Sunday, 2 August 2009

Circular tablecloth = skirt tutorial

Remember this tablecloth I got at a charity shop the other day?
Well, It became this…
Here’s how I made it, but I warn you, it involves a tiny bit of maths…
You will need:
  • A circular tablecloth, but you could easily use a square of fabric and hem it later, or make it in two halves if the fabric has a ‘right way up’.
  • Zip
  • Long ruler
  • Button
  • Small piece of elastic
First, measure your waist where you want the skirt to sit and add one inch (for seam allowance – If you are making the skirt in two halves add 2 inches). Now here comes the maths… divide by 3.14. Got your number? Divide this by 2. This gives you the radius of your circle, mine was 4.9”.
Fold your tablecloth in half across the centre. Now fold it in half again, from the point to the edge. Do this once more and pin like crazy. It should look like the image below. If you are making the skirt in two halves, you will have two of these and you only need to fold twice. Measure your radius from the point and make several marks. Join these up.
Cut the point along this line.
Now unfold your tablecloth and check your circle. Woohoo, it worked!
Now you need to find the centre of your skirt. Refold the circle you removed in exactly the same way as before and stick a pin through the very tip of the point.
Open it out and you have the centre of your circle.
Place your circle back in the centre of the skirt and line up your longest ruler with the pin and the edge of the skirt. Draw a line.
Cut along this line. Measure your zip and mark the length at the top of the skirt. Sew the seam up to this line.
Insert your zip. I used an invisible zip left over from an old skirt I harvested for the fabric. Only problem was I don’t have the right zipper foot, and I had to sew it in by hand. Serves me right for budgeting the time without checking I had the right materials!
I decided not to hem the top, but instead to cover it in some grosgrain ribbon I had that was the perfect colour.  Be careful not to stretch the tablecloth as you go. Remember, a circular edge will be cut on the bias somewhere and could stretch out if you pull it too much.
I added a 1 inch loop of elastic to the top opening and a button to make sure it stayed shut.
Although the opening is circular and has no allowance for your bum, I found that the skirt wasn’t noticeably shorter in the back (and I’m no stranger to pies). I also wanted to make sure that the pink band was symmetrical. If you think you might have problems, it is much easier to try it on and hem the bottom to fit, rather than try to adjust the circle.
And you’re done! Now you can twirl to your hearts content :) I don’t know if you can see, but there is writing on the front hem that says “paradiso”, cute huh?
By the way, I love these shoes - they have little white sailboats on but they hurt my feet so much they are only good for the occasional photo.
Oh, and a little light jumping :)
IMG_6381 IMG_6384


  1. Ohhh! So cute! You're a genius. Thanks for the tutorial- I LOATHE following patterns :)

  2. Yeah!! It's wonderful, Beccy! How very, very fun to wear a twirly skirt like we did when we were little girls. I'm keeping my eyes open for a table cloth!

    Angela P.

  3. On the hunt for a cute tablecloth now. I love your writing style, your posts are always so entertaining. Thanks!

  4. Oh WOW! I love this! That tablecloth is amazing and so is your repurpose! No to track down one of my own. Thanks so much for the fabulous idea, I'll be linking.

  5. Adorable! I have made skirts out of vintage rectangular table clothes before but never the circular. Yours came out so well I will have to try it.

  6. SUCH a fantastic idea. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. And the shoes are kick. ass.

  7. Aaak! This is awesome!! I want to run out and find a beautiful tablecloth to make this right this instant! Great tut and wonderful idea!!


  8. that is really pretty! and clever!

  9. That is so impressive! And the shoes deserve a special mention ~ just because they are gorgeous!

  10. I love this! (I now regret passing up a thrift store table cloth the other day...perhaps I'll have to go back and see if it is still there)

  11. Hey there,

    Emily has added their version of your project on crafty community Cut Out + Keep and we thought you might like to see how it turned out.

    You can see their version and also import your project here (that way you'll find out when any new versions are added) :

    Crafterella :)

  12. Wow! I would be just as concerned about the handmade dishtowels being used. They are gorgeous. I love your style!

  13. Oh WOW! I love this! That tablecloth is amazing and so is your repurpose!

  14. HI, I linked to your post here: Thanks for the tutorial

  15. Beccy...
    I LOVE IT! You're so creative!
    Do you know what the tablecloth measured in diameter?
    I'm also on the hunt for cute tablecloths now!

  16. Thanks guys!

    The tablecloth was around 78" in diameter, which comes to mid-calf. I didn't want to hem the bottom because it was so pretty and already bound, but you could always hem a big tablecloth shorter if you won't lose any of the nice pattern.


  17. I adore this! Thanks for sharing your fabulous idea!

  18. I have made the skirt using your pattern although I gave it an elastic waist instead of a zip. Thanks for the inspiration.

  19. Thanks for sharing, I made a skirt from your pattern from a goodwill table cloth! I wear the heck out of it!

  20. Too stinkin cute! And very inspiring. I feel the need to go hunt down a vintage round tablecloth now!

  21. Really brilliant skirt idea but I think I love the shoes just as much!

  22. Definitely looking for round tablecloths next time I hit the thrift stores! The one you used is beautiful!

  23. hey , thanks so much this helped me alot with my cosplay , ill, post a link of when the cosplays done

  24. That's an amazing way of using a tablecloth, now I need to find one myself! Thanks for the inspiration!

  25. I Western Square dance, and was on the hunt for *affordable* outfits, when one of the ladies in my club told me about doing this. I picked up a beautiful red tablecloth after Christmas for $2 and it may become the cheapest skirt I've ever worn. The fullness will be great over my petticoat! Thank you for the instructions on how to do this!

  26. Would also be great for a holiday look.... so many vintage style holiday tablecloths available....

  27. I have tried this three times now and it doesn't work. I don't know what's going on. I measure precisely and follow the directions and I'm still ending up with a six inch gap between my waist and the zipper.