How To Hem A Tablecloth By Hand

Well-stitched handmade hems are a qualifying signature for perfect garments, pillow covers, and furniture coverings. Although it takes more time to finish, it does wonder to a regular fabric. Now, want to beautify your table with a handmade hemmed tablecloth?

Handmade hems are single-stitched strands of threads. Again, besides being a mode to finishing fabric edges neatly, hand-sewn hems also serve as a decorative embellishment. Now, take your oddly structured table, for instance!

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to work on a tablecloth through hand-hemming methods? Given the popularity of DIY tablecloths, intermediate sewers can finish off the design within some hours. Incidentally, to learn how to hand-hem your favorite fabric for a tablecloth, keep reading the narrative below!

How To Hem A Tablecloth By Hand?

Once you learn the process of hemming your tablecloth by hand, you’d be able to stitch similar fabrics for holiday décor and special occasions. Now, even if you wish to give a token of love to someone, you can give a hand-sewn tablecloth.

Preparing For The Process:

To get started, you require having the following tools/equipment:

  • Iron & ironing board
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Fabric (of your choice)
  • Matching threads
  • Needles

Steps To Hem A Tablecloth By Hand

Step 1: Choose Your Fabric

Tablecloths are available in a diverse range of fabrics. However, as you’re on the verge of creating your own one, decide on the fabric first. As you do it, consider choosing any one of the following as these work accordingly:

  • Polyester blends
  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Oilcloth; more

Step 2: Getting The Measurements Of The Table

In this step, you’d require getting your measuring tape. Start from the top portion. In fact, for a seamless experience, draw a diagram while recording the measurements. Now, do it as mentioned below:

For Rectangle or Square Tables: So, measure its length & width

For Oval Tables: Measure from its longest side to another longest side. Now, go across the table’s center.

For Round Tables: Choose one side to measure and go to another side. Now, move across the table’s center.

Step 3: Selecting The Drop Length

Now, what do you mean by drop length? To give a brief narration, it’s the total amount of fabric dropping off from your tabletop. Apparently, three primary drop lengths are there for you to decide the length that you wish to choose!

Consider following the below-offered information:

  • Firstly, for short (ranging between 8 and 12 inches): Best for informal looks; Great for everyday purpose
  • Secondly, for mid-length (ranging between 16 and 24 inches): Best semi-formal length so far
  • Thirdly, for floor-length (ranging from 28 and 29 inches): A real formal look; generally used at tables that don’t have sitting arrangements

And, thinking of creating a custom drop length can also be an amazing choice. For this, you simply need to measure from the table’s edge and decide the length accordingly. Let’s say an 8” drop length for an unprofessional look.

Step 4: Considering The Perfect Way of Hand Stitching The Hem

Factually, machine sewing might be fast, but there’s always a specialty about hand stitching that draws customers’ attention. And much to the knowledge of sewers, there are five significant types of hand stitching hems. Here you go!

#1 Anchoring & Typing Off

To establish hand-stitching it, work with one arm thread length! Tie it off in the hem. You can begin sewing by stitching twice in that same position. Remember not to pull the thread through.

What you need to do is to pass your needle twice through the loop! Then, pull to tighten the knot down. When reached at the end of the thread, tie one knot in that same way.

Lastly, pass the needle through the layer of the fabric to hide the tail. Lastly, bring your needle out from the knot (maintain some inches difference)! And that’s it! Cut the thread!

#2 Catch Stitching

A USP of this hem is its elasticity and crisscrossing of threads! Thus, to achieve the stitch, make the needlepoint in the left direction. Take a small portion of the cloth above the folding.

Now, try making the stitch small so that it’s visible from the right side. Pull the thread up and move your needle to the right around 1/4″ to 1/2”. Take a small amount of hem cloth with your needle facing the left. Complete it.

You’ll see the hemstitch looks like “X’S”!

#3 Blind Stitches

It’s barely visible from either of the sides. However, the specialty of it is, it offers a geometric structure to your fabric. To begin with, press the hem allowance into a double fold.

Next, fold the hem towards the right side so that the edges are 1/8 inches! Work right to the left and choose a portion of your fabric for the folded edge. Ensure that you sew through just a single layer.

Also, stitch as small as you can! Move around ? inches to the fabric’s left and choose a tiny amount of fabric in the hem. Until you reach the end, continue.

Don’t forget to fold the hem down & press. Now, if you want to add variation to your design, use this technique and sew a catch stitch. It’ll give you the design of a blind catch stitch (which is, of course, stronger!).

#4 Hand Rolled Hem

For sheer, lightweight fabrics, hand-rolled hems work wonders. However, if you’re choosing thicker tablecloths, never go for this method.

To start, trim vertical seams in the hem allowance. It should be 1/8 inches. You can use a machine to baste around your hem in the hemline. But it’s better to use your hand for it.

To proceed, shorten the length of the stitch to around 1.5 & sew 1.8 inches below the fabric’s hemline. You can trim 6-8” of its excess fabric. Attach the end to something durable and stable. This will act as the third hand.

Then, pin it to the couch and put some weight on it! Roll the edges towards the wrong side. Just remember to stop at the basting stitches. The stitching line must get enclosed by the fabric’s roll.

Now, you can use slip stitches to stitch the roll. Then, roll & stitch! When you reach the trimmed edges, trim further as it prevents the stray strings from fraying! Continue until you reach the end. Now, remove the basting stitches.

So, these are the primary methods of hand-stitching hems in a tablecloth. Now, choose one correctly with regard to your requirement or preference.

Step 5: Calculate the Fabric Yardage

After adding the drop and hem length to all sides, ensure the amount of fabric you require. With your table’s length and drop length, divide the number by 36 inches. Now, this will find you the number of yards required for the fabric.

You can get yourself quilt backing fabrics and even measure around 108 inches in width. For this, you only need to purchase the exact amount of yardage for the table’s length.

Step 6: Cut The Fabrics

Now is the time when you need to calculate the fabric size. Based on the tabulated version below, you can proceed seamlessly:

Table TypeHow to Measure
Square or Rectangle TableCut the width and length of the fabric. Now, ensure that you include the amount for drops & hems lengths.
Oval tablePlace dinner plates on four sides of the fabric. Then, trace along with those plates)
Round tableFold your fabric in half. Then, mark the fold’s center. Now, use tape to measure the semi-circle from its mark. Lastly, cut accordingly

Step 7: Hem & Finish The Tablecloth

Now, create the hem for the tablecloth. To hand-stitch, consider choosing any one of the methods mentioned in step 4. However, it entirely depends on your choice to choose matching or contrasting threads!

Which Stitch Might Be The Best For Hemming?

Just in case you are a beginner, you can use a straight stitch to get a beautiful hand-hemming experience! In fact, you can also choose the slightly slanted whip stitches for the purpose!



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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