A tablecloth reborn

This shirt began life as a beautiful linen tablecloth belonging to my mother’s stepmother’s grandmother (my step-great-great-grandmother?). After many years the stains and tears were too large and numerous to be covered with a strategically placed platter, but it was too special to just throw out. So it became this top.

I designed the top around the lace of the tablecloth, keeping as much intact as possible. There were two sections of lace without major rips or stains, just enough to make the front and back of a shirt. I used a sturdier fabric for the sleeves since they have to hold up when I move my arms and added tablecloth-edge cuffs. This sturdier fabric was a very light weight linen – pretty much anything is sturdier than an old tablecloth.

Since it was a rectangular tablecloth, the lace pattern didn’t point directly at the corner. I chose to line up my pattern with the lace rather than the hem, which leaves the hem higher on one side than the other. I added a little piece of lace from another part of the tablecloth to the edge to even things up a bit. This left it longer on one side than the other, but at least the seams line up.

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41 Responses to A tablecloth reborn

  1. Jenniah says:

    That shirt is amazingly lovely! I love the idea of reusing vintage cloth and the cut of it is so pretty.

  2. Tina S says:

    What a wonderful, sentimental, and inventive way to make a beautiful garment from something old and worn. It is so pretty.

  3. Sarah says:

    I love the top, and the photo of the cow nudging the milkmaid is adorable!!!! (I refrained from using “udderly”) :)

  4. Margaret says:

    This is fantastic. I absolutely love it!

  5. Marianne says:

    Just so absolutely stunning! You model it beautifully…now I need to find a fine old tablecloth to play with. I really enjoy the fact that you have teamed your new top with denim jeans, i just adore the combination…old with new, perfect!

  6. Krust says:

    This came out amazing. It’s so gorgeous! and I Love the sentiment attached to it, is so sweet.

  7. Bonnie says:

    Wow! That’s stunning. Congratulations on such a beautiful project! I’m so glad you were able to repurpose something so special.

  8. Ashley says:

    Oh my goodness – that’s one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever seen. I’m floored.

  9. Emily says:

    This top is amazing, you are very talented and have inspired me.

  10. cal says:

    oh my…. this is incredible! i love making things out of antique textiles too, but this takes my breath away! well done.

  11. natalia says:

    This is beautiful. I have just discovered your blog, your work is amazing. Keep it up x

  12. Meg Susce says:

    Awesome idea! I have some of my mother’s and grandmother’s tablecloths I can’t bear to part with, but really have no use for because I’m not serving a family of 10. Now, off to find a pattern. :)

  13. Quinzel says:

    This is absolutely breathtaking. This looks like something I would pay hundreds of dollars for in a couture shop. It’s sentimental and homemade which makes it infinitely better. You are truly a goddess of fabric and design. :D

  14. Debra says:

    Wow, this is beautiful! Love the details of the lace. Just lovely!

  15. Jennifer says:

    All I can add to these comments is: “Brilliant”! You are so creative. Job well done.

  16. Actually one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in a while, well done!

  17. Fabulous! We love up-cycling and this is such a great example of it! Well done!!!

  18. gorgeous! sharing it on my blog :)

  19. Verity says:

    Wow, that looks gorgeous. I absolutely love the back of it.

  20. Love this! Gave it a thumbs-up on StumbleUpon too.

  21. Monika says:

    Beautiful, well done!

  22. Lisa B says:

    I love everything about this lovely shirt! The linen… the lace… the length… the sleeves! Beautiful job! May I ask if you used a pattern for this or if you made up your own?

  23. Pvc fabric says:

    So pretty..wonder where I can find a vintage tablecloth.

  24. Becky says:

    So where do I find the pattern? I have a few linen table cloths that are just beautiful and belonged to my husbands Great Aunt. I love the shirt. It is so me too. Thank you for any responses.

    • naomi says:

      You could use any blouse pattern, although I think one that closes on the side is best so you don’t disrupt the lace.

  25. Claire says:

    that is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen!

  26. Debbie says:

    Do you have the pattern for this shirt ? I have so many vintage table clothes that i would love to do this with.

  27. Geraldine says:

    This is beautiful. The uneven edge adds to its charm. Beautiful work.

  28. Karolyne says:

    I will be looking at old tablecloths in a different way now. Thanks for the great idea.

  29. Jenny Mach says:

    OMG! I just love this so much. If I send you a table cloth, can you make me one????

  30. debbie says:

    I would love to know what pattern was used

    • naomi says:

      I made up the pattern, but what really matters in this shirt is the fabric. If you wanted to make something like it, you could use almost any blouse pattern, although one with a side closure would be best so you don’t have buttons disrupting the lace.

  31. manuela says:


  32. Caroline says:

    So, so beautiful!!

  33. Stefanie says:

    This is fantastically beautiful. The pattern and the fabric vibe so harmoniously together! Perfect, really!

  34. Judy says:

    A lovely idea– I’m going to try this. Flea markets are a great source for vintage tablecloths.

  35. Would be nice to see pic of shirt alone. The model doesn’t stand so can see it specifically if thinking to try it on own piece

  36. Would be good to see shirt alone. Model doesn’t stand so can view shirt well enough to try and do same.

  37. Spica says:

    wow, seriously, this is a beautiful shirt you made…and yes, i know this was made years ago, but i am looking for ideas for my tablecloth and came across this…so happy i did..you have given me inspiration and i will make my shirt ..thanks, you are a very talented woman

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