While tablecloths may seem like a mundane item that serves a very functional purpose, one can argue that the right tablecloth can set the mood for an event. You can turn an ordinary meal into something special with the perfect section of the fabric, pattern, texture, and color. So, if you’ve taken up a project for sewing a tablecloth by yourself, there are several things you need to take into account. The most important of which is the fabric that you’ll use.
To find the best fabric for tablecloths, you will need to forage into the wide world of fabrics and textiles. Different fabrics serve different purposes. A cotton or linen tablecloth, for example, is great to create a warm, cozy environment, while satin or organza will add a more elegant touch.
If you have taken up the challenge of stitching a tablecloth yourself, keep reading to learn about the different fabrics you can use and a quick guide on sewing tablecloths.
What Is The Best Fabric for Sewing Tablecloths?
When you’re looking to make your own tablecloth, the first thing you’ll be questioning is what type of fabric you should be using. There is a wide variety of fabrics you can use to sew tablecloths. Every different material will have its own benefits and drawbacks to offer depending on how you want to sew it.
Here’s a brief look at various fabrics and how they compare with other materials to help you decide on the most suitable one for your tablecloth.
The most basic yet convenient option for everyday use would undoubtedly be cotton. Not only is it a comfortable option to work with that does not pose any stitching hassles, but it is also equally attractive.
Cotton is easily available and inexpensive, so you can conveniently try out all your stitching patterns and designs on a piece of cotton fabric. A cotton tablecloth is an ideal option if you have kids around who tend to spill food quite often. Cotton can easily soak up any spills but just as easily get cleaned up with a damp rag.
The only drawback is that cotton is prone to wrinkling and may lose its color when exposed to direct sunlight.
Polyester is a synthetic fiber known for being incredibly durable, making it a great pick to use for stitching tablecloths. It’s a fabric that can be used to create a standard, simple tablecloth or something more lavish and for extensive settings.
Some of the major advantages of polyester fabric are that it is lightweight, resistant to wrinkles and stains so that it has a longer lifespan, and efficiently retains its shape by conforming to the shape and size of the table.
Polyester is also an easily available fabric that you can find in various colors and patterns, so you will never run out of choices when looking for something that matches the interior of your house or wherever you want to use the tablecloth.
Have a picnic planned over the weekend with your friends? A vinyl tablecloth is what you need for all your delectable picnic food to be placed on. Vinyl is the ideal pick to use for outdoor tablecloths for several reasons.
Not only is it waterproof, but it can also withstand extreme weather conditions, the colors of the fabric do not fade, it is resistant to abrasion, and can last you a good couple of years. Vinyl is one of the easiest fabrics to maintain as it is easy to clean and is resistant to wear and tear.
If you are under a strict budget, vinyl can be an affordable option to go for. The only real downside is that vinyl is not a good option for formal settings like a wedding.
Similar to cotton, linen is one of the most comfortable and soft fabrics. It also scores pretty well when it comes to an inexpensive, readily available option. Linen is made of long, sturdy, and firm fibers.
If you want an easy way to add style and grace to your dining table without burning a hole in your pocket or having to take too much time thinking about the tablecloth’s fabric, you should go for linen. You will also have a pool of colors to choose from.
Linen scores very high on the durability factor. So, even with minimal attention and care, it will have a long shelf life.
If you are looking for a fabric that gives you the feel and appearance of luxury without being steeply-priced, satin is what you want. While it may be costlier compared to other materials, it’s still reasonably priced.
Get a thicker piece of satin fabric as it is less prone to wrinkles and does not require too much maintenance. You can conserve the characteristics of the material for longer by washing it on a delicate cycle, or best, with your hands.
A satin tablecloth is perfect for weddings or other special occasions; it can add an elegant appeal that no other fabric can deliver.
This is my go-to fabric for special events. An organza tablecloth is best for layering over thicker linen underneath. It is a semi-transparent piece of fabric with a delicate charm, unlike any other material.
Organa is lightweight and breathable and will always require extra attention. However, to maintain the integrity and durability of the organza fabric and make it last longer, you need to ensure that it is delicately hand washed using a mild detergent.
I will not recommend using an organza tablecloth daily as it can easily get ruined if not properly managed. However, where stitching the tablecloth is concerned, organza is one of the most accessible fabrics to sew.
