How To Make a Table Runner

A table runner can dramatically accentuate a simple dining table, adding elegance, color and texture to your table setting. It comes in a wide variety of fabrics, colors, design and style, all depending upon the theme and formality of the occasion it will be used for.

If you have even the most basic know-how in sewing, then you might as well try making your very own and personalized table runners. You’ll save a lot more money while being able to choose quality fabric that meets your standard, as well as personally customize the design. Here’s how you can make a simple table runner.

  • Assemble the materials needed in a well-lit and well-ventilated working area. Secure 2-¼ yards textile (color and texture of your choice, but fabric should preferably be made of cotton or a blend of cotton), another 2-¼ yards cloth for your table runner’s backing (can be thinner and lighter than the top fabric), durable dressmaker pins, tailor chalk or non-permanent fabric pen for marking, hot iron and ironing board, yardstick, fabric scissors or shears, a cutting table, durable thread (colors of your choice) and sewing machine.
  • Measure and cut. Your 2-¼ yards of chosen fabric should have a width of 45 inches. This should make a table runner with a dimension of 70x28 inches. Measure the same for your backing. Sharp fabric scissors should be used for a neat and professional cut. And do make the final cut on a cutting table under good lighting.
  • Wash and iron. It is well-advised to prewash any cloth before sewing, especially cotton fabric, which is prone to shrinkage. Once dry, run under a hot iron for easier and more manageable sewing.
  • Measure, mark and cut. To make measuring and marking a lot easier, fold the length of the fabric at midpoint, so that the short ends touch each other. With your tailor chalk or fabric pencil, mark a dimension of 71x29 inches of cloth. Now mark the midpoint of each short ends, respectively. Still measuring along the sides of the short ends, mark the point 5 inches below the topmost edges. With a yardstick, make straight lines connecting the midpoints and the edges. These will be your guides for a straight and neat cut.

    The same principle applies for the backing.

  • Stitch the lining to prevent fraying. Fold each side of the cloth’s raw edges at about an inch and a half toward the center so that the wrong sides meet. For easier pinning, use iron steam to create stiffly and securely pressed edges. Before you fasten the pins, make certain that your folds are straight and even. The pins should lie horizontally across the cloth’s vertical edges (and vice versa), creating right angles to their respective edges, and each with an interval of an inch and a half. Run under a sewing machine, with stitches having a distance of half an inch from the edges of the cloth. Continue stitching on all four sides, being careful to reposition the cloth at each corner you meet to keep your stitching line straight and neat. For a more secure lining, run another round of stitches under the sewing machine, but now only 1/8 of an inch from the cloth’s edges.
  • Accessorize. You may stitch a pair of buttons, one on each side of the table runner where the edges will drape over the table. Depending on the occasion, you may make a variety of tassels, which you can easily attach and detach via these buttons.

If you belong to the circle of patient and skilled quilting enthusiasts, you may make a quilted table runner for occasions that require a gothic motif. If you don’t, then you can simply accentuate your simple running table with beads or rhinestones for extra special celebrations like weddings or anniversaries. The best of luck!


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