Table Cloths

Our family is in the spilling drink phase of life. Every night, almost without fail, a child will knock a drink over. It has made my mantra of "a nice table cloth must be on the table for dinner" a bit testing. It's certainly creating extra work, as their washing/drying now happens daily. (Thank goodness  my mantra doesn't require ironed cloths as well!) 
So I'm asking myself the question: Are table cloths past their use-by date?
When I typed the two words in to ebay, I came up with almost 20,000 hits. But that could mean either they're very popular, or everyone is trying to get rid of them..

Over the years, I've tried a number of different table cloth options.

When I first got married I used some lovely lace ones (my mother-in-law had given me as a present) that were very romantic. In those years prior to having children I think I probably had the same cloth on the table for at least a week at a time. Funnily enough I don't recall Jonathan or I ever spilling our drinks.

Now, with kids, the lace cloths have been banished to the back of the linen cupboard, possibly for good.

A favoured option for the first few toddler years was a retro orange PVC number I found in a sale bin at IKEA. Unfortunately candles on a birthday cake burnt several holes in it. However I've resurrected it as an underlayer to the top layer cloth, to save the parquetry top from the nightly drenching of the drink spilling.

For a while I became an Ikeahacker by using their cheap and attractive single bed quilt covers as table cloths. I liked the double cotton thickness and the patterns (red and white floral/olive green geometric/etc) and we got the added bonus of 2 pillowcases to go with it!
There used to be a chain of stores known as Mr Tablecloth where you could pick up reasonably priced Asian made embroidered cloths in various sizes and descriptions. The clientele wasn't exactly hip. Most of the shops quietly disappeared and my well used cloths eventually fell apart.

I have tried using nice bed sheets and yards of unhemmed material (due to my lack of sewing ability) which worked for a while.

Currently I am using a mixed collection of mainly french inspired (but not french made) checks, stripes and damasks. Some from department stores others from op shops. One favourite is a cute pink, black and white 1950s vintage cloth a friend bought me. It always makes me smile and think of her when we use it (and spill drinks on it, sorry Victoria).
Finally, I've looked many times with great longing on line or in exquisite home wares shops at the real french heavy linen/cotton/silk table cloths; but the expense (and time of our lives) doesn't quite justify the investment.
Whatever the challenges I think I'll persist in using table cloths, whether they're an outdated notion or not. Their appearance, even when covered in yet another spilt juice says that the table matters, that dinners together with family and friends matter, that you've taken the time to make things look nice, and that the sit down meal is not an outdated notion.  At least that's what I hope it shows.

Tell me what you think of the humble table cloth - and whether you agree.


  1. You have share a very nice information about a table cloth which really a helpful to me. I want to buy a new table clothes for a my dining rooms table so i hope that this information will be helpful for me to choose a best design and material made table cloths.

    Linen Tablecloth

  2. Glad you are a table cloth fan too! A great option is actually the oilcloth material (like a pvc but nicer) that looks like a fabric, but cleans up like a plastic (ie. spills just wipe off!). That's what I'll be trying next anyhow. Cath Kidston has beautiful oilcloths if you like her floral/retro designs. Let me know how you go! sbdx


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