Burlap is a 100% biodegradable and eco-friendly fabric woven from the skin of a jute plant. If you want to give a rustic, old house charm through the tablecloth you use, there is nothing better than to create a tablecloth using Burlap.
Burlap is constructed using solid, durable fibers, so your sewing endeavors become very easy. It is also quite easy to maintain.
This is a great fabric pick for everyday use and is typically available in shades of creams and browns.
This is a smooth, heavy-duty fabric used chiefly for tablecloths at weddings and other formal, high-scale events. Some damask fabrics are made of 100% silk, which is incredibly luxurious and looks quite extravagant. Some are also made out of polyester and are preferred more for everyday use.
The texture of the damask is similar to that of satin. It is soft, shiny, and highly comfortable. You can get your hands on some fantastic colors and patterns that are embossed on damask fabrics.
Be wary of fake damask counterparts that are low on quality and are not made from the authentic satin weave.
Best Tablecloth Material For Different Uses
While tablecloths were initially used to protect your furniture from scratches and marks, they evolved into an ornamental accessory that adds an element of color to your dining room. Most importantly, you can use different ones for different occasions.
I have broken down the different types of tablecloths that you can stitch for different occasions. For best results, you will have to determine the most suitable fabric in accordance with the setting and the event you will be using it for.
Linen, satin, or organza fabric would be the right pick to sew a formal tablecloth. These materials are more on the more delicate side and have a certain charm and finesse to them. These are the fabrics you want to use to set the right mood for a high-scale, formal event like a wedding or an elaborate dinner party.
Another tip is to always opt for a floor-length tablecloth, one that is around 15 inches in length, so that it has a beautiful flow that will complement any occasion. Lighter color fabrics are always preferred over bold ones when choosing a formal tablecloth.
Every dining room requires a tablecloth that can withstand some wear and tear while not being too dull. You want an everyday-use tablecloth that you wouldn’t mind disposing of in case it gets spoiled. This is why it is better to go for an inexpensive fabric that is readily available and easy to work with.
However, just because your tablecloth goes in your dining room doesn’t mean you have to compromise on how it looks. It is advisable to use a familiar and easy fabric to maintain, like cotton, polyester, or burlap. Choose bold colors that will complement all the other elements on the tabletop.
A wedding is a special event for which every single element matters. Something as simple as a tablecloth can change the entire look of the occasion. Ideally, floor-length tablecloths that have some drape and flow to them are best suited for a wedding based on how you would want the table to be set. Satin, organza, and damask are my top choices for a wedding table cloth.
The fabric you decide to go for should also be available in an assortment of colors and patterns to match all the other elements of the setting. If you plan on getting the tablecloths stitched in bulk from someone, make sure you communicate all your requirements to them in advance.
Outdoor tablecloths are the ones where you get to be creative. The most basic requirement of an outdoor tablecloth is that it should be durable and the colors of the fabric should not fade away from being under the sun.
Vinyl, hands down, is the best pick for an outdoor tablecloth. Besides the fact that it retains its color, is incredibly resistant to tears, and can be easily washed to remove any stains and marks. It is also one of the most affordable fabrics available in the market.
Polyester or acrylic fabrics are also good options that are relatively easy to handle, resistant to stain, and low maintenance.
Polyester is an excellent wrinkle-free fabric that conforms to the table’s size and shape and is great for everyday use. For more formal events, you should go for satin or a linen blend fabric.
All these fabrics have a shiny, shimmery texture. Even after multiple washes, they shrink very little and retain their shape. So if you are trying to stitch a tablecloth that will last you for several years, go for a wrinkle-resistant fabric option.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Tablecloth Fabric
As we discussed earlier, all fabrics have unique features. So when choosing the right fabric to sew your tablecloth, there are several factors you need to consider. First, let’s take a look at some of the major things that must be considered.
This goes without saying, but the material and texture of the fabric you want to use to stitch your tablecloth is a major factor. Generally, cotton or polyester-cotton blends are used to make everyday dining tablecloths as they are easy to clean and are durable and long-lasting. The more delicate fabrics like silk are easier for embroidering on but need a higher degree of maintenance.
Measuring the yardage and determining how much fabric you would require for the tablecloth is another significant point you need to think about. The material drop should be based on where you plan on using the tablecloth. Generally, you will have to create a tablecloth for a round or rectangle table, so make sure you calculate their respective measurements.
