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How to add bias binding to a laminated cotton tablecloth

Posted by Maaike van Besien on

Laminated cotton tablecloth with bias binding
I love having a nice tablecloth on the table, but with small children in the house, I want something I can just wipe down after each meal, as I don't love washing and ironing that much. ;) 
Unfortunately, a lot of the laminated tablecloths around have pretty tacky prints, it almost gives them a bad rep, unfairly so! I must admit the Mexican oilcloth tablecloths are pretty cool, but they are shiny and can be sticky, while I wanted something mat and drapey.
I was so excited when Soft Cactus announced they were going to laminate some of their fabrics. This means that the base of the material is beautiful woven cotton, with a mat coating on top, and it comes in modern - slightly retro - prints! This laminated cotton material drapes beautifully around the table top.
Thanks to the plastic coating, this material doesn't fray and since it has a width of 140cm, it is wide enough for most tables. So you can just cut it to the length you want and put it on the table. Done!
It is also lightweight enough to take it for picnics, to cover the tables at the park.
I wanted my tablecloth to look a bit fancier so I decided to finish the edges with bias binding.
So today I am sharing how I did that, and how I did those corners. There are different ways of adding binding, but I found this method gives the best results and is the easiest to do when using a coated fabric. 
What do you need?
- Double folded bias binding, 25mm (1 inch) wide. Length required =  (length + width of fabric fabric) x 2, plus about 10cm extra.
- Matching thread
- Needle size 12 or 14 (e.g. for jeans)
1. My table is 2m long so I decided on a length of 2.5m so it would overhang about 25cm either side, and I kept the fabric width (1.4m) as is. So for my table cloth of 2.5 x 1.4m, I needed 7.8m of bias binding so I got 8m to be on the safe side.  The 25mm bias tape works really well as it is wide enough the cover the base of your sewing foot, therefore the foot does not touch the laminate, as this can stick to your sewing foot sometimes.
2. I always use the 2-step method for adding bias binding as it gives a much more precise result.
With the laminated (right side) facing up, open up the bias tape and place it right side facing down. Line up the edges, and position your needle so it will stitch in the fold. Fold the first 1cm or so over and place it under your sewing foot. Don't start this at a corner, but somewhere further towards the middle of a side!

How to sew bias binding on a laminated cotton tablecloth - MaaiDesign blog
3. Use a larger stitch length (I used 3mm) and stitch in the fold of the bias tape. I did not use any pins, I find it easier to just hold the tape in place as I sew. 
Pins will leave permanent holes in the laminate.
Your biggest challenge will be the fact that you are handling a very large piece of fabric that has a fair amount of weight to it, so use your right hand to hold the bias tape tight together with the fabric, and use your left hand to lift the bulk of the fabric up so its weight is not trying to pull the whole piece from  under the sewing foot.
4. When you get close to a corner, stop a few cm before the end and make a mark on the tape. The distance of this mark to the edge must be the same as the width you are stitching at (the seam allowance so to speak - see arrows). In this case, this was about 11mm. Then stitch all the way to this mark and back stitch. Remove the fabric from under the presser foot, cut the threads.

How to sew bias binding on a laminated cotton tablecloth - MaaiDesign blog

How to sew bias binding on a laminated cotton tablecloth - MaaiDesign blog
5. Fold the bias tape 45 degrees away from the corner, and then fold it back onto itself.

How to sew bias binding on a laminated cotton tablecloth - MaaiDesign blog

How to sew bias binding on a laminated cotton tablecloth - MaaiDesign blog
6. Now start stitching from the other edge of this corner, start at the end now and just sew across the bias tape and back into the crease.

How to sew bias binding on a laminated cotton tablecloth - MaaiDesign blog
7. Repeat for all other corners until you get back to where you started. Just overlap the bias tape for a cm or so, and cut.

How to sew bias binding on a laminated cotton tablecloth - MaaiDesign blog
8. Now pull the bias tape to the other side on each corner, see how this creates a nice fold pointing to the corners.

How to sew bias binding on a laminated cotton tablecloth - MaaiDesign blog
9. Now with the right (laminated) side facing down towards the feed dogs, topstitch the folded bias binding. Use the previous stitch line as your guide. Just fold the binding over so it just covers the first stitch line, and then stitch about 2mm from the edge. If you do this consistently, then you should get a nice straight line on the right side. It is easier to do this with the laminated side facing down, as the feed dogs will help pull the fabric through. 

How to sew bias binding on a laminated cotton tablecloth - MaaiDesign blog
How to sew bias binding on a laminated cotton tablecloth - MaaiDesign blog
10. And there you have it: one fancy looking tablecloth! 

How to sew bias binding on a laminated cotton tablecloth - MaaiDesign blog
And one last thing, be careful not to set hot items directly onto the plastic layer as this will melt. Also, make sure to wipe spills right away to avoid staining.
ps: They come in 5 cute prints, check them out here.

How to sew bias binding on a laminated cotton tablecloth - MaaiDesign blog

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