How to Sew a Custom Tablecloth

Woman hanging tablecloth on clothesline
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    Measure Your Table

    Measure Your Table
    Measure Your Table. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    You can sew your own table cloth in the colors and prints you want at a fraction of retail costs. Consider making different shapes and sizes and dress your table with more than once cloth to achieve a layered look.

    A Square, Rectangle, or Oval Table

    • Measure the table and the amount of drop you want from the table top. You'll want no more than a 4" drop as any longer than that the cloth may get accidentally picked up when someone reaches for the napkin on their lap.
    • If a tabletop measures 60" by 36" and you want a 4" drop on each side, add 1" if making a 1/4" turned under baby hem on each edge. To make a 69" by 45" tablecloth, you'll want to buy two yards of 45" wide fabric. For an oval table, treat it as a rectangle table but round off the corners. You may have a round cutting guide to use to soften the corners, but you can also simply trace a dining plate and then cut along the traced line. 

    A Round Table

    • Measure across the table until you have the longest measurement, to assure you have the true size of the table.
    • Add the amount of drop you will want on the sides of the tablecloth.
    • For example, a 42" wide round table, with a 4" drop in the edges and allowing for a 1" for 1/4" turned under baby hem on the edge, you will need a 51" square to cut a 51" round circle. Buy 60" wide fabric or 45" wide fabric plus a trim to add to the edge so there's enough drop on the edges. Here are some extra wide fabric sources with some great options for circle tablecloths. 
    • To cut a circle from the fabric:
      • Fold a square in quarters and pinning a string to the folded corner and stretching it to the edge.
      • Attach a fabric pencil to the end of the string.
      • Slowly swing the string like a compass and use the pencil to draw a 1/4 circle curve.
      • Cut the fabric along the penciled line and open to reveal a perfect circle. 
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    Baby Hems

    Hemming Options
    Hemming Options. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    Hemming a Square or Rectangle Tablecloth

    • To sew a baby hem on the edges of a tablecloth, press under 1/4" to the wrong side of the fabric.​​ Sew a 1/4" from the edge and use the stitching line as a guide for turning under the edge without having to measure as you press.
    • Turn under again so that the raw edge is enclosed.
    • Miter the corners.
    • Use a straight stitch, stitching close to the loose folded edge to hold the hem in place. If you use a solid color fabric, consider using a decorative stitch and contrasting thread to sew the hem in place.

    Hemming a Round or Oval Tablecloth

    • Sew a basting stitch 1/4" from the edge.
    • Press the edge toward the wrong side using the stitching line as a guide.
    • Press under again to enclose the raw edge.
    • Use the basting stitches to ease in the fullness and make the hem fit the fabric so that the hem will lay flat and smooth.
    • Use a straight stitch, stitching close to the outer edge of the folded edge to hold the hem in place.

    Tip: A great way to keep the hem stitching straight is to use a guide and needle position. More Information: Guide to Understanding Sewing Machine Needle Position and How to Sew a Straight Seam and Sewing Machine Seam Guides

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    Optional: Adding Trim

    Adding Trim
    Adding Trim. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    The raw edge of the fabric must be secured with a seam finish either before or after attaching the trim to the edge of your table cloth.

    If the trim you will be attaching is pre-finished on both edges it's possible to attach it over a finished edge. Hem, zigzag or serge the raw edge of the table cloth before attaching the trim.

    If one edge of the trim is not finished place the right sides of the trim and fabric together to sew on the trim. Zigzag or serge the raw edges together. Press the seam allowance toward the body of the tablecloth and top stitch the hem to the body of the tablecloth.