Learn how to make a table runner to create a table setting to suit your personality. Table runners are fast and easy to sew for all levels of sewers. Choose the style that suits your table and sewing skill. Beginners will be able to make a runner in a short amount of time!
How to Make a Table Runner
What is a Table Runner?
A table runner is a long strip of fabric that "runs" down the center of the table. Instead of covering the whole table like a table cloth, it decorates a table by providing an eye-catching pop of color down the middle. They can be used alone on the table or in conjunction with a tablecloth. Traditionally, table runners hang over the ends of the table but you can make one that is shorter if you wish. It may depend on the length of the table and the amount of fabric that you have. Longer table runners may need several seams.
How to Make a Table Runner - Supplies
- FABRIC - The best types of fabrics are absorbent. Look for cotton, linen and decorator fabrics.
- BASICS - Sewing machine and basic sewing supplies
- THREAD - Thread to match
Table Runner Sizes
Width of Table Runners
Commercially bought table runners come in standard widths of 10 to 15 inches wide. As a general rule, the runner will be one-third of the width of your table. So measure your table width and divide it by 3.
Length of Table Runners
Measure the length of your table and add 12 inches (30cm). This means you will have an overhang of 6 inches (15cm) at each end.
There are exceptions of course:
- If you are using the runner placed over a tablecloth, it looks best if it is shorter than the edge of the tablecloth.
- For casual dining, you may want the length shorter than the length of the table to create a bright centerpiece.
Styles of Table Runner
This tutorial will show you how to make a table runner in 2 styles.
- Rectangular table runner - this style is double layered and reversible and has rectangular ends
- Pointed table runner - this style is single-layered and has pointed triangular ends to which you can add a tassel.
How to Make a Table Runner - Sewing Options
Style 1 - Rectangular Reversible Table Runner
Rectangular table runners are popular, particularly to put over the top of a table cloth. Below I will show you how to make a reversible rectangular table runner.
Once you have decided on the width and length of your table runner, add a ½ inch (12mm) seam allowance all the way around.
Does a Table Runner Need Batting or Interfacing?
This depends on the look you wish to have and the thickness of your fabrics for the top and bottom. When I use decorator fabrics or quilting cotton that is thicker, I often skip the batting as the double layer of table runner will be thick enough.
If you do want to use batting, the best to use is low loft as it will squash flat and is easy to sew with the majority of sewing machines. Light to medium weight interfacing can alternatively be used for fine fabrics. Fusible fleece makes a great lining, adding some softness to your table runner while being really easy to sew and work with.
- Cut a piece of fabric for the front and a piece for the back and optionally, cut one piece of interlining from interfacing, batting or fusible fleece.
- Optional - Fuse or hand baste the interlining to the back piece of fabric on the wrong side.
- Put the back and front with RIGHT sides together.
- Stitch all the way around leaving a 3 inch (7.5cm) gap along one of the long sides.
- Clip the corners and turn to the RIGHT side.
- Press well. The seam allowance at the gap should be pressed to the inside.
- Topstitch around the edge of the table runner. If you stitch ¼ inch (6mm) or less this will close the gap without you having to do any hand stitching.
Your table runner doesn't have to be made from a single piece of fabric. Consider patchwork top pieces or add applique or something that makes you smile!
Style 2 - Table Runner with Pointed Ends
Table runners with pointed ends can look great when you want to add a tassel or bell. The added weight on the ends makes the runner sit well, particularly for outdoor windy conditions. Here is how to make a table runner with pointed ends.
- Cut your fabric with a seam allowance 1 inch larger than your desired finished size.
- Turn your fabric to the wrong side and press over the raw edges on the long sides by ¼ inch (6mm).
- Press them over again by ¾ inch (2cm)
- Stitch along the long hemmed edges.
- At the ends of the runner, place the raw edges together and stitch with a ½ inch (12mm) seam. Finish the seam with a serger or zig-zag.
- Turn the end to the RIGHT side and press into a triangle.
- You can add tassels at the end for a deluxe look and a pop of color.
How to Make a Table Runner - No Sew Options
Style 1 - Hemming Tape
Hemming tape is a fusible tape that can be readily found at fabric stores and even supermarkets. The glue on the tape is activated by the heat of your iron.
- Cut your table runner with a ½ inch (12mm) seam allowance.
- Press a ½ inch (12mm) hem all the way around the runner.
- Slip the hemming tape under the seam and press it to activate the glue. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the correct heat settings. For delicate fabrics, you may need a pressing cloth in between the iron and the hem.
Read more about how to use hemming tape.
Style 2 - Frayed Edges
Frayed edges can give an interesting look to table runners. Look for open weave fabrics such as linen, hessian and burlap. Read more about how to fray fabric. One of the best methods to fray a table runner edge is to use a seam ripper and gently pull away the threads at the edges. For really open weave fabrics like the hessian pictured below, this won't take long.
How to Make a Table Runner - In Conclusion
How to make a table runner is one of the easiest home sewing projects. They are quick and rewarding and are especially nice for special occasions and seasons such as Christmas. Make one in plain and patterned fabrics to suit your table settings. Thanks for reading!
More Home Decor Patterns
Now you know how to make a table runner, why not make some more items for your kitchen. Here are some easy tutorials to help you decorate your home.
- How to Make a Placemat – 4 EASY Styles for Beginners
- DIY Tea Towels in 10 Minutes! 3 Styles
- How to Make a Tablecloth – Any Size or Shape
- DIY Fabric Coasters – 3 Easy Shapes
- DIY Napkins- Kids Napkins for School Lunch Boxes
- How to Make Napkins – 2 Ways for Beginners
- Mason Jar Pin Cushion – Easy & Fast Tutorial