Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blue Willow Linens Tutorial

Every night my mom drank one cup of coffee out of a Blue Willow transferware mug as she corrected papers from her day as a first grade teacher. 'The children need them back the next day so they can learn," she said.  Whenever I saw that mug, it reminded me of my mom's dedication and professionalism as a teacher.  How did she stay up so late? I wondered.  Now I know.  Coffee.
Flash forward fifty years....
Knowing I am now a dishaholic, Mom gives me a bag containing the Blue Willow coffee mug, and a few other pieces that she still had from that old set. My imagination was off, planning a table to highlight the pieces, Mom, and all teachers (grandiose visions indeed).  At the Rose Bowl Flea Market, I found some Johnson Brothers Asiatic Pheasant plates and soup bowls.  The Dollar Store afforded me cobalt blue water goblets.  But I still didn't have the tablecloth foundation for the table I was planning in my head.  Everything seemed too old-fashioned, too stuffy, too unlike the innovative classroom projects Mom had invented and graded all those years ago.

Then I found two remnants of denim that would pair perfectly for a square overskirt, adding texture, whimsey, and innovation to the table I envisioned.

Here is the tutorial for making the square overskirt, denim napkin rings, and polka dot napkins.

Trim main fabric so that the length equals the width.  My fabric was 48 X 48 inches.  Set aside.  
 I use roller cutter and mat when I'm cutting straight lines.  More precise. TIP:  Always close blade when not using.
 Cut four strips of border fabric 9 X 51 inches.  Press 1/2 inch of long edges to wrong side.  At the end of each strip mark 1/2 inch from the midpoint. At each folded edge make a mark 4 inches from the end.  Draw two lines connecting the marks to form a 9- degree angle.

Pin the end of one strip to the end of a second strip (right sides together).  Seam ends together following marked lines.   Repeat to sew all four strips together and create one piece.  Clip pointed edges. Press seams open.  Turn right side out.
Fold border in half aligning edges, and press to crease outer edge.  Lay pressed border on a flat surface. Sandwich main fabric between folds of border, and pin in place.  

 Topstitch through all layers close to the border edge.
Table cloth design and directions inspired by Southern Living Quick Fabric Decorating, 2002.

Napkin rings are my own design to use up extra fabric, and add some dots of white to the table.
Cut fabric 9 X  6 inches. Fold in half.  Sew right sides together on short and long side.  Turn right side out.  Turn open edge inside 1/2 inch, topsttich closed.  Make a button hold on one end. Sew a button on the other end.  Button close.  Napkin ring!
Needed fun wraps for my white napkins so found lightweight fabric with polka dots.  Fun! Another project.  Cut napkin fabric 17 x 17 inches. Edge using blanket stitch on your machine.  Trim edges carefully.  Use as wrap for outside of heavier napkin. 

More on the table, "Fun with Dick and Jane" later this week.  Hope your weekend is filled with crafts, dreams, and creations.  It is rest for the soul.

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