This simple, cheerful tablecloth with matching cloth napkins are a snap to sew with men’s shirting fabrics – the woven selvage edge can serve as a casual “hem,” while the raw edges of the napkins, reinforced with a straight row of stitches, fray to a soft and comfortable edge. This tablecloth is perfect for a late-summer picnic lunch or a weeknight dinner with friends.

picnic tablecloth

Note: Use any 54-60” wide men’s cotton shirting fabrics you like from local or online fabric stores. I found these double-sided soft cotton plaids at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store here in Portland, Oregon.

plaid fabrics.jpg

For one tablecloth and 6 napkins, you’ll need:
3 yards of any men’s shirting fabrics (54-60” wide)
Matching Coats & Clark thread
Scissors, iron, sewing machine, measuring tape

1.    Measure and mark your 3-yard (108”) length of fabric at the 80” point to create your tablecloth. Cut your fabric from side to side there, following a plaid or pattern line – or if your fabric is woven the way mine is, you can make a small cut at the selvage and tear your fabric all the way across (be sure to test it first on a small scrap!). Remove any stray threads from both short ends and press them neatly.
2.    Back-stitching at the beginning and end of your seam, stitch a line 3/8” from the raw edge to reinforce it and stop fraying at that point.You’ll see the woven selvage here on the left, and the stitch line at the bottom of the tablecloth edge.

tablecloth edge.jpg

Note: If you’d like a more polished and finished look for your tablecloth and napkins, just turn and press the edges under twice on all sides and sew a simple double-fold hem with a straight stitch, folding or mitering your corners, instead of leaving the selvages and letting the raw edges fray.

3.    Now, remove selvages and cut or tear your remaining 28” section of fabric from step 1 at the halfway point, into two 14” wide sections. Cut or tear these two sections into six 14” squares, setting scraps aside, to create your napkins.

napkin corner.jpg
4.    Press all six squares, remove loose threads, and stitch each napkin around the perimeter, 3/8” in from the edges. Back-stitch at the beginning and end to hold the seam.

cloth napkins

5.    Set the table or head out to the patio!

patio tablecloth.jpg

About the Author


Susan Beal is a craft writer in Portland, Oregon who loves to sew and drink coffee. Her blog is at West Coast Crafty and she’s also the historian for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild.

One Response to Make a simple, cheerful tablecloth + napkins set
  1. What can I use between the layers to make it more “padded”. I have stone insets in the table top. Have used light weight batting but it doesn’t drape of course.

    Thanks!


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