I am so sorry for the TERRIBLE layout of this blog! It was actually pretty nice but one day everything went all amuck ??? No clue what happened....and since I don't really post here anymore I haven't bothered to figure it out. SORRY!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

How to Make a LARGE Round Tablecloth

No, I am not an expert on making round tablecloths ... I just made my first one last night... but, I can warn you of the pitfalls of making one! :-).  I'm sorry that I have no pictures of the actual process (BAD BLOGGER!) because, quiet frankly,  I was way more interested in getting it right, and out of this house! (they needed it today so I had to take it to them last night).

Step 1:
YOU HAVE TO MEASURE THE TABLE!!!   If it is a tablecloth for you, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for knowing how big it needs to be!  
  - every time I talked to the girl that wanted me to make the tablecloth she would say she needed it to be 72"-73".  Well...1" difference IS IMPORTANT!  So I kept asking her if she had measured the table...no.  So finally, AFTER she had bought the fabric, and she was handing it to me, (I met her at a different fabric store) I asked again, exactly how big does it need to be?  At that point she called someone and asked them to measure!!  When she got off the phone she said she needed it to be 79" !!!  WAIT, that's not it yet. When we decided to put a cording around the bottom we went to someone to ask how much cording we would need. ... at that point she said these words... "the table is 49" across and 30" to the floor"  and all the ALARMS in my brain went off!!!  She didn't need 79" she needed 109" (before the hem) !!!!  She was including only enough to fall on one side, not both!  Guess what.... the SIX yards of fabric she bought was NOT ENOUGH to make the tablecloth go to the floor!  It is going to be 2" too short!

A +B(x2) +1" (1/2" hem)  = how many inches LONG your fabric needs to be

So, for the one I made it was 

49 + 30(x2) + 1" = 110"
3 yards of fabric = 108" !!!

Yes, that math you should have learned in school IS REQUIRED! 

BUT WAIT!!!  There's more!  Unless you are cutting a sheet, odds are, the fabric you find will not be WIDE enough, you will need to add fabric to add to the width.  I needed the other 3 yards she bought to make the piece wide enough.  (see step 2)

Buy the correct amount of fabric.

Be sure to double (if that is enough)  the number you came up with in the above formula so that you can make it wide enough for a circle....

IMPORTANT: Avoid all use of words like "Diameter" and "Circumference"!!! Sadly, people don't know what they mean anymore!  What you THINK you are saying may not be what they are hearing.  Because she kept saying  "I need a 72"- 73" Diameter" instead of saying what she was actually measuring...because she was hearing 72-73" the lady at the fabric store told her that 6 yards would be plenty.  NOT!  We were TWO INCHES SHORT!

From here on I will be talking like 6 yards is what we are working with so the final table cloth will be 107" with a 1/2" hem.

Once you are certain all your numbers are correct add a few inches because these days they cut EXACTLY what you ask for!  They will cut their fingernails off  before they give you 1/4" more than you ask for!... and they NEVER CUT STRAIGHT!...so add a bit to your number.  Then, if you are like me and just the thought of having to deal with SIX YARDS of fabric turns your stomach, go ahead and let them cut it in half for you so, in my case I had two three yard pieces instead of one six yard piece.

Make the fabric wide enough.
IMPORTANT: You want two seams on the sides, NOT one down the middle! so you will need to 
- split the LENGTH of one of the 3 yards pieces 
- sew one length to each side of the uncut piece thus making seams that will be on the side of the table, not one running down the middle.

fold the newly created piece in half length wise

Fold that in half  with  the original cut ends together forming a square (pretty much)

Prepare for cutting:
- I had to move furniture for this step!  You will need a space big enough for the above square ... and for you to move all the way around it. (MY biggest obstacle!)  In my case I needed 54" for the fabric and ??? for my butt!  Like I said, I had to move furniture around to have enough floor space!

- Tie a pen (preferably disappearing ink) to one end of a string.  Make the string 1/2" the length of your finished tablecloth (mine was 54") and tack the loose end down to the floor (in my case) in the double folded corner:

- Draw a simi-circle from corner to corner. I didn't have disappearing ink so I put pins along the path...which really was good because it held the 4 thicknesses together for cutting.

Cut the simi-circle.

Step 8:
Press seams open and hem.  It actually took me ONE HOUR to sew around the hem two times!


OH!  and I forgot the most important part!!!  PRAY! throughout the entire process!

I wish I had a picture of the final product but I don't have a round table and without it, it was just a big pile of  A LOT of fabric!  

I got it to them at 9:45 PM last night.  YES!!!  Now I'm just hoping that it being 2" too short doesn't look awful.... (she said with a groan) 

Subject change....
Happy Birthday to me....happy birthday to me....happy birthday to me---eeeeee, happy birthday to me!
That's right, I will be spending the rest of my morning getting my car inspected and getting a new tag.  I would really like to talk to the person that thought making your birthday the final day for new tags was a good idea!!!!  Nothing like having to pay every year for your birthday (about $150 in my case)...another groan....

I'm off!  Have a great day! 


