Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Draped Tablecloth from Vintage Hankies

Here is another vintage hanky project (I can’t seem to stop using them!!).   The undercloth I used was a very old hanky with a wide (about 2 inch) border of very delicate lace.  The overcloth was one with an appliqué design, probably linen or very fine batiste cotton.  For both I had to cut the square hankies down to fit the height of the table. (I didn’t photograph these steps)
background shows lace hanky before cutting

Vintage hankies
Table (I used Chrysnbon round oak table F-270)
Round tube or carton (like oatmeal or bread crumbs come in) the same size as (or a little smaller than) your table
Saran wrap
Sewing pins
Flat paintbrush, ½ inch or smaller

Cut your hankies to fit the size of your table with some length to drape down on all sides.  On the undercloth I cut off the lace border on part of the hanky and re-glued it to a smaller central linen square so the finished cloth still had the wide border all around but a smaller inner square.  You can’t even tell I made it smaller since the border lace was kept intact.

On the overcloth I just chose the best corner of the design to be the front point and cut off the excess to make a smaller square.  I glued a double hem on both the cut off sides (you can see this in the photo of the back of the tablecloth).

cardboard form and table
If your cardboard can is smaller than your table top then cut a circle of cardboard the same size as the table top and glue it to the bottom of the can.  I used a Progresso bread crumb can (upside down) and a slightly larger circle of cardboard for the Chrysnbon table.  Cover this with saran wrap and tape it down so it is below where the tablecloth will fall.

Find the center of your tablecloth and place it on the center of the cardboard.  Secure it with a pin through the cloth and cardboard.  Dip a large paintbrush in glue then in a few drops of water to make a diluted glue solution.  ‘Paint’ the lace with the glue solution (it shouldn’t discolor the lace especially if it is already dingy or yellow from age).  I hardly had to pin the undercloth to the carton because the glue just made it drape nicely.  I kind of arranged the folds and pulled down on them so they looked natural.  Let dry overnight.

When dry, remove the center pin and position the overcloth on top and arrange it so the nicest side is aligned with the nicest side of the undercloth (always keep this as the front).  Glue the overcloth to the undercloth on the top circle of the table.  Now you can gently coax the folds of the overcloth into the folds of the undercloth and glue with a little glue.  I find a glue syringe helps to reach up under the last few folds.  Let this dry again (overnight is best).
Front of tablecloth
Back of tablecloth

Carefully remove the whole tablecloth by pulling it away from the saran wrap.  Glue to your table.

While the tablecloth was drying I reinforced my table underneath with lots of glue so it wouldn’t slide apart (it is meant to slide open so you can insert leaves).
Reinforce with glue so it won't separate

Here is a photo of all the projects I have made so far with vintage hankies.  I hope to write up how to do the curtains and linen rack soon.
Several vintage hanky projects in 1 inch scale


  1. fantásticas esas faldillas de la mesa!

    1. Thank you Carmen! Come back for more vintage hanky projects I hope to have in the future.

  2. Great tutorial! Your table looks so beautiful and I look forward to seeing how you made those gorgeous curtains! So pretty... *sigh*

  3. Beautiful table Kendra! And thank you for sharing it!! I just love the laces and linens/ Hanky! ;)

  4. La puntilla es preciosa.
    Feliz Navidad
    Un abrazo

  5. Hi Kendra! I have really enjoyed your process of making the Beautiful Draped Tablecloths! I LOVE and collect, old and vintage hankies too, as I adore the softness of the fabrics and the incredibly tiny edgings and turned hems, that so many of them have. I am looking forward to seeing how you accomplished your WONDERFUL drapes. They are so feminine and they fall so naturally too. Can't Wait!:D


  6. Thank you for a great tutorial. The table looks fabulous!

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