Back about 8 years ago, shortly after Sean and I bought our first house, we bought an ugly but sturdy octagon oak table at a garage sale. The finish was in bad shape, but it was always a temporary solution. Because it was temporary, we never really took any precautions prevent it from becoming more dinged up or stained, so it got even uglier. Someday I'd like to have a great mid-century modern dining set, but it's probably not going to be any time soon. I need to finally face the fact that this table is not a temporary solution.
A tablecloth is the obvious solution to this problem. Because I'm a slob and I hate doing laundry, it needed to be something durable that could be easily wiped down after meals.
I ordered vinyl oilcloth fabric from Fabric.com. It comes in some really fun retro style prints. The fabric was only a couple of inches wider than my table, so I sewed 6" strips along each side and cut it all 12" longer than the table. The oilcloth was surprisingly easy to sew. I used binder clips to hold it together to avoid making holes with pins, but otherwise it sewed up like any other fabric. It is heavy and stiff, so it was a bit awkward to maneuver such a large piece around. I cut radius corners using a large pot lit as a guide and sewed packaged extra wide bias tape on as a trim. The fabric won't fray, but I like the finished look of the bias tape.
Now we'll get many more happy years out of our cheap garage sale table!