  1. Thanks for the refresher and the funny commentary.

  2. Hi Becky! Thank YOU for letting me know that you stopped by! I just re read all those words and I am pretty certain that the last thing anyone would want to do is try and follow them!! I really did it to relieve my stress over the situation, but I am pretty certain that you could tell that. :-). My lesson learned was that sometimes it is much better to just say "NO"!!

  3. Just read your post and was wondering.... I'm making my own table linen for my wedding and I wanted to use sequin fabric (which is very hard to sew together, I'm referring to step 3). I have to make 134" linens for my tables but was wondering how much width I would need?? How would I even calculate the width?

    Thank you!

  4. Hi Tia! First, CONGRATULATIONS! Second, you are a brave, breave girl to want to tackle a round tablecloth, and a sequin one at that!
    Now, to your question...if you need 134" (including a hem) that means if you took a very long tape measure and put one end on the floor, then went straight across the table and let it drop to the other side of the table it would measure 134"+ at the floor, right? If yes, then it will be the same no matter where you measure the table because it is round. The yardage you need will now depend on how WIDE THE FABIC IS. Before you can make the circle you will have to make the fabric square. If the fabric is 54" wide then to get your necessary 134" you would have to buy THREE TIMES the fabric it would take if seams weren't necessary. That is 3x 3.75 yards, or 11.25 yards!! For ONE table cloth! Honestly, if I were you I would try to rent one or let a professional do it. That is an enormous amount of fabric to deal with! I cringe at the very thought of it! One thing that you might want to consider is to make it double layered.... Put a regular table cloth that you could rent down on the table then layer on the sequined one that is 54" round on top for the effect. Or do one that you doubled to 108" that would hang even further down the sides.

  5. If you go with the layers you wouldn't even have to make the top layer round... You could make it square then hang pretty tassels on each corner....the could be really pretty! I would love to hear what you decide to do! Oh! And back to the yardage, you could probably use some of the left over yardage from the first table on the second if you cut it right. But again, I wouldn't even think about making one that big, too easy to make a VERY expensive mistake.

  6. Thanks so much for the tips. Someone just asked me to make a 90" round table cloth and I now know what questions to ask. I have a home alteration business but have never done this particular task before and have no idea what to charge for it. Now that you've done it, do you have any suggestions of a charge that would be fair to both my client and me? Thanks in advance.

  7. OH HECK Paula! I am the WORST at charging! I never charge enough to make money because I never believe they will pay what it is really worth. All I can say is that it will definitely take longer to make than you think it will so maybe it will be best to charge by the hour. I'm sorry, no help at all. Good luck!

  8. Nancy I have the same problem charging....I never think they would pay what it's really worth. So today I did what I usually do when I have no idea what to charge..I called a local place that does alterations and asked what she would charge. She said approx. $30 if just a regular hem and up to $50 to put trim on the edges. I know $30 will be a lot less than the time it will take me but unlikely anyone would pay much more. I think I may say $35 because I'm not particularly keen to do it. Often people ask if I will make clothes for them but I always say no because I know they won't be willing to pay for my time and they can buy ready made for so much less (I don't work for pennies per hour like they do in 3rd world countries) but people don't realize this when they ask.

  9. Honestly Paula, I wouldn't do it for $35, I would either ask for exactly what you think it is worth to you or just send her to the person that quoted that price. I wish I could remember what I charged, I just looked for the invoice and couldn't find it. People are really weird, some will pay an amount that there is NO WAY I would ever pay that much but they will! Listen, my brother started making cutting boards earlier this year and charges $100 - $350 A PIECE!!! WHAT?!!! The first day he made them available he sold TWELVE cutting boards!!! UNBELIEVABLE! He just shipped two boards to Denmark last week and just the shipping cost the person $65! So she paid $250 +$65 for two CUTTING BOARDS!!! You can get cutting boards for $5!!! Ages ago he ran a fireworks stand and could not sell a thing kind of like a bottle rocket only bigger. He had the price set at 75 cents each...no sells... He marked them up to $5.00 each AND SOLD OUT!!!

    But you know, even though I know these are real stories I have a hard time charging more than what *I* would pay for it. BAD BAD IDEA!

  10. I Love, Love your attitude nancybabb. You say it right on the nose. You just made my day. Was beginning to think it was me, thinking people are weird. I'm 78 and having a hard time dealing with what I call lazy minded, no common sense people. I'm not putting people down just stating facts. I really believe it's from all the government handouts which make people believe it's always someone else's responsibility to think for them.------ nancybabb, your instructions are superb. Especially for some one who has problems with measuring. (Unlike the students in PUBLIC school I don't have a "Label")

    1. littlegamcracke, I love your post. I am 74 and appalled at how young people cannot figure anything out. Just drives me crazy! So nice to not be alone. :)

  11. Hi littlegamcrake!

    That's funny, I wrote it over two years ago so I just re-read it...hummmm....you can almost see my hands on my hips with my foot tapping!

    Thanks for appreciating my attitude, cause you know I had some! :-)


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