# Thanksgiving Tablecloths 101

We had quite a journey furnishing the dining room in our new house–the room is not large, is square, and only has one outlet in it.  Long story short, we went on Craig’slist and found a stunning solid oak dining set from the early 1940s that not only fits the space, but it makes me happy every time I walk into the room.  Hooray!

Now, a new challenge–setting the table, complete with its three 11″ leaves–for Thanksgiving dinner.  The dishes and serving pieces are no problem–I’ve got that all laid out in my head, like the good plan-ahead Taurus that I am.  But the tablecloth has got me all kinds of worked up.  We bought one, but it was too short.  We laid out cloths we already owned, but they were too narrow.

Red alert!  I smell a math problem coming on….

If you’re having the same problem–how to choose a tablecloth that fits your table–here’s how to do the math.

How to Measure for a Tablecloth in 5 Easy Steps

1.  Measure your table, laying the tape measure across the center of the length and width- mine is 54″ x 87″ when it’s fully expanded.

2.  Decide how long you want the “drop” of the cloth to be.  This is the length that the cloth drapes over the side of the table and toward the floor.  From what I can find, a “formal” drop is 15 inches, but the average drop is between 10 and 12 inches.  For my table, I’ll go with the full 15″ formal – hey, it’s Thanksgiving!

3.  Multiply the drop length by 2, so 30″ in my case, and add that number to the length of the table.  In my case, 30″ (drop x 2) + 87″ (table length) = 117″.

4.  Do the same for the width of the table.  So, for my table, 30″ (drop x 2) + 54″ (table width) =  84″.

5.  Steps 3 and 4 are for rectangular, oblong, or oval tables.  For a square or round table, you’ll only need to do the calculation once and use a cloth that’s the same dimension long and wide.

Great.  Now all I need is a tablecloth that’s 84″ wide and 117″ long.  Which only leaves one problem….such dimensions don’t exist in ye olde marketplace.

So my choices at this point are to buy the closest thing I find in Williams-Sonoma or T.J. Maxx, or to head to the fabric store and choose a cloth to hem to my perfect dimensions.  And I have to say, that though I’ve felt some aggravation at how complex this task has turned out to be, I am kind of excited at the thought of having to invest a little bit of time and attention to this cloth.  Because after all, this is the first holiday we’re hosting in our new home, and what could make it more special than knowing that each piece of the celebration has been carefully thought out–right down to where we’ll rest the plates, forks, and loved ones’ elbows that we’re so, so lucky to have.

(image via: http://www.ehow.com)

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