Proper Table Top

by Melissa.

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Tablecloths can be quite expensive and quite ugly, which makes them a historically unappealing gift giving choice.  Both of these problems are solved with some very uncomplicated sewing.  The big deal with tablecloths is that the fabric that's readily available is probably not going to be in the appropriate width for covering a large surface.  Home Dec fabric often comes in 56-60" widths, so cutting the right length and hemming around the perimeter is easy-peasy.  But, you might also buy 1 1/2' cuts (or raid your stash) off of the quilt weight 44/45" bolts and make a lovely paneled cloth. 

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For a 52" by 70" (approx) cloth, you'll need two 1 1/2' cuts (for a wider cloth, by 1 3/4 yards).  I used two coordinating fabrics:  one whole cut for the center panel, and the other cut split up the middle for each side.  Measure each side equally and hem accordingly.  For a longer cloth, use 3 1.5' cuts and you'll get a cloth up to 120" long.  Make sure you prewash your fabric and finish your panel seams with a zigzag stitch. 

Want to go one better?  Include simple napkins.  These are 14" square and I used a friend's serger to finish the edges.  Napkins are easy to hem using a mitered corner, bias tape, or a rolled hem foot on our sewing machine:

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Bolt has several shelves 40% off right now-- which would make this project very affordable.