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From Grandma’s table to my hips

Ingredients for the skirt I wanted to make

I’ve had a small pile of fabric set aside for the last three months. In that stack was:

  • two thrifted pillowcases in a lovely pink, yellow, and aqua stripe
  • a roll of polka-dot grosgrain ribbon in dark brown and aqua
  • my grandmother’s tablecloth, white with a yellow, pink, and aqua floral border

These were to be the ingredients for a wraparound skirt a la Green Sewing.  I was in love with the way the fabrics looked with each other, and I daydreamed about putting them together into a skirt that was pretty, resourceful, and reminded me of my grandma.

Fast-forward to tonight, when I was finally ready to cut into the precious tablecloth. I read the materials list in the book.  Now, you might be thinking that this is a step I should have taken three months ago when I first got my heart set on this project.  And you’d be correct.  Had I done so, I’d have known right from the start that there was not enough fabric in that tablecloth to make a wrap skirt.

What a bummer.  I had really loved how all of those fabrics worked together.

New skirt from vintage tablecloth

Still, I didn’t want to give up on the idea of repurposing the tablecloth, so I turned to my trusty elastic-waist skirt pattern and made the same thing I always do.  There’s a reason I always fall back on this pattern, I guess – it works for me.  I like it a lot.  And with enough different fabrics, it doesn’t have to look like the same skirt on repeat.

I like how the floral pattern begins to creep up the sides at the seams.  It’s a nice effect, I think.

New skirt from vintage tablecloth

I plan to enjoy wearing my grandmother’s tablecloth – I only wish I had more of her linens to play with.  There’s something special about using materials that have a history.  While I don’t specifically remember this tablecloth, I do know that this is the style she used to have at the kiddie table.  All of the little stains I bleached away tonight were probably courtesy of my cousins, my siblings, myself, and countless bowls of grandma-made spaghetti.

I love that.

23 thoughts on “From Grandma’s table to my hips

  1. Really cute! What a great idea for materials.
    .-= See Kristin’s latest blog post: Bored? Try goop. =-.

    1. Thank you!

  2. Wow! Lisa! that looks great!

    1. Thanks, Chris, I’m very happy with it!

  3. Oh I agree. Something about re-purposing a sentimental piece. This is lovely. I’m looking for a good wrap skirt pattern myself.
    .-= See Molly’s latest blog post: wip :: summer 09 album progress =-.

    1. The one in Green Sewing is great-looking, and I still plan to try it, just with some other fabric.

      I’ve made the Sew What Skirts wrap many times, and that one has worked nicely for me,too.

  4. this is beautiful! The skirt itself and the history are precious!
    .-= See nicole’s latest blog post: Sunset Family Photos =-.

    1. Thanks, Nic 🙂

  5. What a pretty skirt, so full of memories and meaning, Lisa. Beautiful.

    1. Thanks, Karen 🙂 I’m looking forward to wearing it this weekend for a amily party.

  6. First off, I LOVE the play on words you used for the post title. It totally caught my attention!!

    Secondly, I don’t think it matters if you didn’t get to use your original pattern, the skirt turned out just lovely. I DO love how it eases up the seams on the sides.

    What fun!!
    .-= See Hope’s latest blog post: A Tutorial on the Other Blog =-.

    1. Heh. I liked that, too 🙂 Thanks for the complement!

  7. That is an adorable skirt! I was thinking the same thing, that I love how the flowers are climbing up the sides. The striped fabric is very pretty! What will you do with it now?
    .-= See Suzanne’s latest blog post: Cornmeal Pancakes =-.

    1. I’m glad that the effect is obvious (and appealing!) I was thinking that the striped fabric could make a nice shirt, and then I would have the option of wearing it with the skirt, if I wanted to. HopeI can get around to trying that out!

  8. I love that skirt pattern as well. I have 8 skirts at last count. That table cloth is the bomb. Very cool. You wear it with vintage flair!
    .-= See dani@little fists’s latest blog post: Disgruntled Skater =-.

    1. Thanks! I’ve only worn it for pictures so far – can’t wait to twirl around in it for real 🙂

  9. Leesa, why hide your beautiful face?

  10. wonderful..love the history too.

    1. Thank you – it’s always a treat to get a comment from someone who’s name I recognize. I enjoyed your Craftsanity interview last year 🙂

  11. Lovely skirt and wonderful sentiment! How did you get the stains out — always a problem I have with old linens… regards, nt

    1. None of the gentle treatments I tried did any good, so I eventually just sprayed bleach on the stained parts. I was lucky that the stains were only on the white part, so bleach was a viable option.

  12. […] at stores and are particularly good sources for holiday fabric. You can reuse tablecloths to make skirts, tote bags, napkins, zippered bags, aprons, and tons of other […]

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