Table runners are a fun home dec project to make. Think small quilts just for your table! There are so many options to make a custom table runner for you or make as a gift.
The method I use in this how-to article is perfect for beginners! Start with a top that can be pieced, like I did – or use a single piece of fabric. The basic steps are to layer your top with a piece of felt and a backing fabric. Sew the two side seams. Turn right side out and then add bindings to each end. Super simple!
What are some ideas for making a table runner top?
Pick a fabric you love. Find a quilt block or pattern that you want to try. Table runners or toppers are the perfect way to test something before you commit to a big project. And, you feel accomplished!
Most projects will take a day or two, a few hours each day. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just need a quick and easy project that gets finished!
I wanted to try the diamond border by QuiltSmart. My table runner top is made from two strips of diamonds using QuiltSmart patterns printed on interfacing and a piece of burlap. Making the diamond borders with the QuiltSmart printed interfacing was so easy (and fun!). All you need are some 2-1/2 inch strips of fabric and follow the easy directions to make the diamond strips.
Quiltsmart also has an acrylic template that makes it super easy to cut the pieces exactly the right size from your 2-1/2 inch strips. It even has the diamond shape and lines if you want to fussy cut a design for your diamonds.
Here is one of the strips all pieced for the table runner.
I trimmed up the two rows of diamonds and added them to a piece of burlap for my table runner top.
What’s the difference between a table runner and a table topper or overlay?
Table runners will run the length of your table and have an optional overhang off the ends of your table. Table toppers, sometimes referred to as overlays, are centered on your table. Both add decorations to your table.
What’s the optimal size for a table runner?
Table runners can be used just for decoration, or be used with placemat at mealtime. Generally, they are 1/3 or 1/4 the width of your table. If you are using them with placemats for meals, make sure it is narrow enough that the placemats don’t overlap the runner.
What fabrics can I use to make a table runner?
Pretty much any fabrics! If you plan on laundering the runner, make sure you wash the fabrics you use to make the top, the backing and the batting or felt BEFORE you sew them. You don’t want to put a lot of work into something to have it shrink, run or fall apart when you wash it.
Runners are a perfect way to try new quilt blocks or use up some orphan blocks you have in your stash. You can make this simple runner with one piece of fabric, too. There are so many nice fabric designs nowadays! That makes this a super simple project.
How much fabric do I need to make a table runner?
It depends. Determine how wide and how long you want your runner. Take those measurements and add seam allowances. You’ll two (2) strips of fabric 2-1/2 inch wide for the binding on the ends. Measure the width of your runner and add 4-inches to that to determine how long you’ll need for the two strips for the ends.
If you want a runner that goes off the end of your table, measure the length of your table and add 12-inches. This will give a 6-inch drop on each end. This is a good size for the drop as it gives length but doesn’t interfere with the chair at the end of your table.
Things to consider: If you have a little one in your home that loves to grab things, I’d make table toppers. Otherwise you might find that beautiful vase with flowers on the floor! Also a consideration if you have big dogs that like to play and pull things.
How can I make a table runner lay flat?
I like to use felt instead of batting inside my table runners, as then they lay flat. Also, make sure to quilt your runner. See the picture above? The burlap was stretching a bit and forming some bubbling in the fabrics. Below is the table runner after I added quilting in 1-inch increments down the center burlap.
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