How To Make a Tablecloth

By making your own tablecloth you can get exactly the look and size you want.

You can make tablecloths out of many different fabrics. Ginghamoilcloth, and flannel backed vinyl are great for casual eating or themed parties. For lightweight tablecloths, try broadcloth or cotton printsLinen is classic and works for many styles and many events. Burlap is popular for rustic weddings. Sequinslacesatin, and other dressy materials are perfect for tablecloths and overlays at formal events.

I’m going to make a rectangular tablecloth for this table out of poly poplin, which is durable and wrinkle resistant.

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Instructions

Step 1: Measure & cut fabric

First, decide what you want the drop length to be. This is the distance from the edge of the table to where you want the tablecloth to end. Drop lengths are generally about 10 to 12 inches for everyday use or they can go all the way to the floor for a more formal look.

I’m going to make a floor length tablecloth for this table. (Just be aware that the corners will pool on the floor with long tablecloths like this one.)

Measure the length and width of the table and the height if the drop will be floor length.

This table is 61” long, 30” wide, and 36.5” tall. I’ll make the drop 36” so it’s a little off the floor. Normal table height is about 30 inches.

Finally, you have to know if you need a hem and if so, what size. I’m going to do a ½” double folded hem.

How to Make a Tablecloth - Measure table length
How to Make a Tablecloth - Measure table width

Calculate the width of the tablecloth:

Table Width + (2 x Drop) + (2 x Hem) = Total tablecloth Width

For my table that’s 30” + (36” x 2) + (1” x 2) = 104”

 

Calculate the length of the tablecloth:

Table Length + (2 x Drop) + (2 x Hem) = Total tablecloth Width

For my table that’s 61” + (36” x 2) + (1” x 2) = 135”

 

If your fabric is wide enough for the tablecloth, simply cut 1 piece to the total length and width and move on to hemming in step 3.

If your tablecloth will be wider than the width of your fabric, you will need to cut more than one piece and sew them together.

This fabric is 60 inches wide and the total width is 104”, so I need to use 2 widths of fabric.

Instead of having a seam down the middle, it looks better to have a full width panel in the center with two narrower pieces on the sides.

I’m cutting two pieces of fabric to 135” in length. Cut one of the pieces in half lengthwise.

How to Make a Tablecloth - Cut fabric to correct length
How to Make a Tablecloth - Cut fabric to correct length
How to Make a Tablecloth - Fold one piece in half
How to Make a Tablecloth - Fold one piece in half

Step 2: Sew fabric together

Line up the selvedge edges of the middle panel and one of the narrower pieces and pin together. If your fabric has a right and wrong side, make sure the right sides are facing each other.

Sew with a ½” seam allowance.

By putting the selvage edges together, there’s no need to finish them further because it won’t fray. If you do need to finish the edges, use a serger or a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine.

Repeat the pinning and sewing on the other side to attach the other narrow piece.

How to Make a Tablecloth - Pin pieces together
How to Make a Tablecloth - Sew pieces together

Iron the seams open.

Measure the width of the middle piece and subtract that from the total width, then divide by 2. This is how wide the narrow panels should be.

For me, that’s 104 – 59 = 45 / 2 = 22.5

Mark this distance from the seam in several places and connect the marks.

Cut off the extra fabric along this line.

Do this for both of the narrow panels.

How to Make a Tablecloth - Iron seam open
How to Make a Tablecloth - Measure width of narrow piece
How to Make a Tablecloth - Mark width of narrow piece
How to Make a Tablecloth - Cut off extra

Step 3: Hem the tablcloth

Fold the edge of your fabric in ½” and iron. Then fold it another ½” and iron again.

Iron all the way to the corner then fold and iron the other side while the first is still folded.

How to Make a Tablecloth - Fold in 1/2 inch and iron
How to Make a Tablecloth - Fold in another 1/2 inch and iron
How to Make a Tablecloth - Fold other side of corner

It looks best to do folded or sewn mitered corners. I’m going to do the folded mitered corner because it’s a little simpler. See How To Sew a Mitered Corner to find out how to do a sewn corner.

Unfold the corner and you’ll see a grid created by the creases. Draw a diagonal line through the middle square and cut.

How to Make a Tablecloth - Unfold and mark line
How to Make a Tablecloth - Cut on line

Fold the cut edge down so the crease lines up with the bottom of the square and iron.

How to Make a Tablecloth - Fold diagonal edge in
How to Make a Tablecloth - Iron diagonal edge

Fold in the sides once, fold the diagonal part you just ironed, then fold in the sides one more time. Pin the corned in place. Repeat for the other corners.

How to Make a Tablecloth - Fold in sides once
How to Make a Tablecloth - Fold diagonal edge in
How to Make a Tablecloth - Fold in sides again
How to Make a Tablecloth - Pin mitered corner

Sew around the entire hem close to the inner fold and pivot at the corners. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end. The tablecloth is now complete.

How to Make a Tablecloth - Sew around entire hem
How to Make a Tablecloth - Sew around entire hem

We also made a burlap table runner, placemats, linen napkins, silverware holders, and a centerpiece to go along with this tablecloth.

How To Make a Tablecloth - Finished
How To Make a Tablecloth - Finished hem
How To Make a Tablecloth - Seam
Q & A
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Browse 4 questions Browse 4 questions and 3 answers
Do I need a lining for my cotton table clothe?
A shopper on Dec 12, 2017
BEST ANSWER: You don't necessarily need one.
Can I laminate a table clothe?
A shopper on Dec 12, 2017
BEST ANSWER: A tablecloth would likely be too large to laminate yourself.
How do I make a quilted table clothe?
A shopper on Dec 12, 2017
BEST ANSWER: You'll need a fabric for the front, a fabric for the back (can be same fabric), and batting: www.onlinefabricstore.net/product-group-batting.aspx

If you want less loft than typical quilt batting, you can use fusible fleece instead. Sandwich the batting or fusible fleece, pin in many places and do whatever kind of stitching you want. You can use bias tape to finish the edges.

This potholder is kind of a miniature version: www.onlinefabricstore.net/makersmill/how-to-make-a-pot-holder-with-bias-tape/
Pellon #987F Fusible Fleece
Pellon #987F Fusible Fleece
Pellon #TP971F Thermolam Plus Fusible Fleece
Pellon #TP971F Thermolam Plus Fusible Fleece
How to sew round tablecloth?
A shopper on Aug 1, 2018