A Quilted Table Runner

Every year during Advent, I work on Christmas gifts in my spare time. There’s always one project that I do “in bulk” and give to multiple people, be it our kids, my Godchildren, or our children. This year, one of the things I’m making in bulk is quilted table runners. I wanted to do something for our adult friends but wasn’t sure what at first. Then the idea struck me to make table runners and put together a gift basket for making a meal. That way, there was a focus to the gift.

At first, I thought about making a table runner to match the homes of the recipients, but that was going to get complicated, so I opted to make Christmas runners for everybody since I had enough materials for the project. You’ll need 3 or 4 fabrics for this project, three for the topside and one for the backing.

As with any sewing project that I share, you can always choose to adjust the pattern to the size you like or pick fabrics according to your preferences.

This runner has 3 squares, a finished size of 6.5″ x 6.5″, so if you’ve got a fabric you want to “feature,” use it for this part of the runner. The border around the square is a finished size of 1.5″ wide. It frames the square, so pick something that will make that square pop. The final border is a finished size of 3.5″ wide, and again, you probably want to choose a fabric that will make the smaller border stand out. On several of the runners I made, the main square is a white print, the small border is a green fabric, and the large border is a red. None of the fabrics I used were solids, but that’s just because I was using what I had on hand.

Okay, lets get into cuts!

3- 7″x7″ square (feature fabric)

6- 2″x7″ strips (small border fabric)

6- 2″x9.5″ strips (small border fabric)

5- 4″x9.5″ strips (large border fabric)

2- 4″x44″ strips (large border fabric)

7×7 center block, 2×9.5 small border, 4×9.5 large border.

You will also need half a yard of fabric that is a minimum of 44″ wide (selvage to selvage) for the backing, and the same amount of batting. The fabric can be whatever you choose for the back. On some of mine, it’s the same as one of the front fabrics, just depending on how much fabric I had for the top side, and on others, it’s a completely different fabric.

As always, iron your fabric before cutting to ensure straight cuts.

Sew the 2″x7″ strips to the 7″x7″ squares, on opposite sides of the square. Press seams. Next, attach the 2″X9.5″ strips to the other two sides of the square. Press seams. Trim threads.

If the squares have a directional print on them, decide which way you want the squares to face before proceeding with the next step. I chose to put the directional prints all facing one way, towards one of the short ends. If you’d rather have them facing towards a long edge, then you will need to be mindful of where you sew the next strips.

Small borders attached, and one of the large border edges attached.

Sew a 4″x9.5″ strip onto one end of each square (onto the small border). Sew each of these, one to another, keeping in mind the direction of the print. Attach the final 4″x9.5″ strip to the end of the chain that does not have a border yet. Press all seams. Press the whole top smooth.

Now you will pin the long borders onto either side of the chain of squares. Pin seams to help ensure they stay flat and smooth. Trim all threads and iron. The top is finished.

Next, you will lay your batting on a smooth, hard surface. Get it flat, and lay the backing on top of that, right side facing up. Lay the top on the backing, with the right side facing down (seam side should be up). Pin around the edges well, and cut away any big pieces of excess you may have. You will trim the seams after sewing together.

This is assembled much like a pillowcase cover. Sew a 1/4″ seam allowance all the way around the edges, using the runner top as your guide. As long as the batting and backing are larger than the top, you won’t have any holes or gaps in the edges when you flip it right side out. Leave about 6″ of an opening at one end of the runner, backstitching at either side of the opening.

Top stitching 1/4″ on either side of the small border.

After the batting, backing, and top are sewn together, trim the seams to 1/4″ (this should be to the edge of the pieced top). Stick your hand into the runner, between the backing and the top, and flip right-side out. Poke corners out for a sharper corner. Roll the seams to smooth, and press. Ladder stitch the opening shut.

You can quilt this however you like, but below is the quilting I did. It’s simple enough that a beginner could do this pretty easily.

If I were to do quilting more involved, or if this was a larger project, or even if I had used different batting, I would have basted the quilt with pins to be sure my layers stayed in place. However, I used a low-loft cotton batting that holds everything together nicely, and it’s flat enough that the layers don’t push around on such a small project.

Topstitch around the edge of the runner, either using a matching or a contrasting thread. Do this 1/4″ from the edge. I used white on all runners to make it easier, and because white was in all the runners, so it coordinated well.

Next, top stitch 1/4″ from the seam of the outer and inner borders, on the outer border side. Do this down the whole length to make one big rectangle, or around each square.

Finally, topstitch 1/4″ from the seam on the inside edge of each square. When you are finished, you should have one line of stitching on the perimeter of the inner square, and two on the outer border (one on the inner perimeter, one on the outer).

Here you can sort of see the larger rectangle of quilting, the inner smaller one that goes around the inside edge of the large border, and the quilting that’s done on the square.

Technically, these are reversible. The quilting is simple enough that you just end up with a design of two large rectangles with 3 squares inside of them on the back side.

This was another fun and easy way to make a table runner. It’s a little more “fancy” that the simple table runners I made for the home altar because it has a design, and depending on the fabrics you choose, you can really go a lot of ways with this. You could opt for a more involved quilting pattern, or you could opt to hand quilt the layers together.

I could see doing more of these and playing around a lot more with color schemes and patterns. Since none of the fabrics I used were solids, the runners are a little “busy”, but I think it works for a Christmas runner.

One of the finished runners. I almost forgot to take a picture before putting these in the gifts for our friends, so this is a little wrinkled from having been rolled up.

If I were doing some for winter, I’d probably use a pastel blue and purple, plus a white, but not completely solid of any of those colors. Maybe something with a bit of a metallic fleck or a sheen to it? And I’d either quilt it in white or get a silver thread, possibly with a snowflake design. Conversely, I could see doing this with a large, cute fruit print in the squares with brighter colors for the borders for a summer runner.

Let me know if you ever decide to make this and how it turns out for you. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

Love and Blessings~ Danielle

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