Today we have a very tasty tutorial for our Kitchen Week: a quilted table runner with a pretty patchwork center that features four 'flying geese' blocks. Each block is made from one rectangle and two squares. When sewn, these pieces are transformed into a pattern of three triangles whose finished shape resembles the flying 'V' of migrating birds. The good thing is, the quilting version of flying geese is much, much quieter than the real version. Take it from someone who lives in the flight path of hundreds of Canadian geese. The runner finishes at just 16" wide x 30" long – almost more like a jumbo placemat. It's a great size for a smaller breakfast bar, and perfect as the center décor on a larger table.
We originally used fabric from the Vintage Modern collection by Bonnie & Camille for Moda Fabrics. There is something universally likable about the aqua and red color combination... or as Bonnie & Camille called it in Vintage Modern: Sky and Candy Apple. However, this is an older collection and so can be difficult to find outside of individual sellers of random cuts on Etsy or eBay.
We found a new collection called Bake Sale by Lori Holt for Riley Blake Designs. It has a similar color palette, and our friends at Fashionable Fabrics have a nice selection, including an innovative Fat Quarter Panel: a one yard cut made up of four different prints from the Bake Sale collection. Simply click on the link above or the swatches below.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Memory Craft 6600P)
- Quarter Inch foot (optional)
- Walking foot with quilt bar (optional)
Fabric and Other Supplies
Supplies listed below are for ONE table runner, which finishes at approximately 16" wide x 30" long.
- 6 cuts from your chosen collection: specific yardage is shown below; we've left our original Vintage Modern fabric names in place to make it easier to keep track of all the pieces
NOTE: You could certainly use fewer cuts, but the beauty of most collections is how marvelously everything mixes and matches, so we have given you the information for how to build a runner that looks just like ours.
- ¼ yard of coordinating solid; we used Bella Solids by Moda in Aqua
- ¾ yard of 45" wide lightweight, low loft batting; we used Warm & Natural quilt batting
- All purpose thread to coordinate with the fabrics
- Machine quilting thread, 50 wt; we used white
- See-through ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Adhesive dots or masking tape
- Temporary spray adhesive (one option for basting)
- Hand sewing needle and contrasting thread (an option to pin basting)
Specific Yardage Notes
¼ yard of fabric 1: Floral Dot Stripe Candy Apple
¼ yard of fabric 2: Floral Vintage Sky
¼ yard of fabric 3: Floral Vintage Cream
⅝ yard of fabric 4: Floral Hopscotch Pebble
¼ yard of fabric 5: Floral Wish Sky
¼ yard of fabric 6: Floral Snickerdoodle Candy Apple
¼ yard of fabric 7: Bella Solids Sky
Fabric 1 - Floral Dot Stripe Candy Apple:
Cut THREE 2" x Width of Fabric (WOF) strips
Fabric 2 - Floral Vintage Sky:
Cut FOUR 4½" high x 8½" wide rectangles
Fabric 3 - Floral Vintage Cream:
Cut ONE 8½" x 8½" square
Fabric 4 - Floral Hopscotch Pebble:
Cut ONE 18" high x 32" wide rectangle
Cut EIGHT 4½" x 4½" squares
Fabric 5 - Floral Wish Sky:
Cut TWO 5" x 5" squares
Fabric 6 - Floral Snickerdoodle Candy Apple:
Cut TWO 5" x 5" squares
Fabric 7 - Bella Solids Aqua:
Cut TWO 16½" x 7½" rectangles
Low loft batting:
Cut ONE 18" x 32" rectangle
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Flying geese blocks
- Find the FOUR 4½" x 8½" (Floral Vintage Aqua in our sample) rectangles and the eight 4½" x 4½" squares (Floral Hopscotch Pebble in our sample). Match up two squares with each of the four rectangles.
- Place one square right sides together with the left side of the rectangle, aligning the 4½" sides.
- Using a clear ruler, draw a diagonal line through the middle of the square from the upper right corner to the bottom left corner.
- Stitch from corner to corner along the drawn line. Again using your clear ruler, measure ¼" to the left of the sewn seam and trim away the excess corner.
- Press the triangle away from the block.
- Place the other 4½" x 4½" square right sides together with the right side of the rectangle, aligning the 4½" sides.
- Using a clear ruler, draw a diagonal line through the middle of the square from the upper left corner to the bottom right corner.
- Stitch from corner to corner along the drawn line. Again using your clear ruler, measure ¼" to the right of the sewn seam and trim away the excess corner.
- Press the second triangle away from the block to complete the 'flying geese' block.
- Repeat to create the remaining three flying geese blocks.
Half square triangle blocks
- Find the two sets of two 5" x 5" squares (Floral Wish Sky and Floral Snickerdoodle Candy Apple in our sample). Mix and match the sets so you have two pairs of two contrasting fabrics.
- Place one set of 5" x 5" squares right sides together.
- Using a clear ruler, draw a diagonal line through the middle of the layered square from the upper right corner to the bottom left corner.
- Stitch ¼" to either side of the drawn line.
