Organizing Theory & Artistry

DIY 78” Round Table Cover

The enormous dimensions of our round dining table.
The enormous dimensions of our round dining table.

If there is a theme to this month’s posts, it is removing small irritations from my everyday life. One such irritation is protecting our dining room table from spills.

The beautiful wood of the bare table.
The beautiful wood of the bare table.

We purchased a round dining table several years ago that, with leaves, extends to a generous 78 inches in diameter. It looks elegant in our square dining room and we generally love it. The downside, however, is that this is a very unusual size and shape for a dining room table—particularly when it comes to ordering tablecloths and table pads. If we had gone with a standard size rectangle, oval or smaller circle, we would have our pick of options. With our current table, there are some options but they are all pretty expensive.

Our first solution was to find the largest plastic round standard plastic table protector we could and place that on top of the table under a tablecloth. The plastic protector was a bit short and the 5 inches around the edge of the table were completely unprotected. For adults, this is probably not such a big deal. When kids enter the picture, this was a disaster because the children were ALWAYS spilling right on the edge of the table. Every spill left us scrambling to wipe it up as quickly as possible so it wouldn’t damage the wood.

This is one of those occasions where knowing how to sew saves me a heap of money.

78” round requires a lot of fabric just to cover the surface area. I wanted to find an inexpensive yet protective material. I came across some shower curtains at a discount store that gave me a lot of heavy plastic fabric for not much money. (Later, I also came across shower curtains at the dollar store and this is where I would look first if I were doing this again.)

The challenge: turn two rectangular shower curtains into a round table protector.
The challenge: turn two rectangular shower curtains into a round table protector.

I needed two 54” x 79” shower curtains (the biggest I could find) to cover my table. At first, I tried just laying them on the table and trying to angle them in a way that I could sew them together. This was just not working. There was not enough fabric in some places and too much in others. I needed to do some math.

Here is what I came up with.

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Our high-tech method of circle making.
Our high-tech method of circle making.

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For the most part, everything executed according to plan. It was a little difficult threading the 1/4″ elastic through the casing. It also required a very patient husband to help me stretch the finished cover on the table without ripping it. But in the end, I had exactly what I wanted!

The finished custom-fit table cover!  No more worries about spills on the edges.
The finished custom-fit table cover! No more worries about spills on the edges.
View from the underside -- a snug fit!
View from the underside — a snug fit!

One other thing to note about sewing with shower curtains is that there are lots of bits and pieces in the shower curtain that you might have to cut out or sew around. We cut out magnetic weights and metal hooks as well as some tabs with suction cups on them. It wasn’t a problem and I just sewed around these impediments. My clever daughter wasted no time re-using these scraps for Littlest Pet Shop accessories.

Excised shower curtain suction cups become LPS "cereal bowls."
Excised shower curtain suction cups become LPS “cereal bowls.”

With just a little math, this project came together so easily. I am not intimidated should I have to do this again and even have ideas to make custom-fit tablecloths as well so we don’t have to worry about anybody tugging on the tablecloth and pulling it askew.

What are the custom-fit challenges in your own home? Please share in the comments.