Tablecloths are an important decorating tool not just because they embellish the table, they also protect the table from stains, nicks and dents. If you love your grandmother's heirloom tablecloth, but find it's just too large for your table, there are steps you can take to tailor it to fit your needs. First, try folding it in half before you place it on your table. But if you find you must cut it to get a good fit, you can still use the remains of the cloth as napkins or a table runner for the sideboard.
Determine the look you want for your table. A tablecloth that runs from the table to the floor will provide you with an elegant and formal look. A standard tablecloth allows for an 8-inch overhang on all sides.
Measure your table accurately and add the necessary amount for overhang. If using a standard overhang, add 16 inches to your width and length. If choosing a more formal look, measure the length from the table to the floor and double that amount for both width and length. Add in an extra inch for hem allowances where needed. Mark the tablecloth with a fabric marker where you want to cut.
Cut along the line, using fabric scissors. Tuck the raw edge in and fold over 1/2 inch for the hem. Iron and pin this hem line.
Sew each hem line, using a sewing machine. When you get to a corner, lift the presser foot and turn the fabric. Continue sewing until all hems are sewn.
Press the entire tablecloth and put it on the table.
Use the metal ruler to mark the leftover piece of fabric into squares. Cut and sew a small hem in each to make napkins. The entire leftover piece can be hemmed and used as a table runner as well.