For years I have used a plastic tablecloth purchased by the yard at Jo-Ann Fabrics. It worked very well, but stained very easily.
A couple of years ago I found a fabric tablecloth at a thrift store for a dollar. It was the first time I ever considered using one and was amazed at how much I liked using it and how easy it was to keep clean.
Finding a used tablecloth for a good price has been a fun challenge. The cheapest one I've found to date, was 75-cents at a garage sale. It is a blue cotton gingham with large print and the fabric has a nice body.
Recently I was shopping at the thrift store and came across this maroon cotton gingham shower curtain that was just like my blue tablecloth. It was under 2-dollars, so I decided to buy it in hopes of making it into a tablecloth.
After measuring, I noticed the shower curtain was too wide on the long side of my table and too short on the end. After trimming off the sides, I added this extra fabric to the ends, even though it was impossible to match the plaid stripes, and now I have another tablecloth.
An added bonus to using a shower curtain for a tablecloth? I now have a dozen very nice clear buttons for a future sewing project!
The same day I found the shower curtain, I also found a cherry print tablecloth trimmed in red gingham.
It was way too long for my table, so I simply folded, stitched, trimmed and top stitched one side.
This one just may be my new favorite.
While searching for a tablecloth big enough to fit my table, I am buying anything that is too small and turning them into more kitchen towels (like these).