Custom Table Runner

February 27, 2020

Custom Table Runner

It has been 8 years since we moved into our new home and finally after 3 years I began making some changes to our dining room.  I love that I finally have a room large enough to house my large dining table with all the leaves in it. 

If you prefer to watch the short 10 minute video, click HERE

There is lots of light in this room but not a lot of color and I am a color person.  But the new 16 ft. ceilings and bullnose construction has kept me from painting the walls.  So I have been on a mission lately to add color everywhere else that I can. 

When we lived in our other home I had some items that were navy and cream and loved them and have been using them here.  I wanted to add to them and expand the navy and cream theme.  When I found this fabric I just loved it and knew it was perfect.  And finally after over a year I am getting around to using it! 

 This view is looking across from side to side.  I wanted to use the medallions going the long way but did not want to waste the fabric that would be left over if I bought the length I needed.  My table, with leaves, is 96" long.  So I decided to cut out the medallions and use another fabric in between.   

When purchasing the fabric I laid it out so that I would capture the portion where there were 4 full medallions, which ironically was 1 yard. 

 Notice the little 4 point floral motif just in front of the tip of my scissors.  That is the top of the medallion.  I used my long plastic ruler and positioned it at the top of each medallion and drew a line with a sharpie.  I could have drug out my cutting mat, but this was just easier. 

Once I had drawn a line at the top and bottom of the medallions, I simply cut along the line.  Please note that the fabric is NOT doubled at this point.  

Here is the strip of medallions.  Now I had to cut them apart. So I found the center between each and again used my ruler and a sharpie to draw a line and cut them out. 

 This is the fabric I used for the backing and for piecing between the medallions.  I needed to square it up and cut the width to the same width as the medallions.  I again used my ruler and a sharpie to draw a cutting line.  This time the fabric IS doubled. 

 Once squared up I laid the medallions onto the blue to determine where I wanted to cut.  I laid my ruler at the bottom of the medallions and drew a line.  I kept the medallions on and cut at the bottom and then on the line in between. 

 I had determined that I needed 2 strips the width of the blue fabric to get the length I needed for the runner. So next I pinned the 2 blue strips right sides together and sewed them to make one long strip.  

 I have been sewing a very long time; approximately 47 years.  I have ran the gamut from pinning every single thing to deciding I didn't need to pin.  But honestly I take the time to pin.  It does make a difference.  Fabric shifts and can cause you one colossal headache.  So no matter how good you think you are at sewing - take the time to pin! 

Press open the seam.  ALWAYS press open your seems before going on to the next step when sewing. 

Press them open.  Then turn them over and press the top side too.  This makes all the difference in the world in how your finished project will look. 

 Next I took the long blue strip out to the dining room table and laid the medallions on it spaced even by eye. 

I then measured all the blue spaces in between and added them up.  You can do this however you feel most comfortable.  You can put all the medallions end to end and measure the blue leftover.  Measure all the in betweens and total them, or do what I did.  I did a running total while I measured.  In the pic you see I am at 18" to 24 3/4.  Then I picked up the tape and started measuring the next blue strip at 24 3/4.  When I measured the last blue piece that was my total which was 28". 

This fabric was heavy decorating fabric and had deep selvages.  I measured in 5/8" in to where my seam would be so I would know how much selvage to cut off.  I didn't want to cut the entire selvage off and lose that extra fabric.  But I also knew that if I sewed 5/8" from the edge you would see some of the selvage in the finished product.

My blue measurement totaled 28".  There were 5 spaces, 3 in between medallions and two at the end.  I divided the total by 5 and that came to 5 pieces at 5".  That left 3 inches left over.  I divided that in two and added that total onto the ends. 

So I wanted 3 pieces that were 5" each and 2 that were 6 1/2" each.  But now I had to add on the seam allowance.  I was using a 5/8" seam allowance.  There was to be a seam on each side so I doubled the 5/8" to get 1 1/2" and added that on to my measurement. 

