Half-Hour Table Runner Tutorial

Who else likes to make projects that are super-quick and show off some adorable new fabric you just had to buy?

Here’s a table runner you can make from start to finish in about half an hour. The author of the original tutorial from Iowa Living Magazines claims that she made hers in just 10 minutes! But I am only human, and I was watching old episodes of Teen Wolf on TV while I made this, so it took me half an hour. But it really is easy! A big thanks to author Suzanne Sievers for designing this clever project, which I would never have been able to think of for myself.

All you need to make this table runner is two fabrics: 1/3 yard of a focus fabric and 1/2 yard of a coordinating fabric for the background and the reverse side. My focus fabric was this chicken print from Urban Zoologie by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman Fabrics, and the background fabric was a red and white polka dot from Moda. Be sure to choose fabrics that don’t face only in one direction. See how my chickens face in all different directions? And of course polka dots look the same from every direction. Directional fabrics don’t work so well for table runners because at least half of the people viewing them will see the pattern upside down.

Half Hour Table Runner Fabrics

 

Cut a 12″ strip (1/3 yard) of the focus fabric and an 18″ strip (1/2 yard) of the coordinating fabric. Cut both strips the full width of your fabric, from selvage to selvage. Put the strips with one raw edge together and right sides facing each other, then pin to keep the edges aligned. The background fabric strip will be quite a bit wider than the focus fabric strip. Don’t worry — that’s all part of the plan.

Lay Fabrics with Right Sides Together

Sew the fabrics together along the pinned edge. I meant to use a 1/4″ seam, but I ended up sewing a 1/2″ seam, and the table runner still turned out looking good.

Align the other raw edges together and sew in the same way. You will end up with a tube that has a lot of extra background fabric between the two seams.

Half Hour Table Runner Tube with Extra Fabric

Turn the tube right side out. The tube in my photo is almost completely turned.

Turn Tube Right Side Out

Flatten the tube out and center the focus fabric so there is an equal strip of background fabric on each side. Once you are satisfied with the edges, press the tube flat.

Focus Fabric Centered in Tube

Square up the top and bottom edges and trim off the selvages.

Square up and Trim off Selvages

Fold the tube in half lengthwise, with the two edge strips aligned together, like this:

Fold Tube in Half with fold in center of focus fabric

 

Sew the narrow top and bottom edges with a 1/4″ seam. Backstitch at the beginning and end of your seams. Once you have the seams sewed, press the seam allowances open. This is a bit awkward, but do your best.

After the seams are pressed open, turn the two ends of the tube inside out. This will make a triangle at each end of the table runner. I used a bamboo chopstick to poke out the point of the triangle.

Turn triangle inside out

Straighten the triangle so the seam line is centered and the top of the triangle is perpendicular to the outer edges of the runner. Mine, you can see, hadn’t quite reached the stage of perfect alignment when I took this photo.

Center seam and straighten triangle

Stitch down the wide end of the triangle to secure it. I used decorative stitches from my sewing machine’s memory, but you could use any stitch you like, or buttons or other embellishments that strike your fancy. I also sewed down the side seams with a second decorative stitch, because I just love stitching long lines of decorative stitches.

And here is the finished table runner. It looks small, but it actually measures 14″ x 42″. I liked making this so much that I think I’m going to make another one in Fourth of July Fabrics. And since I don’t have any suitable fabrics, that means a trip to the fabric store! Care to join me?

Finished Table Runner

Updated 10/14/2017:

Well, what do you know? We found a short video that shows how to make this table runner. Here it is, in case you would like to see it:

  • May 28, 2015

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Felicity Walker
 

Felicity Walker is the author of the best-selling Quilting for Beginners book series and other books for quilters. She has been quilting for nearly twenty years and loves finding easier, faster, and more fun ways to make quilts.

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