A great linen can really make a photo. But if you shopped for high quality tablecloths and runners frequently like I do, you’ll probably find yourself with sticker shock more often than you’d like. Some of the big name stores like Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn have pretty good sales, but I still find myself wincing if I have to pay more than $20 for a tablecloth and even on sale their good stuff may run more. Yes, I am that cheap.
Luckily, for photography, perfectly hemmed corners are rarely necessary. I invest in a few high-end cocktail and full sized napkins if I need to show a seam… the rest of the time, I simply use roughly cut fabric in 1 or 2 yard sizes. Sometimes I even like to show the frayed edges in my shots (but not often or it strikes me as a bit too contrived). Quilting quarters also make fantastic faux napkins.
If you are looking for some fun places for fabric, here are a couple I’ve recently discovered:
Pink Chalk Fabrics carries gorgeous designer printed fabric in really fun colors as well as some great solid linen and Kona cotton.
In Seattle, I like stopping in to Stitches to browse their selection. They always seem to have something new.