Hot! The “Sad 90’s sweater meets a tablecloth” outfit

Sad little sweater before : (

Fabric: 90’s sweater from Salvation Army, table cloth from personal collection and some felt and suede scraps
Pattern: Self-drafted
Year: Contemporary but with a distinct 50’s influence
Notions: Zipper, 1 yard blue grosgrain ribbon and 4 hooks n’ eyes
Time to complete: 3 1/2 hours
First worn: February 2012
Wear again? Yes!

Total Cost: ~$7

I was a little stumped by the “re-do” category – not because I didn’t know WHAT to do (we’ve all seen Marissa’s New Dress A Day blog, right?) but what to use. I don’t have very many clothes, I spent three years in the same outfit five days a week and then my husband was diagnosed with cancer so I was lucky to find a t-shirt and jeans to put on every day and didn’t really care what I wore. When I finally went back to work I bought enough to get by but since what I personally wear fits into a closet the size of a large suitcase I had nothing to re-do. One quick trip to Salvation Army and Goodwill solved that little problem : )

I wanted turquoise with beads if possible and this is what I found. I took it almost completely apart; took out the sleeves, opened up the left side, cut off the neck band and laid the whole thing out flat.

Flat sweater (sorry about the lighting!)

I laid a sweater pattern on this, you can just see the pins in the upper left corner marking a new shoulder and half an arm hole. Once I knew I had enough square inches in all the right places I cut it out. The former armhole became the center back and the remaining side seam became the center back seam. Then I sewed the new shoulder seams, took in and reattached the sleeves and attached the neck trim now sliced in half. To give the new front some stability I used grosgrain ribbon hand stitched down on the inside.

Once the sweater was done I pulled out the tablecloth, which was round to begin with. It was HUGE, which is good, so all I had to do was cut the center out for the waist, add a zipper and hem it. Here is a before of the tablecloth:

Tablecloth before...

And here is the tablecloth in action:

The tablecloth in action: )

Basic beige cotton/rayon, goes well with the dishes : ) This is one of the tablesettings from my blog, and I just wanted everyone to see it BEFORE. The dishes are by Red Wing and called Bobwhite, after the quail. For many years I had a yearly party that was 50’s themed, everyone wore turquoise and/or brown and we had fabulous food made using vintage recipes served on vintage dishes. For this years party I’m using this now former tablecloth as part of my outfit.

My Better Homes & Gardens pose : )

Thankfully there was enough fabric that when I cut off part of the hem I could use that fabric for a waistband. I then pulled out a scrap of ultra suede and cut out the shape of the quail that is on the dinner plate and put it on the skirt instead of a poodle. A few scraps of turquoise felt and some copper t-shirt paint and I had myself a quail : )

Mama quail with a baby : )

Because I have now made my skirt out of my tablecloth, I set another table:

Would you like a cuppa?

I am infinitely pleased with my outfit! The petticoat that I made for my red dress has come in quite handy, as I knew it would. It *almost* makes up for the pesky time I had of things that week : )

Join me : )

I’m now looking at my tablecloth collection in a whole new way…



Loran is a Bay Area designer, stitcher and suburban farm girl. Having done theater for years she's finally taking on her most demanding client (herself!) and fashioning a wardrobe from her huge stock of vintage patterns and fabrics, all while writing her daily tablesetting blog. Let's see if she can keep up with both : )


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  1. Oh, how fantastic! I love both the sweater and the skirt – and especially the quail. And massive kudos on getting your petticoat right – its amazing how much of a difference it makes if it is too full or not full enough. (Yes, I know thats a weird thing to notice, but I do, and it really bugs me!)

    And your tableware is gorgeous!

  2. Now that’s what I’m talking about!! From thrifted sweater and tablecloth to STELLAR 50’s party outfit. Gorgeous work, Loran. I’ve always been on the fence about tablecloth skirts, but yours has changed my mind. My dining room table is round, so I’m fully stocked with circle skirt fabric.

  3. That is a seriously clever sweater trick.

  4. Loran, you are a flipping genius! Absolute flipping genius. That’s twice in two weeks I’ve felt like giving up on the week’s challenge and then I’ve seen the glory that you’ve created and I’ve felt the need to sew on. THANK YOU! (Genius, I say).

  5. Your sweater refashion is genius. I’ll have to keep it in mind when I see a boring sweater in the thrift store. Adorable!

  6. Love your style, love your house, love everything about this post!

  7. Love this outfit and the photo shoot too!

  8. Oh how fun this party will be this year. Now if I can only squeeze back into the cute dress and sweeter I got for this party. But don’t go to crazy with those table clothes! We all know they have plenty of life as what they were originally meant for or you won’t have your blog. Amazing work on the sweater you will have to explain it in person.

  9. Well hello Snowflake! – I love that sweater – it’s brilliant! Love your house too. Lets all make over a piece of knitwear I say, and bring back using home furnishing textiles into our wardrobes too!

  10. Loran, wow I am blown away with how amazing this outfit is. I love the colo combo and the table setting is just beautiful. What a great way to send of Friday. I’m deFinately inspired by how you repurposed a sweater. I love my petticoat, I was inspired by yours so the list keeps growing, I got to try a remade sweater & circle skirt. Happy sewing and thank you for sharing.

  11. That’s a stunning outfit! I’m really impressed with what you did with that sweater – I never would have thought of switching the side seams around to the front and back. I’ll be looking at those long jerseys in op shops in a whole new way now! :-)

  12. I love, love love that sweater! so cool! great work!

  13. That is simply the cleverest thing I have ever seen. You can really do that with a sweater? Well, yes you certainly can, as you have demonstrated so creatively. I can’t wait to try something like that. Very inspirational!

  14. Your outfit and house are so lovely and I think you are quite beautiful yourself and should dress up like this everyday! So darn clever what your made out of these two ordinary items. I would have never come up with that.

  15. Oh Loran, you are amazing. The most perfect refashion. Very inspirational indeed.

  16. Wow, Loran, you are amazing. This is a very creative outfit. I can’t believe you took that sweater and made it into the new sweater. A tablecloth as a skirt, interesting…. Great job Loran.

  17. Angie – not just a sweater, but a sweeter! how cool! Loran, I L-O-V-E this outfit!!!! SO cute on you, you wasp-waisted vixen.

  18. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! I LOVE it! Can I come to one of your tea parties? They sound like so much fun!!

  19. Loran, you’ll soon need a closet bigger than a suitcase for the beautiful clothes you’re making! Wish I could join you for a cuppa; I have the perfect turquoise and brown outfit. I had no idea you could do that with a sweater.

  20. this is absolutely amazing.. i’m in love with your whole outfit, and your room.. and i wanna steal your sweater

  21. This is fantastic! Turning the jumper into a cardigan was very clever and having the snowflake in the centre ingenious. The circle skirt/dress looks lovely on you and the quail detail is perfect. An outfit that matches your tea set is surely required for a proper ’50’s housewife!

  22. Brilliant! I love it all, sweater, skirt, and table setting. I do wish I could join you for a cuppa, it looks delightful…well done you!

  23. Great outfit and many thanks for showing how you did the jumper to cardigan. Such a clever idea.

  24. Totally brilliant!