Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Every Table Needs a Cloth - Part 4 of Creating our Steampunk Group Promo Table

Greetings all!

This is the final installment in my four-part (long-in-completion) series on tricking out a Steampunk Group Promo table for our local group.  Today's post will be guest-written by Kelsey Silk, who saved me by offering to make the cloth for the table.

Kelsey's generous offer to make the cloth started when I posted, on Facebook, my realization that I needed to more for the Imaginatius Fantasticus Fair beyond just showing up in costume and looking smart.  I did put a shout out on Facebook, asking folks for suggestions.  The conversation between Kelsey and I started there:

Me:  Anyone have any suggestions? I have a 6' x 2/5' table. I need a cool steampunk-feel table cloth, at the least.

Kelsey:  What does a steampunk table cloth feel like? I'm free Sunday to help out.


Me:  I have NO IDEA what a steampunk table cloth feels like ... or looks like ... and I need to wait til payday til I can hit the bargain fabric room at Dressew. I might take you up on that -  I even just need help brainstorming!

Kelsey: If you want to do dressew, I am free tomorrow early-ish

Me: I'd love to but I really need to wait til payday, Tuesday, til I do any shopping. Boy, this running a steampunk group - she's-a-costing me money.

Me:  Well, I have a piece of shimmery gold silky satin, 120x60 inches. Not enough to reach the floor. But good enough for 2/3 or chair length.

This set the whole creation in motion;  and this is where I shall leave the rest of the post to Kelsey!  I'll be back at the very end to add some photos.  Take it away, Kels:

So when the question “what does a steam punk tablecloth feel like?” was raised, I considered several options – appliqué, iron on transfer, quilting, or an existing lace or other antique tablecloth.  Tracey had a piece of champagne coloured satin that was to be the basis of the cloth, but it needed to be extended.   I happen to love the look of a pleated ruffle, so I invested in a dark brown taffeta and some braided, sequined trim with a hint of red, think that the red was a nice festive touch for the Christmas craft fair.  I sat down and calculated the length of ruffle that I would need to go around three sides of the table cloth (thinking of leaving the back side un-ruffled, to allow us easy access to our stuff stashed below the table.  I could wrap my head around how to mitre a pleated ruffle around the corners of the table cloth, so I decided to make a fitted table skirt instead, which eliminated that issue.  At this point, I was aiming to make the cloth de-constructible, so that both fabrics could be re-used.  So I pleated the ruffle, and serged the top edge, so it was self contained.  Then I shaped the table cloth by taking large triangular darts at the four corners.
I had no table as large as the one the tablecloth was to fit, so I had to hope that my measurements were correct.  The ruffle went on, and the braided trim over the seam, and I could’ve stopped there. 

But I didn’t.  When I had first considered appliqué, I searched the internet for images of gears that I could use as patterns.  I came across a tutorial to create gears in a program called “Inkscape”.  Its an open source program similar to Adobe Illustrator.  So I downloaded it, and began playing around with the ‘gear’ tool.  At first I created several different sized and toothed gears, and played around with positioning, but the teeth did not interact, so I went back and created a graphic with several gears with teeth of the same proportions. 
The next step was to go through my fabric stash, and select different fabrics for the different gears.  I traced my pattern onto fusible interfacing, and fused it to the backs of fabrics, as it was easier to see the pattern on the white interfacing, and in an attempt to prevent fraying.  This was successful for the most part, with the exception of the reddish brown ribbed upholstery fabric.  It shrank when I attempted to fuse the interfacing.  So I printed the pattern on a piece of iron on transfer paper (which is what I should’ve done in the first place), ironed that on to a piece of white broad cloth, and used spray adhesive to affix it to the upholstery fabric.  It still frayed terribly, but it was such an interesting texture that I used it anyway.  Cutting out the gears was accomplished surprisingly quickly while watching my boyfriend play Skyrim.  Then began the really tedious part – hand stitching it to the table cloth.

The satin had an unfortunate tendency to run when I used straight pins on it, so I used double sided tape to attach the appliqué temporarily while I stitched.  Despite my best efforts, the two groupings are not quite symmetrical, but other then that I am quite happy with how it turned out. 


Thanks Kelsey!  I am delighted with this cloth, and can't believe the work that went into it.  I couldn't have conceived of or executed the interlocking gears.  Left to my own devices, I likely would have thrown fabric over the table as it was, hemmed if I was lucky.

Here it is in all it's displayed glory:
The final product - the finished table cloth - also showing the display, pamphlets and brochure cabinet!
Left side of the table cloth front
Right side of the table cloth front

1 comment:

  1. Wow, very nice. I'm about to make a cloth for my airship to use when vending, but it will be nowhere near so fancy. I love the gear applique.

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