Sunday, September 07, 2008

How to Make a Simple Table Runner

Making a table runner is a quick and easy way to add colour or seasonal touches to your dining room, breakfast nook, or even a library table. Choose some great fabric, like this print from Anna Maria Horner and you'll have instant pizzazz.

First, collect your supplies.

Fabric - the amount depends on the length of the runner you want to make, but a yard or two is sufficient
Contrast fabric - I added a solid print for contrast - you can do this or not
Satin bias binding - instead of lining the runner, I finished the edges with 1/2 inch double folded ivory satin bias binding. Again, the amount depends on the size of your runner. Measure the length and the width and double it for the amount of bias binding needed, plus a few inches.

1. Determine the length and width of your table runner. I like about an 8 inch overhang. It's long enough to hang prettily and not too long to get in the way of anyone who might sit at the end of the table.
Since I'm finishing the edges with seam binding, I didn't have to take hem allowances into account. But I did add a contrast piece at each end, so I added 2 additional inches to the length of my runner for seam allowances. In addition, the contrast pieces were 9 inches each, so here are my calculations:

60 inch table length
+ 16 inches for overhang (2 x 8 inches)
+ 2 inches for seam allowances (4 seams for insert at 1/2 inch each)
- 18 inches for inserts (2 x 9 inches)

Total...60 inches of the main fabric.

I like a fairly wide runner, so I cut mine 18 x 60 inches.

2. Cut the contrast pieces. Mine are 18 inches wide x 9 inches long.

3. Determine where you want the contrast fabric to be inserted. I wanted them about 4 inches from the end of the table. So I cut the main fabric at 12 inches from each end. What I ended up with...

2 pieces of main fabric 12 x 18 inches (ends)
2 pieces of contrast fabric 9 x 18 inches (contrast insert)
1 piece of main fabric 36 x 18 inches (center of runner)

4. Stitch the pieces, right sides together, using 1/2 inch seams. Since I decided not to line this runner, I finished my seams with a close zigzag to prevent unsightly fraying. Press all seams towards the darker contrast pieces. If you use a lighter contrast, press towards the darker main fabric. You could also press the seams open and finish each seam allowance separately.

Make sure you stitch the contrast pieces in their correct placement. Here I am "unstitching" where I joined the end to the middle instead of to the contrast piece.

5. Apply the satin binding. Carefully open the binding and insert the raw edges of the runner into the binding. I like to use a really narrow zig zag stitch when applying bias binding. It seems to stay in place better.
I stitched the binding to both of the long edges of the runner first, then applied the binding to the ends, folding in the binding at each corner.

Voila, the finished runner.

If you make a runner, I'd love to hear about it. This is a quick and easy project.


  1. Hi Lorri, thanks for leaving me such a nice comment. I love this runner. Unfortunately my sewing machine only makes a ric rac stitch, so it needs to be repaired as I am very attached to it; I inherited it from my mother. Otherwise I would try your tutorial rightaway! Take care and have a great week!

  2. Oh its lovely, Really cheery pattern too.

  3. This is a great idea ! I tend to think of projects as "patchwork-pieced" - when in fact it could be faster and simpler ! Thanks for the idea !!! Quick and easy are really what I need right now.

  4. Thanks for the tute! I just ordered fabric for a runner yesterday...I might try the contrast fabric thing you did since I don't think I ordered enough fabric for an overhang.

  5. I am so glad I saw this on Sew Mama Sew - I have fabric (that I bought 8 months ago!) to make a runner for my mother in law's holiday table. Thanks for the reminder and ideas.

  6. I love this idea - this has definately given me the drive to try and make my own - thank you for the great tute.

  7. Love this. So glad SMS sent me here!

  8. Thank you for your simple tutorial - what a lovely project! I can't wait to make my own

  9. Hoping to find a fabric with the same design for it would look great on our dining table. I will visit one of my favorite haberdashery shop on weekends to buy some new materials.


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