Simple Spring Table Runner

Last week, one of my friends (we were in the same squadron in Jacksonville, and now the same one again in Pensacola!) invited a bunch of ladies over to play Keno.  We were asked to bring a $5 spring-themed gift to play white elephant.  Being the Martha (as in Stewart, a nickname given by my sister that I use proudly), I couldn’t just go out and buy a gift.  But I also couldn’t convince myself that I needed to buy supplies for my gift, since I have a craft room full of junk great stuff.  As I combed through my fabric, looking for anything with a spring feel, I realized I have some really great small pieces that would work well together to make something cute for the season.  So I decided to make a table runner!  Technically I didn’t spend anything at all on my gift, but I figure the cost of all the supplies I used would have been around the $5 mark, so I was good.

Supplies:

  • Scraps of 12 fabrics (or 48 if you want to go really eclectic!)
  • 1/2 yd of fabric for backing
  • 1/2 yd fusible batting
  • 2 12.5″ pieces of ric rac (optional)
  • Coordinating thread

(1/4″ seam allowances were used on everything unless otherwise noted)

You’ll need a total of 48 3.5″ squares of fabric; in my case, I cut 4 each of 12 fabrics.  You can do pairs, or all different, or repeat colors… it’s up to you and the look you’re going for.  Once you’ve got all your squares cut out, line them up in rows of 4 to decide how to place them.  My ironing board worked really well for this.

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None of these fabrics were particularly “springy,” but together they worked well!

I went for an arrangement of diagonal stripes in rainbow order, but how you lay yours out is entirely up to you!  Some of my fabrics were directional, so I paid attention to that, too.  Then start sewing your strips of 4 together.  When your 12 strips are complete, turn to the back side and press your seam allowances in alternating directions; for instance, I pressed my first row upwards, 2nd downwards, 3rd upwards, and so on.  This seems silly, but trust me, it will make putting it together easier.

For a little interest, I inserted a strip of my backing fabric 2 rows in on either side of the runner (cut 2 strips of fabric 12.5″x2.5″ of your backing fabric, keeping in mind that you’ll need a 14″x41″ piece later).  You can start assembling your strips now, using the seam allowances you pressed earlier to line up the seams – just butt them up against each other (see photo below).  As long as they fit together tightly, you’ll have perfectly matched lines in your finished table runner.  Don’t forget to add in your extra strips of fabric, too!

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See how you can just push those two little steps together? It’s really easy to feel that as you feed it through the machine, you don’t even really need to pin it in place.

Once the table runner top is assembled, turn it over and press all the seam allowances in the same direction.  Then cut out a piece of fusible batting to be the same size and iron it onto the back of the top (this is a good project to use scraps of batting, too, since you’ll never even notice if the batting isn’t perfect).  If you want to add the ric rac detail, now is the time to do it – just a straight stitch will do the trick.  Don’t worry about the ends, they’ll be covered when you bind it.  Lay the top with batting attached right side up on top of the backing fabric, wrong side up.  Cut the backing fabric to be about 3/4″ bigger on all sides than the top (mine ended up 41″x14″).  Safety pin in place like crazy (as usual, there’s no such thing as too many pins) in the centers of the squares.  Quilt the table runner by stitching 1/4″ to each side of each of the seams between the rows.  I don’t recommend stitching across the long way, as it will cut through your accent pieces on the front and won’t look so great – plus it’s more work that’s unnecessary!  Don’t worry about backstitching at the beginning and end, as long as you go right to the edges of the top side, it will be tacked down with the binding.

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This is after the next step, but I just wanted to prove that your stitches won’t come out – they’re secured by the binding

Once all of your quilting is done, you’re on the home stretch!  The binding for this table runner is just like what we did in the Twister quilt – if you need specific directions, just click the link.  Press the raw edges of the backing in to meet the quilt top on all 4 sides.  Then fold the pressed edge in and pin in place, creating mitered corners in the process.  Stitch in place, and you’re done!

Spring Table Runner

If my table were bigger (we have a tiny dining room table), I might have kept this for myself and still bought a $5 gift!

This simple table runner doesn’t have to be only for spring – use different themed fabric prints or colors for different holidays, or one to match your dining room decor to use year-round.  It’s also fun to make something like this from remnants – that’s what my backing fabric was, a piece that I bought because I liked it but had no specific project in mind.  I think I paid about $2 for it!  Although I said the ric rac was optional, it really makes the table runner pop – and it was left over from another project, so it was a win-win.

This project is a great scrap buster, and makes an adorable, inexpensive gift.  You only need to sew straight lines, and it’s easy to make everything line up.  So don’t be afraid to try it out yourself!