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Bandanna Tablecloth

Colorful, casual, and altogether charming, this vintage-style tablecloth is ideal for outdoor entertaining. It's also easy and inexpensive to make, requiring only bandannas and a few basic sewing supplies.




We alternated two patterns to create a checkerboard look, but you can use this technique to create virtually any design you like. In addition, you can construct a runner, sewing the bandannas together, end to end, until they cover the length of your table.


  • Tape measure
  • Prewashed bandannas
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing pencil
  • Scissors


  1. Step 1

    Measure your table to determine how many bandannas you'll need (Martha uses fifteen 22-inch squares for a 35-by-71-inch picnic table, with a row of three for the width and a row of five for the length). Pin bandannas, right sides together, to create the width. (Martha doesn't want the existing border around the bandanna to show, so she uses the edge of the pattern as a guide for the pins). Once pinned, the pattern of each bandana should be flush with another.

  2. Step 2

    Machine-sew the bandannas together, then iron the seams flat. Attach the strip of bandannas, pinning them, right sides together, side by side. (Again, Martha uses the edge of the bandanna pattern as a guide.) Machine-sew them together, and iron the seams flat. Repeat process for remaining panels.

  3. Step 3

    Create the hem, using a mitered-corner technique: Fold a double hem, iron, and unfold, making sure the bandanna is topside down and each corner is a 90-degree angle. Fold in half diagonally to make a 45-degree angle and, using a sewing pencil, draw a line perpendicular to the fold. Start from the edge of the pattern closest to the corner, and continue to the first crease of the ironed hemline. Sew along line, then cut off excess fabric beyond the stitch line. Turn inside out, repeat with remaining corners, and sew the hem.

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Reviews (25)

  • lcoexist 24 Jan, 2012

    I practiced making the mitered corner on a piece of paper - it turned out perfectly! You have to know what 90 degrees is - if you divide your square into 4 sections, each section is 90 degrees. Bring the corner point up to the center of the bandana, then fold the lower half over the part you just turned - that makes 45 degrees. Then draw the line as described and cut that corner off. Hope this helps.

  • Maeve42 7 Mar, 2011

    Just a thought, but what about, instead of adding a hem to the bottom edging, you just left it alone? Bandannas already have finished edges, so if you just left them as they were, they would still look fine, IMO. Also, for an outdoor tablecloth, you could cut another one (or two!) bandanna into triangles and add pockets to the corners to hold weights so that the cloth won't blow clean off the table if it gets windy. Just a thought!

    BTW, love the curtain idea for a cowboy/ girl-themed room!

  • Shanigirl528 19 Jul, 2010

    I didn't read through all the comments, so I'm not sure if someone already suggested this, but I was thinking that this idea would also make neat curtains. You could you red/pink bandanas for a cowboy/cowgirl themed bedroom, or camo ones for an army bedroom.

  • csfarmer 5 Sep, 2008

    Another good site for bandannas is "". There are lots to choose from at a good price.

  • karenmjones 13 Aug, 2008

    This sounds like a great, fun idea. However the 3rd point of the instructions concerning the hen is confusing to me. If I do this, I will probably use my own technique for hemming.

  • chaz9028_deleted 12 Aug, 2008

    This is a great idea for using bandannas for a teblecloth! A video on the technique of mitered corners would be helpful.

  • Anna_Marie 12 Aug, 2008

    I am having trouble viewing the contributor's comments...

  • Anna_Marie 12 Aug, 2008

    Are the rest of the directions the process for getting rid of the "point" in the corners? So the hem edge of the corners is "flat" when it hangs on the table? I guess I've never done that. Still confusing as to where to draw the perpendicular line on the fold. How far in from the point when the tablecloth is folded in half, diagonally?

  • Anna_Marie 12 Aug, 2008

    ok...I just read the directions and you lost me on the part after folding the cloth diagonally to make a 45 degree angle. Can't envision the rest.

  • Anna_Marie 12 Aug, 2008

    I love these neutral colors...would work with many color schemes. Nice idea for an outdoor dinner!

  • laurelsue 12 Aug, 2008

    you can get bandanas by the dozen online at, very reasonably priced, many sizes and colors.

  • lyndensmom 12 Aug, 2008

    You can also find bandana's at local dollar stores, in all varieties!

  • NWKelli 12 Aug, 2008

    This is very pretty. It looks like Martha used the khaki color, but was the secondary color the cream or white bandanna?

  • thekitchenlady 12 Aug, 2008

    I got lost on step three! I really could use some visual cues for this. . . I love the look though.

  • irishbrod 12 Aug, 2008

    i saw this a couple of years ago on martha's tv show. i made a smaller version and still using it. i love it. very easy and cheap to make.

  • cindyf13 12 Aug, 2008

    Incredible tablecloth, can't wait to make, but what in the world is a mitered-corner technique. The instructions are not as simple as they look, do you have any illustrations that go with it?

  • camr 12 Aug, 2008

    Buy a few extra bandanas to use for napkins to match.

  • jbiddle2 12 Aug, 2008

    When you select your bandannas, make sure that the pattern on the bandanna is centered, and even. If your pattern is not square, when you sew the bandannas together, even when you sew them perfectly square, the pattern won't appear square when you iron out the tablecloth.

    When the bandanna pattern is a bit off-square, the tablecloth still looks fine--just be sure that you position your bandannas in the same direction, so that the rotation of the pattern is the same throughout the tablecloth.

  • neveraneatnik 12 Aug, 2008

    This is such a great idea for a casual tablecloth. It would make cute curtains too--maybe even a quilt top. The mind reels!

  • terivanhecke 12 Aug, 2008

    Or, go to fabric store, buy bandana-print fabric, cut w/ pinking shears, cover table! JoAnn Fabric and some Walmart stores have bandana fabric!

  • starrjewell 12 Aug, 2008

    I made this tablecloth with red, white and blue bandanas for the 4th of July. I had just gotten a new sewing machine.... my practice piece. The only problem I had was that all these bandanas were printed differently. The borders threw me off and I got frustrated. I put it away for a while and after I got accustomed to my new machine I decided to finish it. I did end up doing some trimming on some of the bandanas but this was not as easy as it should have been for me and I sew quite a bit. All borders underneath needed to be zig-zagged.

  • marywa1234 12 Aug, 2008

    such a cute idea- does anyone know if this would hold up if you used stich witch?

  • kajmere 12 Aug, 2008

    Can you do a video on this? Please show the mitered-corner technique.

  • beverson 12 Aug, 2008

    This is great! -- while it would certainly be cute using the more obvious red or blue bandannas, I really like the slightly subtler look of the beige bandannas. Very different and cute -- still has a fun country picnic look, but this won't clash with my dining room!

  • Angieboyd 12 Aug, 2008

    I LOVE IT! its one of thoes.....why didnt i think of that?!!