For formal occasions, I love the look of a table runner with placemats. The rich dark wood of the dining table sets off the fabric, and the individual linens act like beautiful little frames for the china and silver. Our very elegant table runner in a sparkling platinum damask with rich mahogany accents is certainly fit for a king or a queen or... your own royal family. This project was chosen to be part of our Beautiful Binding week because it shows you how to create a flush, turned corner – a wonderful technique for all kinds of square and rectangle table linens. Plus, we show you how to expertly tuck in a tassel.
The runner finishes at approximately 86½" x 15".
We original used Michael Miller Fabric's beautiful Antiquity collection for this table setting, and the collection is a bit hard to find now, but we did spot some at Fabric.com.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Decor Computer 2012)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 2½ yards of 44-45" wide fabric for runner's center: we used Antiquity in Linen Delovely Damask by Michael Miller Fabrics
- ¾ yard of 44-45" coordinating fabric for runner's accent panels and binding: we used Antiquity in Linen Quartrefoils by Michael Miller Fabrics
- 2½ yards of 44-45" fabric for runner's backing: we used Bella Solids in Ivory by Moda Fabrics
- ½ yard of 90" wide low-loft batting: we used Kyoto Bamboo Blend batting from Fabric.com
- Four 3" tassels: we used rayon tassels in deep brown
- All purpose thread
- Embroidery thread for accent stitching: we used rayon embroidery thread in taupe
- See-through ruler: a 6" wide ruler would be best
- Fabric marker, pen or chalk
- Hand sewing needle and thread for basting
- Straight pins
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- We did not want a seam in the top of our runner, so we started with a full 2½ yards of fabric to allow us to cut a continuous panel. This left us with nice chunk of leftover fabric. You could make matching placemats or even another whole table runner!
- From the runner's center fabric (Antiquity in Linen Delovely Damask in our sample), mark a 15" wide panel the length of the fabric (90"). If your fabric has a dramatic motif as ours did, make sure it is perfectly centered.
- From this 15" x 90" panel, cut TWO 3½"x 15" strips for the ends and ONE 71½" x 15" center panel.
- From the accent fabric (Antiquity in Linen Quartrefoils in our sample), fussy cut TWO 6" x 15" panels. If you have a 6" wide see-thought ruler, use it to center the pattern for each panel.
- Also from the accent fabric (Antiquity in Quartrefoils in our sample), fussy cut SEVEN 3" x width of fabric (WOF) strips, again being careful to center the design motif.
- From the backing fabric (Bella Solids in Ivory in our sample), cut ONE panel 15" x 86½".
- From the batting, cut ONE panel 15" x 86½".
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the binding strips
- Join the 3" x WOF accent strips together to create two 90" lengths and two 16" lengths. To join the strips, trim the ends at a 45° angle, aligning the ¼" line of the ruler with the pattern. Pin together, aligning the angled ends.
- Sew together all the 'joints' with a ¼" seam, matching the pattern. Press the seam open. This technique will effectively hide all the 'joint marks' in your binding strips.
- Fold in one long edge on all four strips ¾" and press.
Assemble the runner layers
- Pin one 6" x 15" accent panel, rights sides together, to each end of the 71½" x 15" center panel.
- Sew both panels in place, using a ½" seam allowance.
- Now pin one 3½"x 15" strip, rights sides together, to each end's accent panel.
- Sew both strips in place, using a ½" seam allowance.
- Press all the seam allowances toward the accent fabric.
- Place the backing fabric flat on your work surface, wrong side up.
- Place the batting over the backing fabric, matching all the edges.
- Place the assembled runner top over the batting, right side up, matching all the edges. Pin in place through all three layers.
- Re-thread your machine with topstitching thread in both the top and bobbin. We used rayon embroidery thread in a taupe color to add some shine to the stitching. You may want to lengthen your stitch for a nicer look.
- Topstitch along both sides of both accent panels through all layers, staying very close to the seam.
Bind the edges and attach the tassels
- Re-thread your machine with regular sewing thread in the top and bobbin.
- Find the two 90" lengths of binding. Center the binding and pin it, right sides together and raw edges aligned, to each long side of the table runner. The binding will extend at each end beyond the table runner.
- Using a ¾" seam allowance, stitch each length of binding in place.
- Press the binding away from the runner. Then, wrap the binding over to the wrong side of the runner, covering the raw edges. The pre-folded edge of the binding should cover the line of stitching on the back and extend beyond it just slightly. Hand baste this folded edge in place. In our photos, you can see the blue thread we used for our basting stitches showing through on the right side of the runner.
- Re-thread your machine with topstitching thread in both the top and bobbin.
- Working on the RIGHT side of the runner, edgestitch along the binding on both sides through all layers. Do not 'stitch in the ditch;' you should stay as close to the binding/runner seam as possible, but still keep your stitching on the binding.
- Trim the ends of the binding flush with the ends of the table runner.
- Place a tassel at each corner of the table runner, with the loop facing the raw edge of the runner and the tassel facing the body of the runner. Center the tassel on the binding, and pin in place.
NOTE: If you are using a store-bought tassel, leave on the cellophane wrapper until all construction is complete. This keeps the silky threads out of the way.
- Re-thread your machine with regular sewing thread in the top and bobbin.
- Find the two 16" lengths of binding. Center the binding and pin it, right sides together and raw edges aligned, to each end of the table runner. The binding will extend at each end beyond the table runner.
- Using a ¾" seam allowance, stitch each length of binding in place, catching the tassel loops in the seams.
- Press the binding away from the table runner.
- With the binding strip laying flat, away from the runner, fold the tassel over the top of the binding and tack it in place by sewing back and forth across the loop ¾" away from the seam. Repeat to secure all four tassels in the same manner.
- Fold the binding strip in half (you're kind of folding it back on itself), right sides together, and stitch across the short ends, using a ½" seam allowance, which should be flush with the finished edge of the table runner. Trim the seam allowance close to the stitching.
- Turn the binding ends right side out and wrap the binding over to the wrong side of the runner, covering the raw edges.
- As above with the long sides of the runner, the pre-folded edge of the binding should cover the line of stitching on the back and extend beyond it just slightly. Hand baste this folded edge in place.
- Re-thread your machine with the topstitching thread in both the top and bobbin.
- Again as above, working on the right side of the runner, edgestitch along the binding from side to side, catching the tassels again to better secure them in place.
- Remove all basting threads from the completed table runner.
Hints and Tips
- We made our binding by hand, but this would be a great project for the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker. Check out our review.
- We were able to find tassels that matched our fabric, but that's not always the case. To make your own, take a look at our tutorial: How to Make a Tassel.
- If you are new to binding, you might also want to read our new Step-by-Step Binding tutorial.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler
Other machines suitable for this project include the Pfaff hobby 1132 and the Brother BC-1000.