There are many uses for a tablecloth, such as holiday feasts, dinner parties, or everyday meals. As the cloth is designed to cover a table, these can be as intricate or basic as the owner desires. Some come in neutral colors while others come with detailed patterns and embroidery. No matter what, tablecloths can be hard to find if you have a specific table. In these cases, it’s best to make your own. However, given how there are certain factors to consider, like drop length and table shape, this can pose a problem to anyone without the right knowledge. Fortunately, our guide to sewing your own tablecloth will help create your ideal tablecloth to fit over your square, oval, or round table for every occasion.
What You’ll Need
Before starting this project, you’ll need a few necessary supplies. This includes measuring tape, scissors, pins, sewing machine, fabric, matching thread, an iron, and an ironing board. These items are important for on-the-spot alterations and hemming to create a seamless, intricate tablecloth.
Choose a Fabric
When you have the necessary materials together, first consider the type of fabric you’ll use. There are many options to choose from, but the most common fabrics for tablecloths are cotton, polyester, oilcloth, and linen. Since food and beverages often dirty the tablecloth, it’s essential you use a washable fabric. Not to mention, make sure the design or style meets your visual expectations. A mid-weight fabric with casual look and washable features is perfect.
Measure the Table
Then, measure the top of your table with the measuring tape. It might help to draw a diagram when finding these measurements. Each table is different and offers its own measurements, but there are three main shapes to guide you: square, oval, and round. For square or rectangular tables, measure the table’s length and width. When measuring oval tables, measure from the longest side across the center to the other longest side. Finally, for round tables, measure from one side to another, going across the center.
Decide Drop Length and Hem Type
Drop length is the amount of fabric that hangs, or “drops,” from the tablecloth. Like with the type of table, there are three types of drop length to consider. The first is short which falls between eight to twelve inches. It’s considered informal and ideal for everyday eating. Medium length tablecloths fall between sixteen and twenty-four inches and are considered semi-formal. The last and most formal look are floor-length tablecloths, which fall between twenty-eight and twenty-nine inches. These tend to be mainly decorative. Even with these guidelines, you can also create a custom-length drop length based on how far you want the tablecloth to hang off the table’s edge. If using a hem, remember this adds an inch of fabric to each side. Each hem can be wider or narrower to fit your preferences.
Determine How Much Fabric You Need
Once you’ve determined how much drop length and gem you want, calculate the amount of fabric you need. Based on your table’s length and added drops and hems for each side, divide that number by thirty-six inches to result in how many yards of fabric you need. Tables smaller than forty-four inches are fine with the fabric yardage you just calculated. However, tables with widths greater than forty-four inches need double the amount of yardage to make the appropriately sized tablecloth. If you consider buying a wide quilt backing fabric, you only need the amount of yardage based on the length of the table. This also creates a seamless length on the tablecloth.
Sew Fabric Panels Together
This step is optional for those tablecloths where the fabric doesn’t cover the width of the table. To do so, cut two pieces of the longest length of two fabrics, including drops and hems. Sew these pieces together with a quarter-inch seam allowance. Doing so should create a big fabric piece to fit over the table, drop length, and hem.
Cut the Fabric
When you’re ready to cut the fabric, remember to do so based on your calculations and shape of the table. For square or rectangular tables, cut the length and width of the fabric, including drops and hems. For oval tables, use the same cutting instructions as square tables, but also trace the outline of a dinner plate at each corner of the table. Cut around these corners. When cutting fabric for round tables, fold the fabric in half and mark the center of the fold. Using your measuring tape, create a semicircle from that mark and cut the fabric.
Hem and Finish the Tablecloth
Now’s the time to finish off your tablecloth with a hem. This creates a nice finished border. When doing so, you primarily only need a basic hem. To create a basic hem, fold the fabric edges a half-inch under and press with the iron. Fold again with a half-inch to hide the fabric’s edge. Once done, press and pin the hem. Afterwards, use matching thread and a quarter-inch seam allowance to sew the hem down. Don’t forget to remove the pins during this process. Then, press the tablecloth with the iron and put it on the table. You now have a beautifully sewn tablecloth to use for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or eating at any time of the day.
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