How to Make Different Tablecloths

Shopping for items you like for your home décor can be fun and enjoyable. Often, you find that perfect little trinket, those ideal curtains, or whatever it is that fits right in with your preferences. But, it can also be costly to get that perfect look, and it can lead to frustration when you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for. This is why people learn how to make different tablecloths.

This is especially true when you come close to the right design or color but find the item just doesn’t resonate with you exactly as you’d prefer. When it comes to tablecloths, you may also find it difficult to get the exact size and fit you need for your dining table.

Instead of spinning your wheels chasing down the right shape, design, and size of the tablecloth, you could choose to make your own. It doesn’t matter if you’re crafty or not. A tablecloth is a fairly simple thing to cut and sew, especially if you have instructions to follow and a few tips to guide you along the way.

The important thing is that you like the end product, and since you can choose your own material and the design on it, you can guarantee that it looks exactly like you want it in the end.

So, what kind of tablecloth are you looking for? There are different types of tablecloths to choose from. If you’re unsure of what you want, take a look at the different options you have before you go shopping for the materials, so you know how much you’ll need to acquire for your personal project.

Size and Shape of Your Tablecloth

Consider the shape of your table first. Most kitchen tables are round, square, or rectangular. You also run into some more decorative tables that are ovals or that have beveled edges and decorative carving that keep them from truly fitting any standard shape definition.

A round table truly gives you the most options for a tablecloth, depending on the look you’re after. The obvious choice is a round tablecloth. However, if you like the look of the corners hanging down, a square tablecloth can also be attractive. Or, if you don’t want to cover the entire table, a runner down the middle could be just what you’re looking for.

With a square table, you’re most likely going to want to stick to a square tablecloth. However, you also have the option of a runner here. You can even combine the two for a dual shade and a little extra decorative appearance.

The same is true of a rectangular table. You’ll want to use a rectangular tablecloth to keep everything uniform. In addition, a lot of people prefer to have a runner down the length of rectangular tables, whether they have another tablecloth to cover the entire area.

An oval table again opens your options, as you can choose an oval tablecloth, a rectangular one, or simply a runner. However, the hardest type of table to work with is one with any sort of decorative carving and shape around the edges.

These make almost any tablecloth hang unevenly. While you can work around this or you may not even mind, a great number of people choose to use just a runner down the length of these fancier dining tables.

Once you’ve determined your shape, you’ll also want to decide on the length. Do you want the tablecloth to drape to the floor? Or do you only want a half drape, where it hangs about halfway to the floor? With a runner, do you want it to drape like a standard tablecloth, or do you only want it to hang an inch or two over the edge?

When you’ve determined these factors, you can begin gathering the materials you’ll need to complete the project.

Materials for Making Your Own Tablecloth

Making sure you have all your supplies ready is essential to being able to make a tablecloth without a hassle. While other items may apply with different methods of sewing and hemming, the basic requirements are:

  • The fabric of your choice
  • Scissors, if your fabric isn’t already cut to the proper size
  • Measuring tape
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Basic sewing supplies pins, thread, and either a needle or a sewing machine

Consider Your Choice of Tablecloth Fabric

All fabrics are not created equal. That’s why some fabrics are recommended for bedding, not others, or for tough jobs like cleaning. The same is true of a tablecloth. While technically, you can use whatever you like, there are some things to keep in mind.

You’ll want a fabric that is easy to clean and washer friendly since tablecloths can get pretty dirty. You also want something that won’t wrinkle or crease too badly while being washed or dried. In addition, you want something sturdy that will last long and won’t slide around on the table too easily.

Also, try to choose something that won’t let color bleed onto the surface of the table or into the washer when wet. For sewers without much experience, cotton is often the easiest to wield.

Also, look at decorator fabric first, especially if you have a large table. Typical fabric for clothing comes in a width of 44 inches, and for larger tables or longer drapes, you may have to join two pieces down the center. Decorator fabric, as well as sheeting fabric and lace, all tend to come in widths of 60 inches or more.

Always have a good deal more fabric than you need cut so that you have some leeway and can avoid issues with ragged edges, damaged fabric, or mistakes you might make along the way.

How to Make Your Tablecloth

Making the tablecloth isn’t difficult. However, there are several steps to the process, and it’s important to be precise in several areas.

