Double Sided Picnic Table Cloth

Our family goes camping a lot.  I’ve finally wised up and said it is time for us to invest in a table cloth that is durable and going to withstand a lot of camping trips.  We’ve had picnic table cloths before.  You know the kind I’m talking about.  The traditional checkered table cloth that is thin, has very little backing to it and it inevitably rips.  Then you have to spend more money to get a new one.  So, here is what I came up with.  Why not have a durable table cloth that is going to withstand A LOT of use and is really cute.  This is my modern twist on the old checkered picnic table cloth.

Here is where I got my inspiration for the table cloth.  I had made a floor mat for my youngest daughter when she was just a baby to protect the floor and carpet under her high chair. If anything would spill on it, it was so easy to wipe up with a soapy sponge. I wanted the mat to be double sided so I could flip it over if I got tired of looking at the pattern.  It’s always nice to be able to mix things up.  I decided that since the floor mat was so successful (and still is to this day), I would make the table cloth the same way.

Here’s what you will need:

  • 2 1/2 yards of 2 coordinating types of oil cloth
  • 10 yards nylon strap in a coordinating color (The one I used was an inch thick.  I was probably a yard over too, but with this kinda of project I don’t like to cut things too short.)
  • Coordinating thread to match the nylon strap.

First, you will need to lay the two pieces of oil cloth with the wrong sides facing.  The pattern will show on the top and the bottom of the table cloth.  Line up the oil cloth fabric.

Fold together to get several layers.

 Square the fabric by trimming the end edges.

Take the nylon strap and fold it in half.  This strap is going to work just like bias tape.  Next, you can pin the nylon strap to the oil cloth.   The other option is to run a basting stitch along the entire edge of the nylon stap and temporarily sew it onto the table cloth.  I opted for the later because I didn’t want to take the chance of having the nylon strap slip while I was sewing.  If you make a mistake and don’t sew onto the nylon strap the oil cloth is not forgiving.  It will leave needle marks of where you attempted to sew.  Therefore,  not wanting to take any chance I ran the basting stitch along the entire length of the table cloth.  This does take some time, but it is all very much worth it.

Start on one of the short sides of the table cloth.   You want the edge to be finished so start about roughly 6″ to 7″ down the side.   Do not start on the corner.  This will not make for a nice clean corner and it will fray.

Here’s what you will want to do for the corners.   Allow for additional length in your strap. Enough  so you will be able to manipulate and bring it around the edge of the oil cloth.    

Pinch the corners and flatten them.

Next, machine sew the nylon strap all the way around the edges the table cloth.  Help feed the oil cloth with both hands while you sew.  I found it helpful to have the part of the table cloth I was not sewing at the same height.  Be sure to take it slow at the corners because of the extra bulk.

To finish the table cloth, leave a little extra length of the nylon and fold it under.  By doing it this way, you will not have any raw edges exposed.

When you are finished machine sewing, remove the basting stitch.  This will also take some time, but like I said before, I found it was well worth it because while I was sewing the strap did not slip.

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  1. says

    Wow, only just come across this. Great idea!

    We add binding to our tablecloths and we use a machine. We round the corners of the oilcloth to give it a neat finish, and also to help speed up the process as you do not need to stop at the corners.

  2. says

    This tablecloth is so cute! We love how it is 2 sided! Thanks for being a part of our “Strut Your Stuff Saturday.” Hope to see you again real soon!! -The Sisters

  3. says

    OOOOHH! I love this! We need one just like that. Too bad I don’t have enough time this week to make one. We are going camping this weekend. But this would be perfect for my family who are very rough with the camping gear!

  4. says

    Cute tablecloth and reversible, too! Very nice tutorial — totally worth the work because this will last! I would love it if you would consider linking to Busy Monday at A Pinch of Joy, a Sunday through Thursday link party for ideas that make life easier, better and more fun!


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