a few answers to THE MOST frequent questions.

What is oilcloth?

Traditionally it was 'oiled cloth', as in a canvas cloth coated with linseed oil to render it waterproof. This was then used for tents, outdoor clothing, tablecloths, etc. Nowadays it is a fairly generic term for fabric with a pvc or acrylic coating.

How to measure

When you are buying oilcloth for a tablecloth you will need to know know the dimensions of your table and to have decided how much overhang you would like to have. Whilst the overhang is a very personal choice, generally 20 cms on each side and end is acceptable.
You will need to measure your table and add 40 cms to the length and 40 cms to the width. You may, however want a smaller or larger overhang, but the method will be the same. Please check the width of the chosen oilcloth against the width of your table. If is wider, oilcloth can be trimmed accordingly. If it is too narrow, then it will not cover the table adequately.

So, now you have  your measurements you know that if your table measured 2 metres by 1 metre, the amount of oilcloth you would require for your tablecloth would be approximately 2.5 metres.

By following these simple steps, it will help to make sure that you are not disappointed.
We sell oilcloth by the half metre so you need to take this account when adding to the cart. If, for example, you require a 2.5 metre length, then put 5 in the quantity box (5 x 0.5 = 2.5). This will, of course, be sent in one continuous length.

Circular tablecloths will be cut to the smallest dimension ordered. Please ensure you have ordered enough oilcloth for the size you require.

How to choose

If you are at all unsure of the colour or design we highly recommend that you send for samples. The first two are free. Please note that our oilcloths are cut to order so cannot be returned if you are not happy with the colour.

Staining

Oilcloth is resistant to most stains, so is great for the kitchen. However, it is not completely foolproof, so do be a bit careful with curry, tomato, oil and salad dressings, lipstick, newsprint and felt tipped pens! In fact, anything you suspect of having a strong dye capable of travelling. We cannot take responsibility for staining so please treat it with care, don't leave anything on it which may stain, and wipe it clean after use.

Cleaning

To clean your PVC oilcloth, just wipe with a damp, soapy cloth. If really stubborn try some neat bleach, but on a place where it won't notice to begin with. The acrylic oilcloths can be wiped with a damp, soapy cloth too, and also can be machine washed. If it is a linen one then to 30 degrees. If it is cotton, then to 40 degrees. Don't tumble dry them, but when they are dry, it is imperative to iron on the reverse. This re-activates the water and stain resistance.

Creases

If your oilcloth has been delivered folded we recommend that it is taken out of the package and laid flat as soon as possible. Dark colours with pvc coatings can mark if creased and we really recommend that these are delivered on a roll.If you need to remove creases you can gently iron on the reverse side, or run a warm hairdryer over it. Alternatively leave it in the sun.

Coated side up

This may seem silly, but please make sure you are using your oilcloth with the correct side facing up. Just occasionally a customer has reported excessive staining and it has been due to them using it with the coated side underneath. This will not keep it clean or dry. On some of the French ones, the coating is almost imperceptible, but you will always be able to discern a faint sheen. This is the coating and it faces upwards.

Heat

It is heat resistant but not heat proof. Please protect from hot pans.

Edges

There is generally no need to hem the edges, but if you want something really stylish, then you can of course, sew a coloured binding around the edges.

Outdoor use

We use it in the garden, where it resists rain, protects the table, and looks good too. It will eventually fade in the sun, but who minds anyway!

It is available in a fabulous range of designs and colours, and with the average width being about 132-137cms for pvc, and wider ones, up to 180 cms, available in the acrylic range.

Sewing

Another frequently asked question is 'how do I sew oilcloth'. Well, it isn't too difficult really, because it doesn't fray, but we find that a teflon foot on the sewing machine works brilliantly and stops the oilcloth gripping the foot. Alternatively, you could stick a strip of masking tape to the underside of your machine foot. Large stitches help too.The acrylic coated oilcloth is pretty much like sewing fabric. No trouble!