Tablecloths Can Stretch Decorating Budgets

One way I’ve stretched my decorating budget is by using commercial-type tablecloths such as those you see at nice restaurants. No, I’m not suggesting you swipe one off the table at Chez Fifi even if you do leave a generous tip. Instead, find an outlet* that sells used linens.

It cost only $3 total to make both of the blue curtain panels. For that price, I can put up with seams near the bottom of each panel.

It cost only $3 total to make both of the blue curtain panels. For that price, I can put up with seams near the bottom of each panel.

When I first found the outlet in my area, they sold tablecloths for $1.00 each. Now they’re $5.00 for small sizes and $10.00 for large, but that’s still a huge savings over department store prices. Like many people, I’ve used sheets for inexpensive home decorating. The advantage with commercial tablecloths is the thicker fabric.

It all began when I had very little money to gussie up a bedroom. Searching for something I could use as an “inspiration” piece to determine the bedroom’s new colors, I came across a twin-size quilt with a cute feline motif that a friend had made me. The problem was, it fit just the top of the queen-size bed.

These tablecloth curtains match my study’s jungle-cat theme.

These tablecloth curtains match my study’s jungle-cat theme.

I took the blue quilt to the outlet shop and found eight rectangular tablecloths to match. Then I made a queen-size bedspread by stitching four tablecloths together in pairs, trimming them to length at the headboard, and adding a gusset down the middle to allow for the right amount of overhang on the sides. Attaching the small quilt to the top covered most of the seams.

Next, I fashioned a set of matching floor-length curtains for the bedroom window. The tablecloths weren’t long enough to reach the floor, so each panel has a seam in the lower third of its length. With leftover fabric, I also recovered a footstool. Not bad for only eight bucks cash outlay.

LEFT: All along the side of the tablecloth that will be the top of the curtain, fold back 2 inches of fabric. Fasten with a safety pin at each point where you want a hook to go. CENTER: The arrow points to the safety-pin shaft visible on the front of the curtain. RIGHT: Slip the hook under the safety-pin shaft, pull it through, and voila! you're ready to hang the curtain—with no holes to prevent you from using the fabric in a different way later.

LEFT: All along the side of the tablecloth that will be the top of the curtain, fold back 2 inches of fabric. Fasten with a safety pin at each point where you want a hook to go. CENTER: The arrow points to the safety-pin shaft visible on the front of the curtain. RIGHT: Slip the hook under the safety-pin shaft, pull it through, and voila! you’re ready to hang the curtain—with no holes to prevent you from using the fabric in a different way later.

Golden-yellow tablecloths cover the windows in my jungle-cat-themed study. They hang from a rod on shower-curtain hooks I bought at the dollar store and covered with leftover fabric scraps. Because of the way I attached hooks to the fabric, the curtains can be used for another project later.

Of course, you can always use the tablecloths for their intended purpose — to cover your dining-room table. Or pass them along to Chez Fifi if it looks like they’re running low.

Written by Fiercely Frugal Savage Sister Diana

*The outlet in my area is a wiping-cloth distributor. (“Wiping cloths” is the commercial term for cleaning rags.) If tablecloths are still good enough to be used on tables, the outlet makes more money selling them for their intended purpose than tossing them in with the rags. A wiping-cloth distributor’s often features reclaimed clothing, used commercial tablecloths, and overstock linens. To find one near you, try Googling the term “wiping cloths” and the name of your city or closest metro area.

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© 2009, The Savage Sisters

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2 Responses to Tablecloths Can Stretch Decorating Budgets

  1. I like the blue cloth curtains. They look similar to mine.

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