Sunday, April 25, 2010

Easter Tablecloth gets a second chance!

Once upon a time, a year or so ago, a lonely little vinyl tablecloth was snatched up during an after-Easter clearance sale.  It did it's best to do its duty and all that, but tablecloths are just not suited for families with little hands that can't leave it on the table, or refrain from attacking it with a fork at every meal.
After a good month of dedicated service the little tablecloth, worn just slightly, was folded up and shoved in a closet, awaiting a time when one day it could actually be useful.  
Little tablecloth, today is your day! 
One of my biggest frustations as a mother of two toddlers (holy cow, when did that happen?!) is keeping clothes clean.  I'm no Kate Gosselin, freaking out over the littlest speck of something on a shirt, but I really hate seeing my kids get food/dirt/worse-things-that-I-won't-talk-about all over their clothes.  Perhaps if I had the amazing laundry finesse that my mother-in-law does (she can get a stain out of ANYTHING!  Just don't let her near anything with her bottle of bleach) I could be more relaxed.

Or, I could get crafty and create a waterproof cover-up.

Like this one.

"Thumbs up for popsicles right before dinner, Elmo sunglasses that are almost too small, and an awesome mom who doesn't care about either!"  (Obviously, since she's just barely two, she didn't say all that, but I'm sure she was thinking it!)

(the only back view I could get)

I threw this together while my daughter was sleeping, so I just grabbed a t-shirt of hers to get an idea for the sizing.  I wish I'd made it bigger through the chest so I could have velcro-ed the back, but then again she has a tendency to suddenly "pull a Hulk" when she gets mad, so maybe a tie is the best.  I'm going to add another one at the top too.

I used a leather needle on my sewing machine because I wasn't sure how a normal needle would handle it, and my machine has gotten a lot of abuse lately so I'm trying to baby it.  Kind of.  Also, do you notice how in the back view half the ruffle has horizontal stripes and half has verticle?  That's because the ruffle was a last-minute addition...completely unnecessary but oh-so-girly.  I scrounged to get enough pieces for it that had the finished edge of the tablecloth, so I wouldn't feel the need to hem it (because it doesn't really need a hem, its not going to unravel, but hems look nicer).

I originally thought of making this hit my little munchkin at mid-thigh or so, but I'm glad I went with a longer length.  Because messes rarely confine themselves to the upper half of her body.

Success!  Look at all that popsicle stickyness, that grape stain-yness, all on the easily-cleaned surface of our little cover-up!  (Okay, not all, her hands and face were pretty messy, but hey!  Her clothes are clean!  And that's what the garden hose is for anyways, right?)  All you have to do is take a damp cloth and wipe it off.  Or if you get lazy (like me) and let it sit a bit before cleaning...alright, let it dry completely before you remember it needs cleaned, you may have to use a little elbow grease, and perhaps some running water and then let it hang dry.  Hmmm, I think this little monster is begging for me to make him one too!

Now, lest you think it took a whole tablecloth to make one little cover-up, let me show you what I first started doing with that little striped beauty.
This is our $15 garage sale high chair.  It was in fair condition when we bought it, and it was freestanding so we wouldn't have two little kids grabbing at everything at our table.  The previous owners even cleaned it before they sold it!  After just a few uses, though, the cover started showing some real wear and tear.  The worst part was the top split from the bottom, leading to this:
Mmmm, leftovers!!!!
We've used it for almost 6 months like this now, and it finally hit me that I could made a new cover!  I (briefly) considered making a cloth one that I could just throw in the wash machine, but lets be real.  I know I would wash it once a month maybe.  And my kids are too messy of eaters to wait that long between washings.

Enter lonely little tablecloth...easy to wipe off, inexpensive so if I messed up the dimensions I wouldn't be in the hole a ton of money (I briefly considered buying laminate fabric, or the vinyl stuff you put on fabric to make it laminated, but it would have cost about as much/maybe more than we paid for the high chair to start with).  Again, I used the leather needle and it sewed really well, I was mildly concerned that puncturing little tiny holes in it with a needle might lead to ripping but its holding up well.
My favorite part of the new cover is the fact that its two pieces on purpose.  I figured if I made it one piece it would probably just tear again.  So there are little elastic loops on the bottom of the top piece and the top of the bottom piece and they go nicely through a slot and over a hook that happen to be right there.  It makes me wonder if maybe thats how the cover was supposed to be to start with.  Hmmm.
I love looking in my crowded little kitchen/dining room now and seeing this lovely bit of thriftyness.  So far, I can only see one problem with this delightful project:
The current occupant of the high chair is, in fact, a boy.  All that pink in the stripes makes this a rather girly high chair cover.  Currently this little man doesn't give a hoot.  And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that when Baby #3 makes its appearance in August we'll have a reason to keep the pink cover!

So, there you have it.  Two projects, less than $3 (if you include the cost of the elastic and ribbon I already had on hand; the tablecloth was closer to $2 when I bought it) and two satisfied little customers.

My work here is done. 

For now.


  1. Very clever!!! I think every kid needs one of these!!!

    Thanks for linking up!

  2. Great job on the recovering! It's fun to see all the great things you've made for your children. Best wishes with #3. :)