Easy Quilted Table Runner Pattern - A Step by Step Guide
Whether you are a seasoned quilter or a novice seamstress, this quilted table runner, made with strips of fabric, is one of the easiest projects you will ever make. It is great to give as a gift or to keep as a nice decorative accent for your home.
With only a few supplies and one free morning, you too can make this easy quilted table runner.
- Fabric strips - Cut strips in various widths, from 1" to 2 1/2". You will be cutting various lengths, so have strips that measure at least 12" to allow for enough coverage. The larger the table runner, the longer the strips.
- One piece of fabric for the back, cut to the desired runner size (add an inch to the length and width to allow for trimming adjustments).
- One piece of batting for the center, cut to the same size as the backing fabric.
- Sewing machine
Tip: Cut plenty of strips with a 2 1/2" width. This way you will have binding material ready and you won't have to cut more strips for the binding after you are done sewing.
How to make the quilted table runner
For this table runner, I chose a patriotic color theme. However, any color scheme will work. Luckily I had a lot of strips left over from another project and could incorporate them. If you are a quilter, you probably have scraps around too, but if not, there are many fabric collections with coordinating colors and patterns that would work well with this pattern.
Use the following step by step guide to make your own quilted table runner.
Step 1 - Gather fabric strips
Determine what colors you want to use and gather the fabric strips. To be safe, have at least 50 strips that are approximately 12 inches long. The widths can vary from 1" up to 2 1/2". Having different widths adds another level of interest to the design. If you prefer, the strips can all be the same width.
Always pre-wash your fabrics and use 100% cotton. Among quilters, pre-washing fabric is an area of debate, but I suggest using pre-washed fabric because fabrics will not shrink and bleed (lose color) since they have already been washed.
Press the fabric strips.
Step 2 - Prepare the backing fabric
Choose the fabric for the back and determine what size table runner you will be making. For this project, I wanted my runner to be approximately 14" by 36" so I cut a piece of fabric that was 15" by 37". The extra inches are needed because the quilting will cause the fabric to shrink and shift just a little bit. It is also needed because once the quilting is finished, you will need to square off and trim the runner and the extra fabric gives you room to do this.
Lay pressed fabric right side down on your work surface.
Step 3 - Cut your batting
What is batting?
Batting is the insulating material in the center of a quilt. It is made of cotton, polyester or a blend of both. Batting comes in various lofts, with low loft batting being the thinnest and high loft being the thickest or fluffiest.
Your batting should be the same size as the backing fabric, although it does not have to be exact. Lay the prepared batting on top of the backing fabric, making sure that the edges line up. Smooth down the batting as much as possible.
Tip: When making table runners, I recommend using a low loft batting. High loft batting will make the runner too thick and it will not sit well on a table.
Step 4 - Put the first piece of fabric in place
Determine the center of the table runner. You can do this by placing pins in the center of the length and width of the fabric and using the pins as a guide, or you can use your best judgement.
Cut a square of fabric and center it on the batting like a diamond. For this table runner I used a 4" square of fabric that incorporated all of the colors I was planning on using in the project. You can use a larger or smaller square if you choose.
Once centered, pin the square in place.
Step 5 - Start adding strips to the square
Choose your first strip of fabric and cut it equal to the length of one side of the square. In this example, the square is 4", so the first strip of fabric is 4" long.
Place the strip on top of the square, right sides together, and line up the edges.
Step 6 - Sew along the edge
Sew through the layers. Clip all of the threads off, both on the front and back sides. Flip the fabric over and finger press the seam down.
To finger press, run a finger firmly along the sewn seam.
Step 7 - Add the next fabric strip
Working in a clockwise direction, add the next strip of fabric. Until you get to the outer edges, you will have to measure to determine the strip lengths you'll need. Determine the next strip length needed by measuring the entire length of the side that you will be adding the strip to.
Cut your desired strip of fabric to the size needed, then place the strip on top of edge that it will be sewn to, right sides together, and sew.
Once all the threads have been clipped, front and back, flip the fabric strip over and finger press. Continue this process, working around the square in a clockwise direction.
Once the square has reached the outer edge of the batting, you will not have to measure anymore. Just line up one edge of the strip and sew. The fabric will hang over the edge, but it will be trimmed off later.
Step 8 - Continue adding strips until done
Keep adding strips until the entire batting has been covered. Use your own design judgement to add strips. For this project I tried to alternate the red and blue fabrics and add in a few lighter ones as well.
Before you sew, it is always a good idea to audition the fabric strip. Changing a fabric strip can dramatically change the look of the pattern, but once the strip has been sewn, it is extremely difficult to remove it.
Step 9 - Trim the runner to size
Flip the runner over and trim to the desired size. You will see that during the quilting, some of the batting and fabric may have shifted. There will also be fabric hanging over the edges. Once trimmed, the table runner will be ready for binding.
Step 10 - Bind the table runner
The binding is the covering of the outside edge of the table runner.
Using the remaining 2 1/2" wide strips, or any other fabric of your choice, sew together enough pieces to make a length at least 12" longer than the perimeter of the table runner.
Add the binding to the runner just like you would add binding to a quilt.
A table runner for all seasons
The great thing about this table runner is that you can use leftover scraps from past projects. By changing fabric colors you can have a table runner for
- Fourth of July
- Saint Patrick's Day
- Valentine's Day
or any other occasion. In just few hours you can have a beautiful decoration for your table, or a special homemade gift for a friend.
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Claudia Mitchell