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How can I Sew a Table Cloth?

Paulla Estes
Updated: Jan 24, 2024

A table cloth is perhaps the simplest of sewing projects and is perfect for the beginning seamstress. A table cloth can be an easy and inexpensive way to decorate a kitchen or dining room, and simply changing a table cloth can change the whole look of a room.

To sew a table cloth, first collect all the necessary tools and equipment. Make sure the sewing machine is in good working order and then see that you have several straight pins, an iron and ironing board, measuring tape, a pair of sharp scissors, and of course fabric and thread to match.

When choosing a fabric for your table cloth, any type of cloth will work, but you might want to consider if it is easy to wash and whether or not it is stretchy. Stretchy fabrics are difficult to work with. You will need enough fabric to cover your entire table with 6 inches (15.24 cm) hanging off on each side. Also factor in a one inch (2.54 cm) hem on each side. Therefore, if your table is 4 feet by 3 feet (1.22 m by .91 m), you will need a table cloth which is 5 ft 2 in (1.5 m 5 cm) in length and 4 ft 2 in (1.22 m 5 cm) in width. Most fabrics are sold in yards but many are extra wide. Be sure to measure your fabric at the store when you buy it; if the fabric is wider than what you'll need, you won't have to buy as much, but if it is not wide enough, buy extra and sew the two pieces together.

If two pieces must be sewn together, leave an extra 1 inch (2.54 cm) on each side for the hem when you sew them together. Begin by laying one piece of fabric right side up and then lay the other half of the fabric upside down on top of the first fabric, so they are back to back. On the edge which will be sewn together, pin a one-inch (2.54 cm) hem with several straight pins, about 4 in (10 cm) apart. Using the sewing machine, sew a straight line along the edge of the pins, pulling out pins as you go, and then cut off any frayed pieces with the scissors. Next, the hems of your table cloth can be sewn.

For a project in which the fabric is wide enough, only the hems will have to be sewn. To sew the hems, first measure out the fabric and cut it appropriately, using the measuring tape. Then measure a one-inch (2.54 cm) hem on each side. Pin them with several straight pins, about 4 in (10 cm) apart. For easier sewing, press each hem with your iron. Using the sewing machine, sew a straight line along each hem, pulling out pins as you go.

One the hems are sewn, the entire table cloth can be pressed and then put on the table to give your room a new decorative look!

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Paulla Estes
By Paulla Estes
Based in Maine, Paulla Estes is a freelance writer and website editor with a B.A. in English Literature from George Mason University. With over 15 years of experience in the field, Paulla appreciates the flexibility and consistency that comes with contributing to WiseGeek. She relishes the opportunity to continuously learn new things while crafting informative and engaging articles for readers.
Discussion Comments
By Penzance356 — On May 24, 2011

My first independent sewing task ever was making a small table cloth and matching napkins. It turned out great except for the stitching. I didn't realize that you have to choose thread which matches the material type.

I hope someone can learn from me and not choose cotton to sew a blended fabric.

By Valencia — On May 22, 2011

@yumdelish - It's great that you can take on this project. Making your own table cloth linens is often the final touch to home decorating, and something a lot of people overlook.

The major benefit is that you can choose a fabric which suits your color scheme and lifestyle. I think that anything in a polyester-cotton blend would be suitable, as it's easy to wash. Go for a pattern to disguise small stains in between laundering.

By yumdelish — On May 21, 2011

I'll admit to being the queen of the disposable table cloth. I've spent years in rentals where the priority was to cover whichever ugly table I inherited rather than invest in anything nice.

Now I'm in a position to make something special myself but I am confused about which material to use. I do tend to make a mess so something easy to clean is what I need.

Paulla Estes
Paulla Estes
Based in Maine, Paulla Estes is a freelance writer and website editor with a B.A. in English Literature from George...
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