June 15, 2024

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Table Talk

Make a striking, original tablecloth. First, measure the length and width of your dining table. Add at least 12 inches to the length measurement to allow for an overhang of about five inches on each side after hemming (you may want to add a couple of inches more if your table has a very deep apron). Convert the feet to yards; then visit your local fabric store and head for the table that holds upholstery fabric remnants. Or if you're feeling extravagant, select yardage off the bolt. Either way, you'll find gorgeous prints, stripes, and solids in glossy chintz or finely woven, sturdy cotton—all are washable and virtually all never need ironing—and at widths of 54 to 60 inches, they cover most tables.

To prevent any shrinkage, wash and dry the fabric, according to the manufacturer's instructions. When dry, apply a light coat of spray sizing and iron down a hem—double the width of the selvedge to ensure a clean finish. Pin hem in various spots, and use matching thread to stitch it down. Iron hem when finished stitching.

Use solid-color linen napkins in a neutral shade to harmonize with the cloth. Be elegant (find fabric with a metallic thread running through it, be casual (look for nifty fifties prints online and at stores that sell vintage fabric, be spirited (with colors that reflect a holiday theme), but most of all, enjoy a lovely unique tablecloth.