I needed to cut 3 pieces 6 1/2" long and 2 pieces 8" long the width of the medallions. 

 I again used my ruler and sharpie to measure and mark where I wanted to cut and then cut out each strip. 

 The medallions were not the same on their top as on their bottom.  So I decided that I wanted to arrange them pointing towards the center of the table.  So the two on one end were turned one way and the two on the other end turned the other way.  You do not have to do this.  The OCD in me determined I needed to do this but once done I don't think anyone at all would notice. 

 I then pinned it all together.  Each piece to each piece so I could save time and sew them all together at once.  If you are newer to sewing you may feel more comfortable pinning and sewing one or two pieces at a time.  I just felt while I had it all laid out on the table I would pin this puzzle together so I didn't get it all discombobulated later. 

 I even pinned the ends to the back strip. 

 And then I sewed them all together. It made a huge loop of sorts with all pieces including the ends sewn together. 


 And then I pressed each and every seam back first and then front. 


 Now I knew my back piece was a bit longer than the top which is fine and I will show you why in a bit.  But I did want them centered on each other so I found the center seam of the long back strip and the center of the top and with rights sides together pinned them to sew them together. 

 I then, working from the center out, pinned both sides of the runner together. 

 Here you can see then end and how the seam rides on the top rather than on the end.  That is ok. 

VERY IMPORTANT!  Once you have completely pinned the runner together, turn it over and look at the other side.  You may see that the bottom fabric is not perfectly smooth after being pinned.  Smooth and adjust a few pins so that both sides lay completely smooth.  If you had sewn it together without checking the back, it would have been wonky and it would have either twisted on the table or not laid smooth. 

 Then sew the two sides.  Leave a gap in one side so you can turn the fabric.  DO NOT sew across the ends. 



 Once sewn, reach into the hole and grab the end and pull it out.  Pull out both ends. 


 Press the side seams.  This is more challenging because you will need to press a little at a time after manipulating with your fingers to get the seam completely exposed.  I use my fingers and kind of roll or rub the edge until it is out as far as it will go. 

For the gap where you turned the runner, just fold each edge the same width as the seam.  Once you have finished pressing you can sew this gap closed by hand or do what I did which was use a heavy press-able seam tape to close the gap. If this had been a garment that would be washed and worn repeatedly I would have hand sewn the gap closed.  But laying on the table the seam tape will be more than fine. 


 In the first photo just above you see where my end seam came to.  This makes the end very clean and tidy.  Then I took the edge of the trim I was using and turned under just about 1/2" and pinned to the runner covering the seam. 

I pinned the trim along the edge until I came to the other side.  It was then that I cut my trim just 1/2" longer than needed and immediately turned under and pinned. 

Trim like this comes unwoven quickly and almost immediately so I did not cut the width I needed until I was ready to turn that end under.  Also I wanted the measurement just right and with trim, sometimes the best way to get that exact measurement is by pinning it to the project.

 I then sewed the trim onto the runner.  This was a wide strip, so I sewed it at the top of the trim and at the bottom.  I back stitched on each end to prevent my stitching from raveling.  I actually always back stitch every seam I sew. 

Here is my naked table before. 

And here it is with the table runner. 


 One thing to keep in mind when making a table runner is where the ends will be and where the trim will be.  I knew I did not want the ends with the trim stopping right at the point where someone will sit their plate.  The bumpy trim would not allow their plate or charger to sit level.  They would then have to push the runner out of the way.  So I wanted to make sure the trim was at the very end so that they could just sit their plate down and eat.  Works just as well if you have plate chargers.  Not need to move the runner. 






 With the solid blue on the back, if I ever want to turn it over and use the solid blue side I can.  I probably won't, but I could. 

If you prefer to watch the short 10 minute video, click HERE

I have a couple of small accent lamps in the entryway.  One is on the buffet that matches my table and one on a small little table closer to my front door.  I have enough fabric left over that I may cover both of those lampshades.  But that is for another day! 

Happy creating!!



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