Size of table
Measure the length and width of the table if it’s square or rectangular.
For circular or oval, measure the widest and longest parts of the table.
Decide what you want the drop length to be, which is the distance from the edge of the table to where you want the tablecloth to end. Drop lengths are generally from 10 to 12 inches, but may be longer. Mid-length is about 16 to 24 inches and floor length is generally 28 to 30 inches. The short length is good for everyday use, while the longer lengths are nice for more formal looks and special occasions.
Also consider how much extra you need for the hem. You will need an inch for a narrow hem about 4 inches if you want a wider hem. Some fabrics, like oilcloth, don’t need to be hemmed.
Dimensions of Cut Fabric
Total Tablecloth Length: Table Length + (Drop x 2) + (Hem x 2)
Total Tablecloth Width: Table Width + (Drop x 2) + (Hem x 2)
Calculate the Yardage
Now that you know what the size of the piece of fabric needs to be, you can figure out how much yardage you need.
Number of Widths
If the width of the fabric is wider than the width needed for the tablecloth, you just need to get enough yards for the length. But if the fabric isn’t wide enough, you’ll need to sew pieces together.
To figure out how many widths of fabric you need, take the total tablecloth width and divide by the width of the fabric. Round up to the next whole number. This is how many widths of fabric you need.
Also take into account seam allowances for sewing the widths together. Add an inch for every seam and make sure this still works out.
Then take the total tablecloth length and multiply by the number of widths you just calculated.
This is the amount of fabric needed in inches. Divide by 36 to convert it to yards. Round up to the next whole number and this is the total yardage you need to get for your tablecloth.
If you have a patterned fabric and want to match up the design, add to the total length (in inches) one vertical repeat per every extra width of fabric.
So in the example, there are 2 widths needed, so add 1 vertical repeat. If the vertical repeat is 27 inches, the calculations would look like this:
(136″ x 2) + 27″ = 299″ / 12 = 24.92 ft / 3 = 8.31 yds, round up to 9 total yards needed.
If you plan on washing your tablecloth, always pre-wash because the fabric may shrink. If you want to use a decor fabric that is dry clean only, take a look at this article about washing decor fabric.
Joining Fabrics Widths
If you need to sew together 2 pieces of fabric, instead of sewing one seam down the middle, it looks most professional to have the full width piece is the center and sew the remaining needed to both sides of the centerpiece.
To find out how to seam patterned fabric together, look at How To Make a Duvet Cover, because it’s the same way you would do it for tablecloths.
Buy Your Fabric
Keep in mind these calculations are only an estimate. It’s a good idea to get a little extra for wiggle room.