How to make tablecloths

Tips and instructions to get you started making various types of tablecloths. Hints on fabrics and cutting techniques as well.

Tablecloths not only protect your beautiful furniture but they add to the kitchen decor as well. The great thing about making them yourself is that you get to choose your own colors and patterns. Throw in the fact that you'll save a lot of money and you'll see that making a tablecloth is a fabulous idea. You don't have to be an excellent seamstress, either. Tablecloths are one of the easiest things to sew.

When purchasing the fabric consider whether or not it is a fabric that will wrinkle easily. No one wants to iron a tablecloth each and every time they change it. Also check that it's not too sheer. Sheer fabrics allow the color of the wood to shine through and that gives the tablecloth a dingy look. The exception to this is if you purchase lace fabric where the table can be seen but only through portions of the lace pattern.

Tables come in all sizes and shapes. Round, oval and square are just a few. Decide on the type of tablecloth you'd like to make. A cloth cut to the shape of your table with a simple hem is easy for beginners. Measure square or rectangle tables and add three inches to each side. For round or oval designs you can lay the fabric out on the table and trim evenly around it but allow the cloth to hang over the sides of the table. Use a tape measure to make sure the cloth is cut at equal lengths around the perimeter.

When the fabric is cut start at a corner and fold over a half-inch. Fold over once again and begin stitching. Stop a few inches before arriving at the next corner and fold it the same way you did the first. Stitch to the corner then stop in the middle of the next fold. Lift presser foot and turn at a 90 degree angle. Continue on in this pattern until you arrive back at the first corner, then back-tack. Trim threads closely.

You can make a fancier tablecloth by using the same fabric or wide lace to make a ruffle. Pre-ruffled laces are the easiest for beginners but they are also more costly. After cutting the lace or cloth piece pin it to the edges of the tablecloth before it is hemmed. Pin the gathers in as you go around. You can also put in the puckers as you sew the two pieces together. Start with no puckers for a couple of inches then scrunch the lace piece while sewing across it. An easy way to scrunch the lace evenly is to lay the palm of the hand down on the lace with fingers spread far apart. Bring the fingers together allowing the material to scrunch up in between each finger. Only the top layer, the lace, should be gathered. Hold the gathers with the opposite hand while you remove the fingers. Sew across the top of the lace gathers. Continue to do this around the perimeter of the cloth. When you arrive at the opposite end fold the lace piece under an inch and sew off then back-tack.

When the tablecloth hangs the open seam will not be visible. To close the seam start the lace ruffle at one small end of the tablecloth. Leave about three inches of lace hanging then begin to sew. After going around the perimeter stop in the center where you began and clip threads. Now put both ends of the lace together, trimming if necessary and sew a seam across them. There will be a small gap where you left off stitching. Go back and stitch this part of the perimeter.

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