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Party cloths to make.

Food is the star of most meals, while tablecloths play background roles. But these homemade cloths deserve best supporting actor status because they help set the tone for a party. The elegant lace look-alike is perfect for a special occasion such as a garden wedding or anniversary party; the other two--casual and bright as flowers on a summer day--make colorful coverings at sun-splashed poolside barbecues. The spatter-painted cloth requires little time or artistic skill; the other two take a few hours each to make and require you to cut out shapes with a craft knife.

Sheer and lacy

This delicate cover measures 8 feet across--enough to cascade from a 4-foot-diameter table. You put it over a solid-color tablecloth (or make your own from a king-size sheet) so the color shows through the cutouts.

To make the cover, you'll need 5 yards of a sheer but sturdy nonwoven interfacing (sold in 45-inch widths for about $4 per yard), a sewing machine, sheets of thin cardboard, a fine-blade craft knife, and a pencil.

Place two 2 1/2-yard lengths of interfacing right sides together, then pin and stitch them together 1/4 inch from one long edge. Press seam flat. Fold the fabric square in half (right sides together) to make a rectangle, then in quarters, and finally into a triangle.

To make a stencil, draw a ribbed leaf shape onto a square of cardboard, then cut out most of the interior. Lay the stencil on the fabric triangle and trace leaf shapes onto fabric. Leave at least 4 inches between shapes; space shapes farther apart for a simpler look.

Cut out leaf shapes with a sharp craft knife, then unfold the cloth. This material is delicate; handle it carefully and clean with a sponge.

Stick-on flowers

Bright flowers embellish this purchased plastic cloth. Self-adhesive graphic film from an art supply store gives the designs a transparent look, but you can also use more readily available contact paper. Trace photos or drawings of flowers and leaves to make templates, then lay templates on film or contact paper and trace around with pencil. Cut out the shapes, then stick them onto the plastic tablecloth. Clean the cloth with a damp sponge, and store it flat.

Spatter-paint cloth

Jackson Pollock inspired this abstract expressionist cloth, which takes an hour to make and lets you choose colors to match your dishes or patio decor. We used a queen-size sheet and three colors of water-base fabric paint that can be heat-set once dry; two 16-ounce jars ($7 each) are more than enough to cover the sheet. (Wash a new sheet to remove sizing.)

Lay sheet outdoors on a flat surface that has been covered with a plastic drop cloth or at least two layers of newspaper. Flick fabric paint onto it, one color at a time, with a wide brush. Allow paint to dry (which can take overnight if weather is muggy or paint is applied too thickly). With a hot iron, press sheet, right side down (protect ironing board cover with an old cloth and follow directions on paint's label).
COPYRIGHT 1992 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Summer Entertaining; tablecloths
Author:Whiteley, Peter O.
Publication:Sunset
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Words:515
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