Monday, November 2, 2009

How To Make A Round Burlap Tablecloth

I decided this fall that I wanted a different look for our Thanksgiving table. So I looked at the trends and noticed that a lot of burlap is being used. Now I have never worked with burlap before.

I was pretty intimidated. Plus, I have made square tablecloths but never a round. Yet another challenge. I was pretty sure that this wasn't going to work out well.

But I really felt that this was the look that I wanted. So I decided to just get on with it. I went on line and got inspired and some instructions. The first blog that I noticed a really cute burlap tablecloth at, was Cherry Hill Cottage. Miss Tina had featured one of her friend's home and in her dinning room she used the most adorable little tablecloth. You can see her pictures here.
Thank you Tina

When I bought the fabric, the gal at JoAnn's said not to preshrink....but she also looked at me funny when I told her that I was making a tablecloth for Thanksgiving.....
didn't figure she was the expert.

So .... I looked a little more and found a darling blog.Eileen at Star's Fault shared that you can and should preshrink the fabric. Which certainly made more sense to me. Plus it gave the fabric the more relaxed feel that I wanted. She also has a beautiful blog. You can see her pictures here.

And then the last bit of help I got was from I have included their instructions below. My comments are italicized in parentheses.

About.Com How to Make a Round Table Cloth

Determine how much fabric you'll need.
Measure the diameter of the top of the table. To that number, add 2 times the amount you want the tablecloth to hang from the top all the way around. If you want a floor length tablecloth, measure from the top of the table to the floor. Double that number and add the result to the diameter. Add 1 1/2 inches (3/4" all the way around) for the diameter of the piece of fabric you'll need.
Prepare the fabric.

( I washed my Burlap 2 times before I did anything with it. If you don't prewash the fabric you won't be able to wash it once it is done. It shrinks and ravels a lot. Because it is so inexpensive I purchased twice the amount that I thought that I needed.)
Sew panels of fabric together to create a square whose width is the diameter of the circle you've planned to make. Use the full width of the fabric panel for the center section and add the needed widths on each side.

Sew the fabric.
Sew the side panel or panels to the center panel, keeping the seams straight. Finish the seam allowance on the underside by zigzagging or overstitching.
( with the burlap, all of the seams have to be overstitched to prevent raveling.)
Carefully press the seams flat, pressing the seam allowance to one side of the panel.
(I used high heat and steam, but it will still be wrinkled)
If your fabric has a pattern or plaid, be sure to match the pattern or lines of the plaid so that the top of the tablecloth is perfect.
Measure for the round.
Fold the panel in half, corner to corner.
Fold the panel again along the folded edge from corner to corner. You now have a square of fabric, four layers thick, with all the folded edges along one side.

Get ready to trace the outline.
Tie a pencil or piece of fabric-marking chalk onto the end of a piece of string. Cut the string to a length 1/2 the diameter of the desired finished tablecloth plus the hem allowance. Tie a knot in the free end.
Secure the knot of the sting into the folded corner of the fabric panel with a pin.
Mark the pattern.
Starting at one side edge, trace the length of the string onto the fabric, marking an arc onto the fabric.
Cut the round.
Remove the string and cut through all four layers of fabric along the marked outside edge. You'll now have a circle of fabric the desired diameter for your tablecloth, plus the hem allowance.
(I had to do 2 layers at a time)

Prepare the hem.

(I saved myself a lot of time by cutting my 3 inch ruffle on the salvage. No hemming needed!)
Place the fabric circle right-side-down on an ironing board. Fold up the 3/4 inch hem and press up all the way around.
With pins, fold under the raw cut edge of the fabric and pin the hem in place.
Sew the hem.
Carefully either hand-sew or machine-sew the hem around the outer edge, taking care to keep the stitches an even distance from the edge.

Finishing touches.
Press the finished panel, carefully keeping the hem flat and even.


Be sure to purchase enough fabric. A round tablecloth takes much more fabric than you'd think.
Consider using a decorative king-size sheet for your fabric. You'll get a lot of coverage for the money and might not have to piece the panels together.

Be sure your scissors are sharp and strong. It might be difficult to cut through four layers of fabric.

Have a large, clear surfact to work on. A dining room table or clean floor is the best place so that you can spread things out.

For a decorative touch, add fringe, beading, or cording around the bottom edge.

This ended up being a really fun and easy project. I bought enough burlap to do 2 tables for less than $20.00. I hope you will try it and let me know how yours come out.


Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

What a unique and creative tablecloth that would blend so well with the season and it's color. Thanks for sharing this lovely idea.

Have a wonderful fun fall day!!!

Debra Howard said...

That turned out really sweet. How nice it would look with autumn place settings and decorations.

Blondie's Journal said...


It sounds complicated to make but I absolutely love how it turned out and it looks marvelous!! Great job!!


Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Your tablecloth is just beautiful. I am sure the Pilgrims would be so proud of you. That is probably all they had if anything to cover their tables with. Stop and think about it. It made for a very original tablecloth, and I am thrilled that you shared it with me today. You did a beautiful job. Country hugs, Sherry

Anonymous said...

It is gorgeous! I just love the browns and blues too! Awesome!!!

Nanette said...

Hi Liz,
Your tablecloth turned out wonderful. Like the idea of cutting the ruffle on the bias. Very nice indeed!

Decor To Adore said...

This is perfection! Well done!

Oliva Ohlson said...

You're an accomplished seamstress! I really like the "look" of burlap and it goes so well with fall!

Marigene said...

♥ your burlap tablecloth...did it soften much after washing it?

Lisa said...

First of all yes, I did watch Mad Men season end. AWESOME, all I can say is I am so sad it's over for the season. Best show ever.
Now, your burlap tablecloth is amazing. I have a round table in my den that I have wanted to make one for. Yours is so cute. Love the ruffle at the bottom. I have always heard not to wash burlap because it would just fall apart in the wash. Good idea to start with double yardage. Did you use regular old burlap? Not linen burlap? Thanks, Lisa

food with style said...

hi liz thanks, for stopping by fws, you asked how i pick the pics, if you would like to be included, send me an email and i will add you in, thats how!

i post a group of new pics everday showing the many talented and beautiful food and table pics, i love your turkey table, it would be a great addition!

Sarah said...

Fantastic! I think you were brave to take this on. Burlap probably isn't easy to sew on. Doesn't it pull and stretch out of shape? ~ Sarah

Gabrielle Mader said...


I too found Tina and Monicas burlap tablecloth too cute. I would like to know if yours shrunk a lot. I already started on mine (it's a rectangular one} and appreciate your tips, i too am intimitaded.