Make Your Own Faux French Tablecloth

I have had a soft spot for French table linen for a few years but somehow a tablecloth has never found its way to me. My dining room table was commissioned by my husband’s grandfather in 1926 and can comfortably seat 12, or even 14 at a push. So you can imagine that a beautiful, traditional French linen tablecloth of that size would be quite a sizable investment! In fact, I only have 2 tablecloths that are big enough and both of those we inherited with the table. Naturally, when I was left with a beautiful piece of double-width natural linen left after a project, I immediately started to employ it as a tablecloth. But I always felt that the traditional red or blue striped detail was lacking. And then it dawned on me: I have a red and natural woven ribbon! And that is how my faux French tablecloth came to be.

I first wrote this post in 2013, and now, 5 years later, I can honestly that this is one of my favourite tablecloths! We entertain regularly, and this one has featured numerous times!

You will need:

  • Linen or synthetic linen*
  • Woven cotton ribbon in the colours of your choice
  • Matching thread

*  Linen is an excellent and durable choice, although natural linen can be very costly. Synthetic linen is made from polyester. It is much more affordable, stable (won’t stretch or warp) and stain- and crease resistant. 

To determine the length of fabric needed, add 40cm (20 cm each side) to the length of your table. Most fabrics are 140cm wide, so that should be sufficient for the width of your table.


You will also need:

  • Pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron


linen and ribbon

Ensure that the fabric and ribbon are both prewashed to eliminate any risk for shrinkage. Then iron both to remove any creases.


french tablecloth diy

Lay the fabric on a table or other large, flat surface, and pin the ribbon down the centre of the fabric. Measure regularly to ensure you pin straight!


red striped ribbon

Carefully stitch the ribbon to the fabric, using a long straight stitch.

STEP 4: 

french tablecloth glass

Iron the tablecloth again and admire your work!

This is a super simple project! The only trick is to make sure that you don’t pull on the fabric as you stitch. This will prevent the tablecloth from warping down the middle.

Sometimes you really just have to relook things in a new way – you’ll be surprised at the possibilities right under your nose!

Happy Creating!

This post was originally published on August 26, 2014. It has since also appeared in my book, Make Your Home.

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