As the days get shorter and the weather turns grey and wet, I find myself turning to quilting and spending longer days in my sewing studio. I decided to try my hand at quilting last year around this time with my first project—a Christmas tree skirt! I love how that turned out and now that the holiday season is upon us, I am dreaming of other quilted home decor items I can whip up for festive decorations!
I had leftovers from my tree skirt project and I thought they would be perfect for a table runner! Our dining table is very special because it was made by a fellow maker in the family—my dad! It’s a gorgeous extendable mid-century design made from cherry. It is quite large—4’ (1.2 m) wide and it can be up to 8’ (2.4 m) long. I decided to make a short ‘runner’ to start (runner in quotes because it is barely longer than it is wide). Maybe it is more of a table centerpiece? Either way, it looks great in the middle of the table when the leaves are in. I may make a longer version for when the leaves are out if I have time this December.
How to make a quilted table runner:
I made my runner approximately 18” (46 cm) wide by 24” (70 cm) long. I chose these dimensions based on my table size, so you can measure your table and choose what works best for you! I divided the width into nine 2” (5 cm) wide sections. Within those 2” (5 cm) strips, I drew a few 45 degree angles at random places. This is one of my favourite ways to quickly mix fabrics together in a pleasing way. It reminds me of stained glass and it is very easy to design and sew.
I then coloured in the design using four different colours, three green and one red as an accent. Ideally, you never have two sections of the same colour touching each other. You can add and remove angles and colours to achieve this.
You can add as many or as few strips and angles as you like. Here are a couple more mockups of what it looks like with more, narrower strips. This design also scales for longer table runners—simply extend the length of the strips and add more angles as you see fit.
To sew this design, I cut WOF (width of fabric) strips 2.5” (6.3 cm) wide (with ¼”/ 0.6 cm seam allowance on either side included). I then eyeballed where to join the strips based on my sketch and trimmed off excess as I went along. To join the strips, place them right sides together at a right angle. Sew from corner to corner, as if you were making bias tape. Trim off the corner and press the seam open. Be sure to sew the angles to match your design. You can also improvise! If you sew an angle the ‘wrong’ way, just roll with it.
Once you have your strips, you sew them together and press the seams open. You can follow your design or you can sew them together in a different order—play around with the strips and see what looks best!
I used my red accent fabric as the backing and used cotton quilt batting in the middle. I quilted lines ¼” (0.6 cm) on either side of each lengthwise seam. This is a nice, classic look that highlights the long lines in the runner. You can do any style of quilting lines you like! If you don’t want any quilted lines, consider stitching in the ditch of your seams or simply hand tacking the layers together in a few spots to anchor everything.
I bound the edge of this runner and it was actually my first ever quilt binding! It was really fun to learn how to do this. Here is a good video that I watched before I went for it:
I finished sewing the binding by hand because it was a small project and it was really relaxing. I watched The Great Canadian Bake Off as I stitched. It only took one episode!
I hope you enjoyed this little quilting project tutorial! It was a lot of fun to make and I look forward to enjoying it on my table this December. I know each year I will get it out at Christmas time and feel proud of my first ever quilt binding!
You can easily make this project from fabric scraps you have lying around your sewing room. Quilting cotton is easiest to use, but linen or denim scraps would also be lovely. You can use this method to make your own quilted placemats, potholders, or even a blanket!