1.       Measure your table. Regardless of the shape of the table, you’ll have to take measurements. Start with the length and width of your table for a generally square, rectangular, or oblong table. With a circle, you’ll want to measure the diameter. If you’re making a runner, consider that most runners are about a foot (twelve inches) wide. This and the length of the table are the measurements you’ll work with.

2.       Determine how far you want the tablecloth to drape. A full-length drape to the floor can be considered more formal or can give you an opportunity to hide storage under the table, while a shorter drape is more casual. Calculate the amount you want to drape (for floor length, measure from the top of the table to the floor). Then, double that amount and add to both the length and width or to the diameter.

3.       Don’t forget to account for the hem. Add two inches to each measurement so that you can have a one-inch hem all the way around for squares, rectangles, and runners. For a circular or oblong table, add an inch to the diameter to allow for a half-inch hem.

4.       Cut – or have your fabric cut – to the appropriate size. Keep in mind that, at a fabric store, you’ll likely have to deal with square or rectangular measurements for rounded tables. Then, you’ll need to go home and use a measuring tape and scissors to round the corners.

5.       Test the size of your tablecloth. To avoid errors in calculation, drape the cloth over your table and assess the fit of the fabric. Unless you have a table with decorative edges, you should have an almost perfectly even drape all the way around the table. For floor-length drapes, your fabric should fold over slightly at the bottom, assuring you have enough for the hem. For shorter drapes, you should be able to visualize the tablecloth being just a little shorter and still be pleased with how it looks.

6.       Now it’s time to hem your tablecloth. There are several different ways to stitch the hem, but a double-fold hem usually works best for tablecloths.

a.       On a flat surface, flip your tablecloth upside down so you are looking at the back of it.

b.       On the edges, you’ll make two folds. For a one-inch hem, this means you’ll fold the edges up half an inch, and then you’ll perform the second fold of half an inch. This covers any ragged edges inside the folds. Pin at regular intervals as you go to hold these folds in place, all the way around or on each length and width.

c.       Stitch with a thread that blends into the fabric along each edge to hold the hems in place. Do it by hand but a sewing machine is easier to use because you can set the intervals and assure an even stitch.

7.       For circular and oval tablecloths, your hem may work better with a single fold, as this will cause less puckering as you sew around instead of straight. When completed, you’ll want to trim any uneven or ragged edges left above the stitching.

8.       Once the sewing is completed, you’ll want to iron your tablecloth to make sure the edges that are now hemmed are sharply creased, and that you haven’t left wrinkles in the material through handling. Your tablecloth is ready for use!

Other Methods of Hemming

If you don’t count yourself as ready to use a needle and thread and don’t have a sewing machine or any experience with one, there are other ways to complete the process. You’ll find “heat and press” materials that work like permanent tape in your fabric store.

With this, you simply take the “tape” and place it between the folded fabric. Use an iron to press it. The tape will then hold the two parts of the fabric together like a hem.

This is an easy solution if you are uncomfortable with the idea of sewing. However, check the information on the label of the adhesive to assure you’ll still be able to machine wash your tablecloth. You also likely won’t be able to tumble dry it, as the heat of the dryer could cause the adhesive to come loose.

Other Tips for Making Your Own Tablecloth

Remember, if your fabric is too narrow, you can join two pieces along the length, using a similar method to a hem. Take an inch from each and run a seam between them, cutting off the excess material above the seam. This will give lots of fabric to work with so you can trim it for the right drape.

If you’re very crafty, you can actually use two panels of equal sizes and add a “runner” through the middle of your tablecloth for an even more decorative appearance. You may also like to add a lace trim or tassels to the edges of your tablecloth for that little extra appeal.

Be patient and decide what really speaks to you, since you have the opportunity to create a work of art that surpasses the plain tablecloths you find premade and store-bought.

Bottom Line

When it comes to home decor, you have far more options if you can handle a little bit of crafting. Nobody needs to be an expert seamstress to make different tablecloths. If you can use a needle and thread or a sewing machine, you’ve got it made and only need to take a few measurements to get started. And if you aren’t ready to sew, you can use fabric adhesive.

It’s important to make your home your own. Start with small projects like choosing fabric and making your own tablecloth. It’ll help you build confidence in yourself to delve into other do-it-yourself projects that lead you to take greater pride and comfort in your home. The more unique your taste, the more likely you are to find joy in creating your own personal space. Shop our entire selection of fabrics for tablecloths and start your project!

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