how to make a tablecloth

How to Make a Tablecloth: Your Ultimate Guide

Sewing a tablecloth is a simple way to tie your dining room together without spending too much money. You get the exact design and size you want compared to buying one from the store.

Discover how to make a tablecloth with this simple tutorial. You can create one for everyday use and another for a formal affair! 

1. Prepare the Materials

Making a tablecloth is on the beginner spectrum of sewing projects. Here are the materials and supplies you will need:

  • Sewing machine.
  • Iron and ironing board.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Scissors.
  • Pins.
  • The fabric of your choice.
  • Matching thread.

2. Choose Your Fabric

You can choose any fabric for your tablecloth, but a machine-washable material is practical. Tablecloths have a high chance of encountering food and drink spillages, especially if you have kids around.

Cotton is machine-washable and appropriate for beginners. However, they tend to wrinkle and bleed in the water. Linen and lace are other absorbent options that can resist stains. 

Consider the fabric width too. Most fabrics come in different sizes, so choose one wide enough for a tablecloth. Sheeting fabrics and decorator fabrics are available at a wider dimension of 60 inches. Here are other fabric choices for you:

  • Polyester.
  • Vinyl. 
  • Satin.
  • Burlap.
  • Damask.

The colors and patterns are totally up to you and your tastes. Decide whether you want a pop of color in your room or a plain, white tablecloth for fine dining. 

3. Measure the Table

Get your measuring tape and start taking measurements of your table. The table’s dimensions will determine how much fabric yardage you will need. If your furniture is too big, you’ll need to combine two or more panels for an adequate overhang. 

For square and rectangular tables, measure the length and width. If you have an oval table, measure from the longest to the other longest side of your table. 

If it’s round, measure the diameter or the distance from edge to edge. Ensure that your tape measure passes through the circle’s radius or center. 

4. Choose the Drop Length

A good tablecloth is one where the measurement of the overhang is equal on all edges of the table. It should be just long enough to hang below the seats. This overhang measurement is known as the drop length. 

There are three types of drop length:

  • Short drop length measures 8 to 12 inches for informal and everyday use. 
  • Mid-length drop measures 16 to 24 inches.
  • Floor-length drop measures 28 to 29 inches for fine dining.

This tutorial uses an 8-inch drop length for a simple design. You may also customize the drop length as long as it’s not too close to the seat.

5. Decide on the Hem

Once you know the drop length of your tablecloth, decide how much fabric you need for the hem. The measurement depends on the size and shape of your table. But the safest choice is to add 1 inch of fabric on all sides. 

Hemming your tablecloth adds a more attractive finish to the fabric. It also prevents the material from getting loose threads and drooping on the floor. 

6. Calculate the Fabric Yardage

For some, calculating the fabric yardage is the trickiest part of learning how to make a tablecloth. Add the drop and hem’s lengths on both sides of your table. Since fabric industries measure textiles in yards, convert your measurements by dividing the numbers by 36 inches. 

There’s no need to add more fabric yardage for the table’s width if it’s no bigger than 44 inches. However, you need to double the yardage if it’s bigger than 44 inches. 

An optional tip is to get a wide quilt backing fabric with the same yardage amount as the final length. These fabrics usually measure 108 inches wide. 

Some fabrics are much smaller than your desired measurement, requiring you to sew them together. Do not add a seam to the center of the tablecloth because it will look unsightly. So it’s best to piece the fabrics on the side panel.

To sew the fabric panels, cut the longest fabric with the hem and drop. Cut another one of the same sizes and stitch them with a ¼-inch seam allowance. Others may piece together three panels. They include the center panel for the tabletop and two side panels. 

If you’re combing printed fabric pieces, double the yardage requirement so you can sew the pattern repeat. 

7. Cut the Fabric

There are different methods for cutting your huge fabric piece, and they all depend on the table’s shape.

For square and rectangle tables, cut the width and length you need. Don’t forget to include the drop and hem length.

Oval table owners can follow the exact instructions for the square table guidelines. Make sure the fabric has curved edges by using dinner plates on every corner.  

If your table is circular, fold the cloth into two and mark the fold’s middle. Then, get a flexible string or tape to create a semicircle template and cut.

8. Hem the Tablecloth

The last step is to make a hem for your tablecloth. The basic method is to fold the edges ½ inches press with an iron and pin. Pins will help you secure the fold while sewing. Use a thread with a matching color.

But there are different types of hems. The first and easiest one is the double fold hem, where you press the raw edges over twice. 

Circular hems are essential for round tablecloths. You can do this by doing a straight stitch from the raw edge. These stitches will guide you when pressing the hem up once as they create a perforated edge. Press it over again and sew.

You can hand-sew the hem, although it might take a while. Use a running stitch to make the hems because it is the easiest. It’s as simple as sewing in an up and down motion. However, it’s not as tight as other stitches, so a strong thread is necessary. 

Try a slip stitch for an invisible and near hem. It’s more time-consuming, but the outcome is an invisible hem on the outside. 

9. Add Decorations

Once you know how to make a tablecloth, adding embroidery letters and flowers might intrigue you. You can also add lace, ricrac, and other embellishments on the edge of the overhang. These trims are easy to stitch around the borders.

10. Press the Tablecloth

Your tablecloth is almost ready. But it might be wrinkled and squashed from the sewing. Press it one last time to create a beautiful drape on your table. 

How to Make a Tablecloth: Create a Tablecloth You’ll Love

Learning how to make a tablecloth makes hosting dinner parties more exciting. Perfecting it might take time, but the best time to start practicing is now! They’re also one of the easiest projects you can sew as a beginner.

Do you have other tips and ideas for sewing a tablecloth? Leave them in the comments below. And share this post if you enjoyed reading it.

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