How To Make Table Runners

Everything you need to know about making table top and mantel runners, from fabrics to measuring to stitching.

Beginners at sewing will love the ease of making their own table runners. All important is the fabric chosen for the runner. Something thick - but not too thick - keeps the runner laying flat but thin fabrics can be lined and used as well. Denim or corduroy is not appropriate but satin, brocades and cottons are great.

The width of a table runner is usually calculated by the width of the table but the overall width is up to the individual. Runners which almost cover the entire table are perfect for protecting the table top but runners that go down the middle of the table give a simple festive look to a table.

Decide upon the width and add two inches to the measurement. Measure the length of the table from end to end and add 12 inches. When cutting the runner place right fabric sides together and cut the runner shape. Fold each runner piece in half lengthways. Mark the center ends on each piece. From the end center go down 5 inches and mark all the way across the width with chalk or disappearing ink marker.

Cut the runner pieces to a point on each end by starting at the length side, 5" from the end and cut at a slant to the marked center. Do this on each side of each end. Now your runner should be pointed at the ends.

Use an inch seam when sewing. With right sides together start at one long side, in the middle and sew around the runner, stopping a few inches from where you began. This should leave a space where you can turn the runner. Make a snip right at the end of the point, from edge to stitches, without clipping threads. Make another snip on each side of that snip, an inch away. This will give a more defined point to the runner when turned.

After turning the runner right side out stitch shut, very close to the edge. Press. For fabrics that can't take ironing lay a towel over the runner and iron the towel.

When using thin fabrics sew as stated but before stitching shut put a layer of flat stuffing into the runner. After sewing shut place a stitch, then a back-stitch here and there across the top of the runner to hold the stuffing in place.

To make the runners a little fancier stitch tassels on the ends. Sew the runner as stated above but leave a few stitches missing from each point. Turn runner right side out and stitch shut. Tuck a tassel in to the end and use a few stitches to sew shut. Since tassels make the runner longer add only eight inches to the original length measurement instead of twelve.

You can add welt to the sides of the runner for a professional appearance. Cover the welt cord in fabric and use a zipper foot to stitch shut, very near the cord. Place the welt between the two layers of fabric before stitching. When you reach the area that you'll leave open for turning, sew the welt to only one side of the runner. Turn and stitch shut right next to the welt.

Fireplace mantel runners are made basically the same way as table runners but the width is much smaller. Measure from wall to edge of the mantel. Cut this exact measurement. After taking in an inch seam on each side the runner will be the perfect width.

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