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How to Make an Oval Tablecloth

Many dining room tables are a sort of oval, with rounded ends and a straight section in the middle. Often, linen stores only offer tablecloths for rectangular or round tables; you may have to make your own to have a tablecloth that covers properly. Luckily, this is not a hard project and if you can sew and cut a straight line with scissors, you can make a tablecloth that is custom-fit for your table.

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  1. Measure from the top edge of your table toward the floor to determine how many inches of drop you want on your tablecloth. Add 1 inch for seams and hems. Write down the drop measurement.

  2. Measure the width of your table plus the amount of two drops. Then measure the length of the table plus the amount of two drops. Tape kraft paper together to form a piece large enough for your measurements.

  3. Place the paper on the floor. Invert the table and centre it on the paper. Use a marker and trace an exact outline of your oval table. Take a yardstick and mark it at the point matching the length of the drop plus 1 inch.

  4. Place the marker against the yardstick mark and, with the end of the stick sliding along the edge of the table, trace the exact outline of the oval table including the drop onto the paper. Remove your table. Find the centre of each oval end and use your yardstick to draw a perpendicular line from the inside oval to the outside oval. Repeat for the other end. You should have in inner oval pattern and two identical drop patterns that look like a shallow C.

  5. Cut out your patterns with scissors. Note on the centre of the table oval that you need to add a 1/2-seam allowance to all sides and you need to notch the oval seams. Note on each fall pattern to add 1/2-inch seam allowance where the fall joins the centre table and at the straight seams on each end of the table.

  6. Calculate your yardage and buy extra for shrinkage. Wash and iron your fabric. Pin your patterns to your fabric, minding your notes. Cut your fabric and add in your seam allowance. Pin your two fall fabric sections face sides together and sew your two straight seams that will be at each end of the table. Press your seams.

  7. Pin the centre oval section to the outer fall section with right sides together. (At this point you could add piping and other details if you wanted a very dressy tablecloth.) Make sure your fabric is notched around the curves and sew your pieces together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Turn the hem under and stitch with a hemming stitch. Iron the seams and hem.

  8. Tip

    Keep your pattern so you can make future tablecloths whenever you see a fabulous print at the fabric store. By configuring your tablecloth into thirds you avoid having seams on the table surface, which is much nicer for decorating.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Kraft paper
  • Tape
  • Marker
  • Yardstick
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine

About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.

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