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“Last Minute” Thanksgiving Tablecloth

dish towel tablecloth

They say that NECESSITY is the MOTHER OF INVENTION….well, I was in need of some SERIOUS invention intervention yesterday! I had a list a mile long of stuff to do before Thanksgiving and ONE of them was to find a tablecloth. Sounds simple enough huh? Au contraire!

I went to four different stores in search of a Thanksgiving tablecloth and came up empty-handed. I was even willing to entertain the idea of a SLIGHTLY Thanksgiving-ISH tablecloth at one point…just SOMETHING that I could pass off as a “Thanksgiving tablecloth”. But no. Nothing.

I could have bought a dozen CHRISTMAS tablecloths…but not a single Thanksgiving/Fall/Autumn to be found. As a matter of fact…there wasn’t hardly ANYTHING of a Thanksgiving nature to be found!  Come on retailers…I realize there is pressure to SELL, SELL, SELL at Christmastime….but give Thanksgiving a chance too!  You just lost out on a BIG SALE! At one point I was close to paying ANYTHING for a Thanksgiving tablecloth. Big mistake. ;-)

So here is where the NECESSITY and INVENTION come in!

While there wasn’t much to choose from in an Autumn motif, I did manage to find a few dish towels. Of course I couldn’t find enough of one kind to make a tablecloth. However, there were enough of three DIFFERENT dish towels (that were all in the same “family”) to create a “tablecloth quilt” of sorts. At this point I was desperate…so I grabbed 3 of each (for a total of 9) and brought them home PRAYING I could figure something out.

dish towel tablecloth

At about 9pm last night I finally got around to my tablecloth project. I lucked out and found a spool of yellow thread in my sewing box that actually worked quite well with the dish towels (I feared I was going to have to use white because at THIS point I was NOT going to another store!)

Unfortunately, since I was making this thing up as I went along and had NO idea if it was even going to work, I didn’t take any pictures of the process.

About the only help I can provide at this point is this little graphic I made showing the order in which I sewed the edges of the towels together. And I do literally mean I sewed the edges together. I simply butted the finished edges of the dish towels up against each other and zig-zagged them together. No seam allowances to deal with.

thanksgiving tablecloth

Since the towels were not all completely square OR the exact same size….there was a little bit of trimming involved, but, surprisingly, not much. The whole project went about as smoothly as I could have hoped for! Which I was very appreciative of…especially after the lesson in futility and frustration I had just gone through at the stores. :-)

So that is my VERY Last Minute Thanksgiving Tablecloth! I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, considering how little thought went into the whole thing.  I’m thinking I might just make one DELIBERATELY (and not just out of desperation) for Christmas! I have seen SO many CUTE Christmas dish towels out there this year that would work perfectly for this. I might even take a few pictures next time. ;-)

dish towel tablecloth     
I want to wish each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for being such an important part of my life.

I’m truly grateful for the community that you have helped me create here.

I hope it continues for a very long time to come. :-)

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee



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  • Every year Kmart has several Thanksgiving tablecloths. I have bought some the following week for half price or less to save for next year. Same with Christmas.

  • I’ve also been annoyed at the lack of fall table cloth options. This year I decide enough was enough and I went to the hardware store and bought a canvas paint tarp. A nice off white canvas color, a little rustic feeling (which I wanted for this holiday) and it stands up to anything. :) A few seasonal gourds in the middle of the table and PRESTO, instant, easy Thanksgiving table. I received lots of comments asking where I’d found such a perfect Thanksgiving table cloth!

  • Another idea you might try is to go to the fabric store like Hancock’s or JoAnn’s Fabrics where they stock lots of Thanksgiving/fall theme fabrics. The week before Thanksgiving, they are usually on sale.The width is 45 to 48 inches . Several years ago, I bought 1.5yards , hem the edges, so that I would have a square topper to go on top of a neutral color tablecloth. Then I just change the topper for each season!

  • I had the same problem – was in need of a Thanksgiving tablecloth and none to be found! Luckily I found in my closet the remnants of a cloth shower curtain that I had made a window curtain out of! I cut it in half and butted the two ends together much like you did and it worked perfectly. Too bad the stores are in such a hurry to stock Christmas stuff so early!

  • Altho not doing T Day at my house–the local Inn is VERY nice !!!! I have in the past done the sheet-as-tablecloth and even used a chocolate brown flat sheet with fall color mats or napkins as mats or runners. I also have used un-quilted antique quilt tops with solid napkins. And a nice old red-and-white check tablecloth that doesn’t quite fit my table but looks cute with the old pine ends of the table showing!

    I have also used all of these as Christmas tree skirts.

    The Inn however has their OWN tablecloths!!!!!!! LOL!


  • Happy Thanksgiving! You’re such an inspiration and I love that I don’t have to spend money I don’t have. My son just got out of the hospital with bacterial pneumonia so we’re spending the day with just the 4 of us. I’m sipping tea reading all your wonderful articles that I have missed. Such a bright spot to my day!

  • WOW! Whenever something like that comes together so beautifully for me, I never let the secret out to my guests. I let them think I stayed up nights to figure out what more I could do for them ;) You did a great job. So was it made from napkins or dish towels (the linen type or terry)? I think after use I would take them apart.
    My latest trick for easy decorating is that I buy, online & only on clearance, Vera Bradley napkins (20″ SQ). Nice & big as place mats, I think you once showed us a table runner from napkins, could do a cloth like yours with a little table padding underneath, buffet/mantle display, basket liners & of course use as napkins. I even made a purse from them. Every season there are more on sale (I paid just over $3 each). I am sure you would come up with all kinds of things. Best part they are so colorful- they can pull off multiple celebrations/seasons.
    Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

  • I love this! I think when hubby gets my dining table built, I will be making one of these. Maybe not with kitchen towels, but some fabrics. I live in a house that looks like an old farm house, and am wanting to decorate it in that style. It is a work in progress and may never be finished in our lifetime. But it does make life interesting and active to be working toward a goal. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  • AWESOME! But too bad I saw it Thanksgiving morning…and nope, I’m not venturing out…However, I might be willing to search the clearance bins in a day or two and have it ready for next year. Thanks for sharing..

  • I think it’s adorable and much better looking than so many of the tablecloths out there!
    Thanks for all your great posts! Love every one of them.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  • I like it. Never would have thought of butting them together. — Since I have a round table it is would not work for me. — This is the reasons that when I see a round table cloth I like I buy it.

  • I know what you went through Jillee! I, in the past, have used a solid colored flat sheet and added placemats and or towels as a runner to give it seasonal look I wanted. Happy Thanksgiving!

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