Saturday, February 9, 2008

A Clever Cloth for Card Playing

Level: Moderate

After a few years most card tables have been used for many things and many projects other than playing cards. A lot of times, a card table is something you loan to a neighbor or take to a church party. And through this hard use and many trips in and out of the car, a card table can look very worn and ragged.

Sometimes the legs of your table will still be sturdy but the table top is unsightly. If you are tired of apologizing for the condition of your card table and always trying to find just the right cover to hide the table top, then you should consider buying some fabric and making a practical and classy cover. Let me show you how.

The fabric I've used is very appropriate for a card-playing surface because of its soft texture. Using a theme fabric to the outside edge, bordering the square, is a decorative touch that makes it fun to use with guests. Making coasters to match is an additional bonus so that your beverage doesn't dampen the card-playing surface.


1 1/4 yds. Robe velour
3/4 yd. card theme fabric
3/4 yd. binding fabric
thread to match


1. Measure the tabletop and cut your plain fabric into a large square - enough to amply cover the top of your table. Newer card tables are approximately 34 in. square. Older tables are smaller. I started with a 40-in. square of red robe velour fabric.

2. Cut or tear 5 strips of theme fabric - 5 in. by the width of the fabric. This will be used as a border for the center square.

3. Sew a 5-in. strip to one side of the velour fabric and then to the opposite side of the square. The other two sides of the square will need a longer strip of this border piece. Seam the three strips that remain together along the 5-in. edge to create a strip to use on the remaining two sides of the square. Sew these to the two opposite sides of the square. Don't miter the corners. Instead, cover the raw edges of both the center square and border that you've already added.

4. Measure the cloth now that you have added the borders and cut a square for the backing. If you're using 45-in. wide fabric, you may need to piece the backing to get a large enough square.

5. The raw edges of this cloth can be finished in two different ways. With right sides together sew around all four sides of the square leaving an 8-in. opening to turn the right sides out. The other choice is to bind the raw edges with a narrow binding as you would with a quilt binding. Step #6 describes the binding technique.

6. Cut or tear 3-in. strips of fabric from selvage to selvage. Seam these strips together to make enough double-folded binding to go around the outside of the square.

7. Press this long strip in half to create a 1 1/2-in. binding and sew the raw edges of this long strip to the raw edges of the table square. At the corners, fold the edge back to create a miter before stitching the next long edge.

8. Sew around all four edges and press the folded edge of the binding to the backside of the cloth and baste in place.

9. Starting from the right side of the cloth, stitch-in-the-ditch to catch the edge of the binding that you basted.

10. Carefully fold the excess fabric at the end of the strip to neatly finish the binding.

11. From the scraps of the theme fabric cut 4 squares to use as coasters.

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