabric from the edge of the table to the floor, and make a mark to determine the length. It does not have to be as long as the ones I made.

It can have a much shorter ruffle if you like, and you might need to make it short enough to be able to push the chairs close to the table, a very long tablecloth will be difficult for guests to sit with. I have made my long table cloths for side tables where I am trying to cover the legs.

Take the amount you measured with the measuring tape around the circle and cut three times the amount of fabric to make the ruffle. You may need to sew some sections together to make one long ruffle piece.
Then iron down a fourth inch on the long edge of the piece, for a hem.

Turn the raw edges under one more time and press with a hot steam iron again. The frayed edges should be tucked under so that it looks nicely finished, above. Stitch on your machine, making sure to back-stitch at the start and finish

Fold your long strip twice, into fourths, and mark each section with pencil, just as you did the circle. Sew the strip together at the ends to make a continuous piece. Stitch one of the raw edges one half inch with a long, loose running stitch, because you will be inserting a straight pin under the stitching to pull it into a gather.
Pin all the marks of the circle to all the marks of the strip and pin them with the wrong sides facing you and the right side down. The right side is the one that does not show the unfinished seams.
Gather up each section of the strip of fabric to fit the quarter section of the circle, pulling up the loose stitches to fit. When each section is finished and pinned, it should look like this, above. The pins should be on top while you machine stitch this.
Keep your right hand under the circle as you stitch, to keep it smooth and flat and keep it from being caught and wrinkled in the machine. Stitch for a few inches, pulling out the pins and placing them in the pincushion as you go. Stop every few inches and adjust the fabric, smoothing the piece underneath and straightening out the edges. It is easy to get an edge folded back and caught in the stitching, and you will have to prevent that. If it happens , you have to unpick it and start again from where you left off.
I am making a doll table cloth just to make it an easier project, and if you have never made a ruffled table cloth before I would suggest you do a doll furniture tablecloth first.
This is what the right side looks like after the project is finished. You can use it for other things such as a cloth under a lamp.

Here it is on the cake-stand pedestal, used as a doll table.
I made a larger one for a tea table, also used as an end-table in my living room.
Wanderer Abobe the Sea of Fog, by Casper Frederick, German 1774-1840
Today I would like to talk about the subject of meekness. Many people have misunderstood the characteristic of meekness to mean weakness, but it means "strength under control." when Jesus said "Blessed are the meek," he was not referring to the weak, no-backbone, no understanding, no wisdom, tossed by every wind of doctrine type of person.
The meek are people with beliefs and standards that they practice. They can be firm and decisive and they can say "no" to things that are not wise, and "yes" to things that are good and not be intimidated. The meek honor strong values and do not have fluctuating, moody personalities.
I chose the painting, above, because it looks like a man who is self-contained, facing the tumult of waves on the shore where he is standing, obviously in stark contrast to Xerxes lashing the sea!
I enjoy meek people because they are strong and somehow, I can depend on them to be "the same" every time I talk to them. They stay the person they are meant to be, adding virtues as they go but never abandoning good sense. Underneath the gentleness, a meek person is strong.

Strength under control is an amazing attribute to acquire. It can be practiced by determining something to do and carrying it through, refusing to allow discouragement. Control the discouragement and carry on. Use any discouragement as a signal to press on. However, if you get too angry, you use up some of the strength you need to achieve your goals. So put that energy toward your interests and your purpose, instead: meekness means not easily provoked or irritated, forbearance under provocations. It is like the stiff upper lip, opposed to the trembling one. Meekness is strength under control.

It is sad that people perceive meekness as being a push-over, because that is not what it is. Military trainees have to learn it and so do people who run successful businesses. We have a culture around us that thinks we should all be breaking down at the slightest provocation, instead of bearing up. Meekness is "calm strength" that somehow provides comfort and confidence to others.
The New Testament refers to the Christian life as a battle, and the first battle is the one inside yourself to attain the quality of meekness. It is interesting in the fruits of the spirit in Galations 5:22,23 that meekness is in a list of other desire able qualities. In the list, one quality might lead to another.
I welcome your thoughts about meekness and how it serves you in your home.




anonymous said...

Hi Lydia,
thank you for sharing your ruffled table clothe tutorial. Your tablecloth is lovely and so is the painting you posted.

As a young child I had a very angry and anxious spirit. After repenting, and asking Christ into my heart the Lord showed me my anger came from fear. Jesus relieved all fears with trust, peace and contentment.

God's Word gives great peace and his Holy Spirit shows us how to handle situations if we ask him.


living from glory to glory said...

Good Morning, I have always loved ruffles on my table coverings and aprons. I wish that I had a few more items of clothing with ruffles. They make things look soft and pretty.

I love to see meekness in action, a strong calmness is a perfect example and good picture to see with our hearts.
We have so much about us that just want to win or just be right.
The fruits when being produced may be a bit uncomfortable, but the effects are precious!
Blessings to you Dear Lydia!

Blessed Homemaking said...

A lovely post indeed. I enjoyed the description of the house, your tutorial, and then the correct definition of meekness. It makes me think of a mother's relation to her children--some think that in being meek, they are to be pushovers for their children, not leading them in the straight paths, but allowing the children whatever they wish. Or the same thing with children. As you said, meekness is not weakness, but power under control. We can be meek, but still speak up when we need to, in a controlled manner.

Katrinka said...

This ruffled tablecloth gives me an idea for our ottoman. I'm planning on painting our LR floor brown, and the brown ottoman would make for too much of that color. I can make a cover like this for the ottoman, possibly in the same fabric as the curtains. Maybe with a fabric bow of a complimentary color wrapped around it? The ottoman is rectangular shaped, however.