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 skills. Beginners will be able to make a DIY table runner in just a short amount of time!
How to Make a Table Runner Tutorial
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 table like a tablecloth, it decorates it by providing an eye-catching pop of color down the middle. They can be used alone on the table or 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 table's length and the fabric you have. Longer table runners may need several seams.
Supplies to Make a Table Runner
- 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
- SCISSORS or rotary cutter and cutting mat
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 thicker quilting cotton, I often skip the batting as the double layer of table runner will be thick enough.
If you want to use batting, the best is a low loft, as it will squash flat and is easy to sew with most 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 easy to sew and work with.
DIY Table Runner Sizes
Width of Table Runners
Commercially bought table runners come in 10 to 15 inches wide widths. 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.
- For casual dining, you may want the length shorter than the length of the table to create a bright centerpiece.
How to Make a Table Runner 3 Ways
This tutorial will show you how to make a table runner in 3 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.
- No-sew DIY table runner - here I will discuss some techniques you can use for sealing the edges if you don't have a sewing machine.
Style 1 - Reversible Table Runner
Rectangular table runners are popular, particularly to put over the top of a tablecloth. Below, I will show you how to make a reversible rectangular table runner.
Step 1 - DIY Table Runner Pattern
Once you have decided on the width and length of your table runner, add a ½ inch (12mm) seam allowance all the way around.
Step 2 - How to Sew a Table Runner
- 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 handbaste the interlining to the back piece of fabric on the wrong side.
- Put the back and front with the 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.
Variations of Table Runners
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 adding a tassel or bell. The added weight on the ends makes the runner sit well, particularly in outdoor windy conditions. Here is how to make a table runner with pointed ends.
Step 1 - Cutting
- Cut your fabric with a seam allowance 1 inch larger than your desired finished size.
Step 2 - Sewing a Table Runner
- 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.
Style 3 - No-Sew Table Runner
If you don't have a sewing machine, you can either use a hemming tape or fray the edges.
Hemming tape is a fusible tape 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.
- Press the hemming tape under the seam to activate the glue. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the correct heat settings. For delicate fabrics, you may need a pressing cloth between the iron and the hem.
Table Runner with 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 another in 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