I’ve been looking to make something new for our living room lately, and when I spotted two fat quarters of fabulous Moda Bonnie & Camille ‘April Showers’ fabric in my local haberdashery store I HAD TO BUY THEM and make a table runner. That was it, decision made! The colour theme for our living room is should be red, but we currently have a large blue sofa and some other colourful odds and ends, so I tried to tie together some of those in the runner as well.
Just look at those wonderful little umbrellas.
There are a few tutorials on making a table runner floating around on the internet, all very good. My main inspiration was this one on the Vanessa Christenson blog, but I’ve written out my steps and measurements for you in case it helps!
- Measure your table. Sounds obvious I know, but you need to be sure of the width as well as the length to make sure you can make the most of your fabric. I knew I wanted my runner to hang down either end of my table and also allow room for coasters/mug rugs either side. I planned for my table runner to be approximately 59 inches x 10 inches.
- Cut your backing fabric. To save a little cash, I bought a metre of fabric and cut it in half lengthways and joined it together. It’s a fairly plain red material and the join was hardly visible on the reverse once I’d pressed the seam open and flat.
*Tip* Iron everything. Again, soooooo obvious to an experienced sewer, but you’ll be quilting all the layers together and if you have any creases you run the risk of sewing them in and not being able get rid of them later!
- Cut your wadding. The blog I mentioned above tells you to cut the wadding smaller than your backing fabric; I didn’t understand why and naively ignored the advice…….. Although it didn’t ruin my runner, it made sewing on the binding slightly trickier. Oops. Note to self, read instructions properly and THINK about why someone is telling you to do something!
- Cut strips of fabric for the top of your runner. You can choose to make your strips varying widths but make sure they’re long enough to cover your wadding and backing fabric. My self-imposed OCD on symmetry won’t allow for anything that might be construed as ‘random’. I have twenty-five strips on my runner, all originally 3 inches wide.
*Tip* Because haberdashers are such lovely, generous people and realise that a little extra goes a long way, my fat quarters were a little larger than they were advertised. I found that the most economical way to create strips from my fat quarters was to fold the material in half to make an area approximately 10 inches by 21 inches. I could then trim the edges where necessary and cut strips 3 inches wide. Each of these strips (now 3 inches by 20 inches) could then be cut in half to make two strips 3 inches by 10 inches . In fact, this influenced the width of my table runner during the planning stage. I was left with a fair amount of material still, so I plan to make a couple of delish mug rugs to match (insert huge happy face here).
- Begin piecing your quilt together. Lay out your backing fabric and line up your wadding on the top. Arrange your fabric strips and place the first one in the centre. Pin it down – you don’t want this one to move! Next, lay the first strip from the right hand pile face down on the centre strip with the right hand edges together, and sew down through all three layers of material with a ¼ inch seam allowance. Remove the pins, open the fabric and iron flat (carefully so you don’t melt your wadding!)
*Tip* Vacuum your carpet before you lay everything out…………Sheesh. *Bonus tip* My table runner is very long and rather than scrunch up the fabric and risk it moving around while you’re trying to sew them together, I rolled mine up and held it in place with a couple of hair clips. Boom.
- Add the rest of your strips. Repeat the process above but this time with a strip from the left hand pile, lining it up against the left hand edge of the centre strip. Continue this process alternating left and right until you have covered the length of your wadding and backing fabric.
- Quilting! Now, you can quilt as much or as little as you like at this point, because the runner top is already anchored (lots of lovely lines on the underside). I decided to just do a little quilting, either side of the seam, and figured if you were going to quilt you might as well see it, so I picked a lovely bright green. Coincidentally, it matched the binding I chose too!
- Trim the edges. Use a sharp pair of scissors or a rotary cutter and ruler.
- Add the binding all round the edge. I used pre-made bias binding from my local shop, and whizzed round the first attach on the machine, before hand-stitching to the back. A word to the wise, it takes longer than you think. Four and a half hours, through to 1.30am on my birthday. But it was worth it!! I think so anyway 🙂
I hope that’s all useful and clear but as always, any problems or questions do let me know!