I could not resist the Sewcialists’ mini challenge which featured a fun word-generator game that provided one word of inspiration for a quick weekend sew-up. The word I got was FUNKY.
Now, I am not a funky person. I grew up in the 1970s and 80s, so I associate “funky” with anything hippie-ish. Basically, if a garment looks like it should be for sale in a head shop or a health-food store, it’s funky.
Fortunately, I had the perfect material and the perfect pattern for the job!
I bought this Indian cotton block-print tablecloth in 1990. You know it’s from 1990 because one of the main colors is mauve, which made many hideous appearances in home furnishings around that time before dying a much-deserved death.
I shared an incredibly crummy one-bedroom apartment in Allston, MA with a friend. The bathroom stank of piss, mice ate any food we left out for 5 minutes, and the heat seldom worked. Oh yes…. good times…
Anyway, she got the bedroom, and I got the living room. To have some privacy, I bought this tablecloth at a flea market and hung it with thumbtacks across the door. Don’t believe me? Here’s a hole to prove it:
I have wanted to upcycle this into something useful for a long time now, so I thought I would use it to make a tunic top based on the “Tunic Dress with Lace” from “Happy Homemade Sew Chic.” If anything’s perfect for the Japanese Hippie Doomsday Cult look, it’s an upcycled tablecloth tunic top, right?
I have been working on some fitting issues anyway, since the last dress I made from this pattern. What did I have to lose, except a chilly Sunday afternoon?
For this tunic, I tried both a “hollow chest” adjustment and a “high round back” adjustment. I made both adjustments 1 centimeter. The back looks good but I think I could have done even more in the front.
If you like to upcycle, tops and dresses from these tablecloths are fun and easy to do. This tablecloth happened to have a pretty wide border; some are narrower. I used a basic V-neck pattern as a starting point. Here’s how I adapted it:
I cut the pieces strategically so that the V would land between the flowers on the top part of the tunic, and the large diamond motifs at the hem would land at either side of center front.
I arranged for the tunic to be long enough that the first band of blue printed design after the flower motif in the center would hit at my waist, so I could accentuate it. I zig-zagged elastic to the wrong side, with a length of elastic 3/4 as big around as my waist, for a bit of gathering.
For the V-neck, I stabilized the whole neckline with stay-stitching and then adhered a small rectangle of interfacing along the V for stability.
The band around the V-neck was cut from a corner of the tablecloth, with 1 cm seam allowances on either side. I placed the corner at the V, right side of the band to wrong side of the tunic and sewed a bit scant (for turn of cloth). I snipped into the V almost to the stitching line, then turned the neckband right side out, pressed under the seam allowance on the bottom of the band, and topstitched both sides.
To be honest, I should really have understitched the neckband before turning it. But this is a top from a tablecloth from 1990. Ain’t nobody understitching that shit.
I cut the sleeves so they would start with the flower motif, and the border print would nicely frame the sleeve hems. I am not crazy about the sleeves – I think I need a dark band at the hem to mirror the tunic hem. I just barely had enough fabric. I will see how it wears.
I kept the original tablecloth hem and just turned it 1 cm and topstitched.
Is this funky? Yes. Is it cute? I think so. It’s not my best work, but it was fun and I am sure I will wear it a lot this summer.