I started with a table made for me by my husband, Jack. Since the entire table is going to be covered, there is no reason to use high quality woods. However, you should use a good quality, heavy plywood for the top to ensure that it will not warp down the road. Also, Jack made mine extra sturdy, as it was originally for our family meals.
For this project, I removed the old upholstered cloth, and chose a new silk to complement my living room furniture. The first step in making the new covering is to wrap the top with a flannel interlining, pulling it tightly over the edges of the tabletop, and stapling it to the underside of the table. This gives a lovely, smooth surface which will then make the silk lie elegantly, and disguise any imperfections in the plywood underneath.
Starting at each of the four compass points, put one or two staples in each "side". Then continue working out away from these four points, pulling your flannel tightly as you go, so that there are no bumps or ripples in the top surface. (I use a power staple gun, but a manuel one will do just as well.)
Since I was using a stripe, I had to be extra careful to pull the fabric evenly all the way around. Otherwise, the stripes would have become wavy. If you pull too tightly, or not enough, it is easy to remove staples with a screwdriver.
Cut a length about two and a half times the circumference of the table top, for the gathered skirt. Then, sew wide basting about 1/2" in, and another about 3/4" in from the top edge, that will be used to gather the cloth. (If you are using a lining, cut it the same size as the outer fabric, and baste through both layers, back-to-back. I usually do not use a lining here, as it makes the cloth too bulky when stapled onto the table, and it really isn't necessary.)
Starting from both ends of the length, and holding the two threads from the top of the fabric (not the underside threads) push the fabric along the threads inward toward the center of the skirt, gathering it up, as you go. After the fabric has gotten to the approximate length you need to go around your tabletop, even out the gathering, so that it is generally consistent all the way along. The last step here is to slowly sew, with fine stitching, over the gathering to hold it in place.
Now gently pin the gathered skirt around the circumference of the tabletop, so that you can tell exactly where to sew a seam from top to bottom, connecting the two ends of the length, so that your skirt is now one continuous circle. Iron the seam flat on the inside. Lastly, hem the cloth to the desired length.
At this point, you are ready to upholster the skirt onto the table. Begin by placing the seam at the back of the table, as it will be seen in your room (if there is a back). Holding the cloth upside down, and draped over the tabletop (so that the underside is facing up) staple the cloth to the edge of the tabletop, once or twice. Flip it over to the right side, to make sure it is at the level you want. If so, continue on, stapling all around the edge of the table.
To make a custom trim for the bottom hem of the skirt, I glued a large rickrack to a wide piece of grosgrain-like flat trim. I could have used the rickrack alone, but I felt that that would impart a more casual, country look to the hem. After the rickrack was adhered to the flat grosgrain, it had the look of a scalloped edge with a straight top, rather than a zigzag.
My final step was to attach this trim to the bottom of the skirt. I usually do this after the skirt is completely done, so that I can make sure it is exactly touching the floor, without dragging or being too short. The trim can be either sewed or glued onto the skirt, but I usually prefer gluing, as it doesn't show.
Et voila - the finished skirt!