- We used our Janome Quarter Inch foot to keep our stitching lines perfect ¼" seams. This foot has a flange, which you can run along the drawn line. Most other brands will have a similar foot.
- When both seams are sewn, cut along the drawn line to separate the triangles. Press the seam toward the darker fabric (Floral Snickerdoodle Candy Apple in our sample) and you have two squares.
- Using your clear ruler and a rotary cutter (or a quilter's square template if you are lucky enough to have one), trim each sewn square down to an exact 4½" x 4½" square. You will be trimming off just a tiny amount.
- Repeat these steps with the remaining 5" x 5" pair of squares.
NOTE: With directional fabrics, you need to mark the second set of squares with the diagonal line in the opposite direction to create a symmetrical set.
Assembling the center patchwork
- Arrange the completed units as shown below. There are three rows, each row is made up of three units.
- Sew each set of three units together to make one row. To do this, place the outside units right sides together on either end of the center unit. Pin in place, then stitch the two short seams, using a ¼" seam allowance.
- Press your seam allowances in opposite directions row to row. Press row one towards the right, row two towards the left, and row three towards the right. This will help you nest your seams together and tightly match your inside corners.
- When your three rows are complete, you can stitch them together. Working from the top row down, pin the first two rows right sides together. The most important thing to remember is to keep your seams in line with one another. It helps to place a pin in the seam, then line up the pins.
- Remember when you assembled the rows how you pressed the seam allowances in opposite directions row to row? This now allows you to ‘nest' the seams. One seam is pressed in one direction, the opposing seam is pressed in the other direction, and they lay easily against each other.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew the rows together.
- Your careful matching along the seams will create perfect points on the front.
- Repeat to assemble the final row in the same manner.
Finish the runner top
- Find the two 16½" high x 7½" wide rectangles (Bella Solids Aqua in our sample) .
- Place one of these rectangles on either side of the finished center patchwork, aligning the 16½" sides. Pin in place.
- Using a ¼" seam seam allowance, sew the side pieces to the center. Press the seam allowance together and toward the sides. This completes the runner top.
Layer and quilt
- Find the 18" x 32" back rectangle (Floral Hopscotch Pebble in our sample) and the 18" x 32" batting rectangle.
- Place the runner back right side down (wrong side up) on your work surface. Layer the batting rectangle on top of the back panel. Layer the completed runner top right side up on top of the batting. The backing and batting are cut slightly oversized to allow a bit of extra room for quilting.
- Baste all three layers together all around the outer edge. You can use pins, a temporary spray adhesive for this step or a long running stitch with needle and thread. We opted for needle and thread.
- If possible, attach a Walking foot to your machine.
- Starting at the exact center point of the top panel, and using a fabric pen or pencil that will easily wipe away or vanish with exposure to air, draw in vertical quilting lines to follow across the top panel. Our lines were 1" apart. If you have a Quilting Bar for your Walking foot, you can simply draw one vertical line at the center, then use the bar as your guide, running it along the previous stitching line at a 1" distance.
- Channel quilt parallel lines, following the lines of the fabric. We used the AcuFeed foot on our Janome 6600P. As mentioned above, you could also use a traditional Walking Foot with a Quilt Bar to keep your lines straight
NOTE: Even with the drawn lines, a Walking-type foot is recommended to keep the layers from shifting. If you are new to straight line quilting, check out our Guest Tutorial from Modern Quilting whiz, Heather Jones.
- When the quilting is complete, trim away the excess batting and backing to match the runner top.
- Find the three 2" x WOF binding strips (Floral Dot Stripe Candy Apple in our sample).
- Place the three strips right sides together, end to end, along the 2" ends. Pin and stitch in place with a ¼" seam allowance to create one long strip.
NOTE: For the red and white striped fabric (Floral Dot Stripe Candy Apple), we carefully placed our seams to match the stripe.
- Fold the joined strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.
- Working from the front of runner, align the raw edges of the folded and pressed strip with the raw edge of the runner.
- Start in the middle of one long edge, leaving a tail of approximately 4". Sew the binding to the runner, using a ¼" seam allowance.
- Miter each corner. To do this, stop with the needle in the down position when you are ¼" from the corner.
- Pivot the fabric 90°.
- Using the reverse button on the machine, back off the fabric
- Turn the binding straight down at a 90˚angle. This will create a 45° fold to the inside of the corner, and allow you to align the raw edge of the binding with the raw edge of the next side of the runner. Re-start your stitching at the point of the fold.
- Stitch all the way around, stopping approximately 4" from your starting point.
- Open out the binding and join the ends, measuring to fit. Stitch the ends together and trim away the excess fabric.
- Re-fold the binding and finish the seam.
- Bring the binding up and over to the back side of the runner, covering the line of stitching. Press in place and pin as needed.
- Flip the runner back over to the front. Stitch in the ditch from the front all the way around.
NOTE: If you are brand new to binding, take a look at our tutorial: A Complete Step-by-Step For Binding Quilts & Throws. We show detailed instructions for a number of attaching and finishing options.
- Remove the basting threads if you used them to hold the layers together.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler