Monday, August 13, 2012

Table Runner and Napkins Tutorial

We have one of those funky shaped, oblong tables. The ones that are rounded on the ends, so table runners never lie flat. It drives me nuts! I have tried to find runners to fit the width, but they are always too long. Plus, I am SUPER picky about color and pattern, and I have found nothing that fits my tastes.
While Lily and I were in Joann Fabrics the other day (yeah…not so much “the other day”…more like as few months ago), I found the perfect material to make a few runners and some matching napkins. The only problem is…I can’t sew. So, I did what any full grown woman in my situation would do…I called my mommy…HAHA! Right there in the middle of the quilting fabric aisle of Joann, and asked her if she would teach me how to sew.
I would like to say that I measured my table, then went back to the store and purchased my fabric. But I didn’t. I purchased 2 yards of each fabric, because I was afraid someone else would snatch it up first. Luckily that was enough.
I am completely clueless about sewing terms, so this tutorial is amateur at best.

I decided to make two reversible table runners that would span the width of my table, and have 8 inches of drape on either end. My table measures 41 1/2 inches. So…I added 41 1/2 and 16 (the drape), then another inch for seam allowance on either end. The total fabric length I needed was 58 1/8 inches. (I rounded up to 60 inches). I researched the width of standard table runners, and found that they were 13 inches. Add and inch for 1/2 seam allowance on the sides. Final dimensions….60x14.
For the napkins, I decided to use a yard of each fabric (2 yards total) for 4 reversible napkins. I cut the squares 17x17 inches.
I washed my fabric first so It could shrink…this will prevent pulling and bunching later…then ironed all the wrinkles out.

t runner 2

I used a yardstick and a measuring board to draw my pattern on the material. Use pen or marker to mark your material (you will not see it when it is sewn together).

table runner 2

I used a quilter's square to measure my napkins.

table runner 3

When all the pieces are cut iron the fabric again.

table runner 4

Next, I enlisted the help of my adorable sidekick, Lily. She handed me the pins while I pinned the 2 sides of each runner and napkins together. Do this inside out!! (Sorry…I forgot to take a picture of this part…oops!)

t runner 5

Next, I sewed the pieces together, using the 1/2 inch guide.
This was pretty comical…

t runner 3

I have NEVER sewed before. My mom was laughing at me because I sew like a 90-year-old woman drives a car. S-L-O-W.
We were joking that it was so slow, I put her dog to sleep…


and that is pretty bad, because she is a hyper Jack Russell!

tablr runner 6
I decided to let my mom take over.
But, I did sew the inside of the first runner myself!
We left a 2-3 inch gap in the fabric, where we did not sew, so the fabric could be pulled right-side out.

table runner 9

(Again…I did not take a picture…but here it is after I had pulled the fabric through.)

table runner 8

Before I pulled the fabric through my opening, my mom cut each of the corners down, so they won’t bunch up inside the runner/napkin. She also trimmed a little fabric from the outside for the same reason.

table runner 10

I pulled the fabric through the opening.

t runner 4


table runner 12

Iron it flat. I made sure to fold and iron the edges of the opening in to make it look uniform with the rest of the piece.

trunner 6

Now the master seamstress, my beautiful mom, did the finishing stitches around the outside. She sewed a 1/2 inch seam around the edges.

t runner 7

I ironed them one more time…

table runner 13


runner 45

I have two gorgeous table runners!
The yellow runner is the same fabric on both sides. (I didn’t make matching napkins for this one…I ordered the mocha colored napkins in this picture from Crate & Barrel…super cheap on clearance.)

runner 1

This runner and napkins are floral on one side, and cute, mod green dots on the other. I LOVE them!! 

I am looking forward to fall, when the kids are both in school, and I have time to sew some more. I could totally become obsessed with runners and napkins…HA! Maybe some envelope pillow covers…
The next time I will be doing it completely by myself (I hope). 

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  1. Good job, Jessie! I love them both but the floral/polka dot one is my favorite. I love the mixy-matchyness of it :-)
    Sewing can be a lot of fun & I find I do a lot better with it when I can do projects like this that are all straight lines - HA!

    1. Thanks Mary Ann! The floral/dots is my favorite also:)

  2. Ooh! I love them! What a great idea to make one reversible! Thank you for the tutorial. -Marci

  3. Oh my goodness those are gorgeous. I wish I knew how to use my sewing machine!!!

  4. So cute! I love the green dots! What kind of fabric did you use for this? Just regular cotton? I want to make my own and I don't know that much about fabric. Thanks!!

    1. I used cotton material. I got it a Joann Fabrics...I think it is called Keepsake Calico quilting fabric :)


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