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Patchwork Tablecloth and Napkins

Photography: Anna Williams

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 2007


This craft is adapted from Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts, by Joelle Hoverson.


  • 2 1/2 yards of 45-inch-wide main fabric (for tablecloth and one napkin)

  • 3/4 yard each of six different 45-inch-wide fabrics to complement main fabric (for tablecloth and five napkins)

  • Cotton thread to match most fabrics

  • 21 yards small (about 1/4-inch-wide) rickrack to complement all fabrics


  1. Prepare fabric: Wash, dry, and press the fabric and rickrack.

  2. Cut fabric: Fold the main fabric selvage to selvage, and cut one 65-inch-deep piece. Trim the selvages, and set the piece aside for half the tablecloth.

  3. Fold the complementary fabrics selvage to selvage. From the remaining folded main fabric and each piece of complementary fabric, cut one 20-inch-deep piece. Trim selvages, and cut at the fold to create two 20-inch squares. Set one square aside for a napkin.

  4. Cut the other square into several strips, from 3 inches in length up to 12 inches in length. Your aim is to create a range of strips in various lengths so you will have an interesting palette to work with to create the patchwork.

  5. Piece tablecloth: Arrange the patchwork strips you've cut into two columns, each 20 inches wide and at least 68 or 70 inches long. (Be sure that the fabrics do not repeat too regularly.) Sew together the adjacent strips in each column along the 20-inch edges, and press the seams to the side of the darker fabric.

  6. Once both columns are sewn together, square up the edges running parallel to the seams so each column measures 20 by 65 inches. Sew the columns together along the 65-inch edge, then sew one 65-inch edge of the resulting patchwork to the 65-inch edge of the main fabric.

  7. Lay one napkin square right side up. Beginning halfway along the top side of the square, pin the rickrack to napkin's right side 1/2 inch from edge. Keep pinning until you're 1/2 inch from the corner; then fold rickrack 90 degrees downward so that it's parallel to, and 1/2 inch inside, the next side of the square. Pin at the corner to secure rickrack, then continue pinning it along the new side. At each of the following 3 corners, fold the rickrack 90 degrees, and pin it as before; then continue pinning the rickrack all the way around the napkin, until you come to your beginning point. Cut rickrack to end where the pinned piece begins.

  8. Sew rickrack to the napkin, stitching in a straight line down the center of rickrack, backstitching at beginning and end of seam. At every corner, make sure your needle is in the down position before you lift the presser foot; then turn napkin 90 degrees, lower presser foot, and stitch to next corner. Repeat process until you come to the end. Attach rickrack to tablecloth in same manner.

  9. Finish tablecloth and napkins: Turn under the raw edge of each fabric so that only half of the rickrack shows. The corners should fold under relatively easily if you fold the adjacent side first and then the main edge you're folding over it. Press and pin folded edge into place. Topstitch tablecloth and napkins all the way around, 1/4 inch from edge.

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