Match a fitted cloth to the special occasion.

How to Make a Fitted Tablecloth

by Linda Erlam

A fitted tablecloth adds a tailored look to your table setting. If the table is used as a dining table, the open-ended side pleats allow the side sections to move up and over laps. Making your own fitted cloth ensures that you get the right fit and the right fabric to complement your decor. Make one of white canvas for a child's birthday and let them paint it to commemorate the occasion. Your beginner's sewing skills will see you through to a successful project completion.

Measure the width and length of the table. Add 1 inch to each measurement and cut the tablecloth fabric to this measurement.

Measure from the top of the table to the required length down the side. Add 1/2 inch to the measurement and double the result for the cut length of the side section. The pattern on the side section should run perpendicular to the tabletop, or parallel to the length edge of the side section. This corresponds to the print direction of home decor fabric, which is typically parallel to the length edge.

Cut the side sections. Cut two equal to the width of the table plus 1 inch, and two equal to the length of the table plus 1 inch and equal in length to the measurement for the side section. For a table 36 inches wide and 50 inches long, with a required side length of 12 inches, cut two pieces 37 inches wide and 25 inches long and two pieces 51 inches wide and 25 inches long.

Fold the side pieces right sides together, matching the width edges, and sew the length edges with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Turn the pieces right side out. Press the seams and the fold. Sew across the top raw edges with a 1/3-inch seam allowance.

Cut four pieces of fabric 13 inches wide and 25 inches long. Fold them right sides together, matching the width edges, and sew the length edges with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. These are the corner pleat lining sections. Turn them right side out and press the bottom edge fold and side seams.

Match the raw edges of one end section to the raw edges on one end of the cloth. Pin the two together with pins placed perpendicular to the raw edge. Match and pin the remaining three sections.

Fold a pleat lining section in half along the width edge. Place a pin at the fold. Align this pin to a corner of the cloth. Pin the lining to the cloth, half on a length side, half on a width side. Pin the remaining three pleat lining pieces in place.

Sew around the perimeter of the cloth with a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Press the seam toward the hem of the side sections.

Serge the seam, if required, to prevent fraying during laundering.

Items you will need

  • Tape measure
  • Tablecloth fabric
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Serger (optional)


  • Prelaunder the fabric to prevent shrinkage later.

About the Author

Linda Erlam started writing educational manuals in 1979. She also writes a biweekly newspaper column, "Design Dilemmas," in the "Lakeshore News" and has been published in "Design and Drapery Pro" magazine. Erlam is a graduate of the Sheffield School of Interior Design and is a practicing interior decorator and drapery workroom operator.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images