Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Saving time and money

After we threw away the cheap, plastic tablecloths I had bought at the dollar store for our family Christmas party, I thought: Why not make some?
Instead of wasting $5-$6 every year for thin, unimpressive tablecloths, I could construct some reusable, colorful cloths.
After all, I have a new sewing machine I'm still breaking in.
I figured I could buy some fabric in Christmas patterns and colors at the after-season sales and come out ahead.
So the journey began.
Christmas cloths
I looked for a pattern. (I should have kept one of the dollar cloths to provide one but too late, they were already at the bottom of the church's dumpster.)
I settled for a well-worn pattern bought about 25 years ago that was close to what I needed. It was all fluffy and frothy with a huge ruffle all around.
I would leave off the mighty ruffle and just go for a simple 84-inch round.
I started figuring out how much yardage that might be.
The pattern back suggested 4 1/2 yards each.
That seemed like a lot so I started working it out on my cutting board, tape measure in hand.
It came out to...let's see about 4 1/2 yards each.
I headed to the fabric store and bought several bolts (at least it felt like that) of red and green polished cotton material.
I came home and cut out six tablecloths.
I sewed the side pieces to the middles. I ironed the seams flat.
Then I decided to trim the edges. It would take 6 1/2 yards each for lace or dangly pompoms or braid. (At $3-$5 a yard, that would come to a painful amount.)
Then I remembered my machine came with 60 decorative stitches.
So now I'm going round and round, day after day, folding, ironing and stitching the hems in little flowers, diamonds and scallops.
I've bought six spools of thread and four more bobbins so I don't have to keep running out.
I've bought a storage bin for the finished product.
So far, let's see, I've spent about $80 for fabric, $12 for thread, and $6 for a storage bin.
The tablecloths will be pretty and I'm not sorry but how many years will it take me to come out ahead?

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