Choosing the right color can truly impact the environment you want to create. You need to ensure that the color matches the other decor pieces and doesn’t take away from the room’s appearance and overall ambiance. Choose a color that adds dimension and character to the room. If bold colors are your cup of tea and complement other room elements, go for it. And if you want to play safer, opt for lighter, more neutral tones like white and cream.
Fabrics that require minimal maintenance, can get through regular wear and tear, keep their shape, and are not easily wrinkled should be your top choice. When it comes to tablecloths, spills and food stains are to be expected. If that’s a regular occurrence, you might want to go for a fabric that can soak up a spill and can be easily cleaned.
Whether you’re looking for a tablecloth that is durable enough for everyday use and can endure the most stubborn spills or you want one for special occasions, different fabrics fulfill different purposes. Just like a cotton tablecloth wouldn’t be an excellent pick for an upcoming wedding dinner, an organza tablecloth is too risky for everyday use.
Besides protecting your dining tables from scratches and marks, a tablecloth also serves as a canvas to lay other tableware, accessories, and decor. From your serving pieces and flower vases to the statement chandelier hanging on top of your table, or an artistic frame on the adjacent wall for some visual interest, go for a tablecloth that makes for a suitable addition and brings together all the other elements of a room. Fabric color and material that complements the other accents of your table would be the best pick.
Last but certainly not least, your budget will be the one thing you need to keep your eye on. It is pretty easy to go overboard with so many options available, from different colors to diverse patterns and styles. Go for a fabric that meets all your requirements but also fits your budget.
How Many Yards of Fabric Do You Need for a Tablecloth?
One of the most challenging parts of taking on a sewing project is calculating how much fabric you require. Based on the shape and size of your table, the yardage would differ from table to table. There are specific steps you need to follow to determine the right amount.
Measure the dimensions of the table’s top. Go for a 12” overhang for informal tablecloths and a longer, floor-length overhang for formal tablecloths.
For a rectangle table, you need to find out the length and width of the table.
To calculate the width, double the overhang measurement and add 2 inches each for the hem and the seam of the cloth.
To calculate the length, double the overhang measurement, add the table’s length and add 2 inches extra for the hem.
If you have a circular table, the first step is finding out the diameter of the table.
Measure the diameter of the table’s surface, add the overhang measurements twice, add 2 inches for the hem and 2 inches for the seam.
How To Make A Tablecloth
Once you have all your basics cleared and decide which fabric you would like to use for sewing your tablecloth, sewing the tablecloth is not that complicated. Based on the shape of the table and the pattern of the tablecloth, there are different sewing patterns you can try.
Here is a simple guide you can follow to make a tablecloth yourself.
- Determine the drop length of the cloth by measuring the surface of the table and considering the shape of the table.
- Measure the table to determine how much fabric you would need.
- Cut the fabric according to your requirements and start pinning the pieces together.
- The more significant pieces should permanently be stitched over the smaller, narrower ones.
- Stitch tightly along the length of the fabric.
- Using an iron, press along the fabric’s seams.
- Cut away any extra material that is left.
- To create the hem, fold the corners of the cloth and iron twice.
- Lastly, make sure to sew along the hems to secure the fabrics and your tablecloth project is a success.
Fabric for Tablecloths by the Yard
Buying fabric by the yard is ideal for any stitching project you partake in. As there are several options in terms of texture, color, pattern, feel, and comfort of fabric available in the market, making the right pick can feel overwhelming. So, once you have considered all the necessary factors, buying by the yard makes your job more convenient.
There is no set price as to how much a piece of fabric would cost, but here are the average prices of some of the commonly used tablecloth fabrics.
- Cotton can cost anywhere from $7 to $20 per yard.
- The price of polyester can go up to $10 per yard.
- The price of satin can start from as little as $4 and go up to $40 per yard.
- Raw silk would cost up to $10, reaching even $65 per yard.
I hope this article has answered all your questions concerning the best fabric to sew a tablecloth. Based on your usage, you will have plenty of options to choose from. Make sure the material is durable, aesthetically pleasing, can stand the test of time, and is worth every penny.
You can save this comprehensive guide so you can come back to it whenever you have any questions in your tablecloth sewing journey.