In Victorian times, tables and even pianos had draped fabric covers; it was thought socially unacceptable to reveal their legs. Today, a table skirt conveys a sense of gracious elegance rather than misplaced prudery. Table skirts are particularly charming when coordinated with a unique print used elsewhere in the room or made from festive holiday fabrics. Follow the simple steps below to make a table skirt that especially suits your decor.
Measure the diameter of your round table. Measure the height of your table. To determine how much fabric you will need to make your table skirt is easy. Add twice the height to the diameter. For example, your table is 36 inches in diameter and stands 27 inches high. Add 27 + 27 + 36 = 90 inches. To make a skirt for this round table, you will need fabric 90 inches wide and 90 inches long. Since no sewing fabric comes 90 inches wide, buy 2 lengths of 45- or 54-inch fabric and join them with a narrow (1/4-inch) seam. For a square or rectangular table, measure width and length of table top; to each add twice the height to determine the full amount of fabric you will need.
Center your fabric on the table once you have seamed the lengths together. With an extra pair of hands or a heavy book to keep the fabric from shifting, smooth the fabric and secure it with a line of masking tape that presses the fabric against the edge of the table, all the way around the edge.
Cut the bottom edge of the skirt by lining up the secured fabric with the floor. Decide how you would like to finish your skirt. If fabric lies on the floor, trim 2 to 4 inches of excess and pin a hem. If you prefer, trim fabric so that it just meets the floor and finish the hem with binding tape or fringe.
Those planning to make a variety of skirts for a table find it useful to make a pattern out of an old sheet. Secure the sheet as described above and cut. From then on, you can use the pattern rather than fitting each skirt to the table.
Skirts for a banquet or dinner table look best when chairs are set so that seats do not touch the skirt. Guests will position chairs comfortably when they sit down.
Any fabric used for a table skirt should be washed or dry-cleaned, as required, before you make your skirt. This saves any concern over shrinkage before you begin to work. While washable fabrics make the most sense for cocktail or food-serving tables, a bedside or living room table can accommodate silky, velvety or brocade fabrics if desired.