Dress from a tablecloth - easy tutorial

I was walking past the linen cupboard the other day, and this tablecloth happened to catch my eye. We're having a hot start to our summer so my mind has been on dresses, cool floaty, let-the-breezes-in kind of dresses. And I suddenly thought, hey, that fabric would make a great dress. So I pulled it out and held it up to see if it would be long enough and if it would go around me and just kind of winged it from there.

Dress from a tablecloth

And I'm so pleased with the results, I've worn it so much already and it has been a lifesaver in the hot and humid and sticky weather we have been having.
It was super easy to make, it's just a big rectangle really, so I thought I'd write up a tutorial, just incase you have a tablecloth around that would rather have life has a dress. A short tablecloth would make a great tunic top too.

:: How to make a super easy breezy tablecloth dress (or tunic top) ::

- Find a tablecloth that fits around you nicely, with enough room for easy walking/moving and the right length for where you want the hem to finish - you can always alter the hem line of course but that's just more work :)
- Fold it in half and hold it up to your body and mark with a pin where you want your arm holes to finish and where you want your neck opening.
- And then sew up to those marks like this.

dress from tablecloth tutorial

- Check you are happy with the size of your armhole and then cut an armhole in the folded side to match (as shown above), finish this cut edge by folding over the edge twice, just a little bit, so the raw edge is hidden and sew in place.

Dress from a tablecloth

- Put the dress on and mark with a pin under the bust, where you want your first line of gathering to start.
- Lay the dress on the floor and draw a horizontal line at the mark you have made, with a ruler and washable pencil or tailors chalk. Draw this line right around the body, front and back.
- Time to sew your first row of shirring. (*See below if you've never sewed with shirring elastic before).
- Keep sewing rows of shirring using your first row as a guide to keep you straight, until you have enough. I did 8 rows and they were about 1/2 cm apart.
- And that's it! Unless you want to change your neckline, (you will have a boat neck style neckline at this stage). Put your dress on and mark with a pin how deep you want your neckline to go, take the dress off and fold it in half down the front of the dress and cut a nice curve (through two layers) to your marked point. Try it on and check you're happy with the shape and then finish the raw edge as you did with the armhole.

Dress from a tablecloth

*To sew with shirring elastic
- Wrap shirring elastic around a bobbin by hand, making sure you don't stretch it as you go.
- Put your bobbin into your sewing machine and just use regular top thread.
- Sew with the correct side of your fabric facing up so that the elastic will be on the inside.
- At the start and the end of each row of sewing, turn your stitch length to zero and sew a few stitches, this secures it tightly.
- Your first row will not be very gathered, but the more rows you do the more gathered the fabric will become.

Have fun! I want to see photos if you make one!


Em said...

Your dress is beautiful! I'm going to have a go at this - thanks for the tutorial :)

Leah said...

Just last week I brought a linen table cloth with thoughts of making it into a dress. Its been washed a million times so its super soft and airy. Thanks so much for the tutorial. Looks awesome on you.

Ana said...

Your dress looks AMAZING Hanna! Inspiring :)

Rebecca said...

Gorgeous!! you are clever, what a simple easy idea. I think I must have a go!!

Dee said...

wow! that is gorgeous!
i agree, PERFECT fabric for a dress :)

i'm so nervous to try shirring but everyone assures me it's easy...this might just be the gentle nudge i need. thanks! x

Heather said...

I love this! Thank you for putting up this tutorial.

Holly C. said...

Wow-it looks great!

Nikki Elisabeth said...

Woah, I love that dress on you! Gorgeous!!

Thanks for the tutorial... I'm going to have to go home and raid my linen cupboard. (Errr... or washing pile.)

Tamara said...

whaaaa?! this is amazing! you are the queen of clothing solutions -- the wee un's pants from sweater sleeves and now dresses from tablecloths. amazing. i can't wait to try shirring.

Anonymous said...

That IS so nice, I should have listened to you and made on RIGHT NOW!

Mee said...

Such a clever lass you are. (I'm sure I've eaten off that 'dress' before!)

julie said...

How clever! Your dress looks very nice! To think that we have so much snow when your summer is starting...

Happy Christmas!

nz green buttons said...

What a beautiful tablecloth now dress! you are so clever. I might just have to try this, if I can find a big enough tablecloth. I've always put the shirring elastic on to a bobbin with my sewing machine, do you think it makes a difference doing it by hand?

Mrs Knight said...

beautiful!! ive got a couple of table clothes too that are odd shapes for our table. thanks Hanna x have a beautiful christmas!!!!

Heart Felt said...

This is stunning, clever clever you! x

Marnie said...

Oh Hanna, you clever wee thing, you've done it again!Will attempt this dress after reason for expanding belly has arrived ;)Sourdough crumpets I can do now ; on my 'to do' list. Don't think I'll be seeing you before Xmas, so have a beautiful blessed one with your lovely family. XX

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the How-To! :)

Kerri said...

You are so clever! This dress is amazing!

Widge said...

That is incredible!! and gorgeous!
super clever you

Kayla Moncur said...

This is gorgeous! Found it on Pinterest and can't wait to try it myself. Thanks for sharing!

Freckles in April

Krystal Lee said...

such a sweet blog! love your dress x


verhexteswesen said...

That's looks great :-)
Thank's for this idea.

Greetings from Germany ;)

Cotton Print Club said...

Impressive and powerful suggestion by the author of this blog are really helpful to me.
The Embroidered Napkin Company

Safia Jilani said...


joye chill said...

At Bulk Linen Supply, our raw textiles are sourced from the leading mills of the world to bring you the highes