Home-sewn table fashions, unlike purchased ones, are not limited to a small selection of standard sizes. Design a tablecloth yourself, and scale it to the exact size and shape of your table. Choose from an abundant supply of fabric colors, patterns and textures to complement the decor of your room.
Because most tablecloths are wider than one fabric width, you must seam fabric widths together to make the tablecloth the width you need. Avoid a center seam by using a full fabric width in the center and stitching narrower side panels to it.
Use selvage edges in seams to eliminate seam finishing. If the selvage tends to pucker, clip it at regular intervals of I” to 6″ (2.5 to 15 cm). If selvages are not used in seams, finish with French or overage seams. Use plain seams for reversible tablecloths.
Placemats, napkins and table runners give you an opportunity to experiment with finishing techniques you may be reluctant to try on larger projects.
When you design tabletop fashions, look for durable, stain-resistant fabrics that have been treated to repel soil and water. Permanent press fabrics offer easy care. Drape the fabric over your arm to see how it hangs.
For everyday use, lightweight cotton is appropriate; use a lightweight tablecloth with a table pad to protect fine wood tables. For an elegant look, use a sheer lace or eyelet tablecloth over a heavier cloth.
Small random prints are easier to work with than prints that may need matching. Avoid heavily napped fabrics or fabrics with difficult-to-match design motifs such as printed plaids or stripes, diagonals or one-way patterns.
Article from: Singer sewing for the Home (copyright 1984-1988)