We've turned the the winter weather season upside down by using a traditional outdoor fabric to make this lovely indoor table runner. In browsing the over 500,000 yards of fabric Fabric.com carries for our Deck The Halls series, we kept returning to their indoor/outdoor section - which is huge - because of the bold motifs. Outdoor fabrics are often used for larger projects, such as bench cushions or umbrella covers, so the design motifs tend to be bigger and more dramatic. We got to thinking about it, and asked, "Why can't they come inside?" Not only is it beautiful fabric, it's also thick, tough and durable. In fact, there's no need for an inside batting layer. Batting is usually necessary with runners made of standard cottons in order to protect the tabletop from hot or wet dishes. But with this fabric, two simple layers provide plenty of protection... unless, of course, you plan on serving sizzling fajitas at the table for Christmas dinner!
To figure the correct length to fit your table and the yardage needed, measure the table then add 6-8" for a 3-4" drop at each end; the ruffles will add another 10" to each drop. Our table was 64" in length. To that we added 8" for a 4" drop on each end. Our total length was now 72". The seam allowances will take up a minimal amount so don't stress about that in your figuring. You're not quite done yet, because the centering of the fabric's gorgeous motifs is essential to this design. You need 72" of yardage PLUS the measurement of ONE motif repeat. Fabric.com has a ruler next to each fabric swatch so you can easily figure the motif size. Our motif was approximately 12". So, we needed 72" + 12" or 84". We rounded up a bit and went with 2⅜ yards (85½"). Most outdoor fabrics are quite wide (ours was 54"), so width will not be a problem when cutting your two long rectangles. You'll probably even have fabric left over for other projects... yay!
To soften the overall scene, and because you know how we love to mix our textures, we added deep double ruffles to each end of the runner in a featherweight washer linen blend (55% linen with 45" rayon). This is an elegant accent, and the linen is so soft, even if it drops down near the lap of a dinner guest, it's no more noticeable than a tablecloth would be hanging at that angle.
Big holiday hugs to Fabric.com for sponsoring our Deck The Halls delights. Their huge selection gives you endless combinations. A great way to see how everything looks together is to use the Fabric.com Design Wall function. It's easy to add and delete swatches. You'll see an "Add To Design Wall" button accompanying each product description. The first time you click on it, you create your Design Wall; additional items are then added from there.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome New Home 49360)
- Hemmer foot - optional if you have trouble with very narrow hems
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Inventory shifts constantly, and some fabric may not be in-stock when you first visit. However, there are other color options as well as re-stock dates listed for each fabric. Above are our sample fabrics. Below are some alternate selections. Click on the swatch strip below for even more fabric options from which to choose.
- 2⅜ yards of 45"+ medium-weight indoor/outdoor fabric or similar, we used 54" medium weight Ozborne in American Red by Premier Prints (#UK-054) from Fabric.com
- 1 yard of 45"+ lightweight linen in a coordinating color; we used 52" Brussels Washer Linen Blend in Ivory (#DJ-377) from Fabric.com
- 1¼ yards of ¾" wide coordination velvet ribbon; we used red velvet ribbon, purchased locally
- All purpose thread to match fabric and ribbon
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
NOTE: As mentioned above, the designer look of this runner is dependent on a careful fussy cut of a big, bold motif.
- From the main fabric, fussy cut TWO 19" wide x 72" long panels (adjust this measurement as needed for your table; notes on how to do this are listed above in the introduction). The motifs should be centered and evenly spaced along the length of the runner.
- From the linen blend, cut the following:
TWO 27" wide x 11" high rectangles
TWO 27" wide x 7" high rectangles
- Cut the ribbon into TWO 19" lengths.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Place one of the 19" x 72" panels right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Pin one length of velvet ribbon across each end of the runner panel, positioning the ribbon ½" up from each raw edge.
- Thread the machine with thread to match the ribbon in the top and bobbin. Edgestitch along both sides of the ribbon on each end of the runner.
- Find the four ruffle rectangles.
- Make a narrow hem along one 27" side of each rectangle. To do this, fold under the raw edge ⅛" and press well.
- Then fold an additional ⅛" and press again, concealing the raw edge within the folds.
- Edgestitch the folded hems in place. To do this on very lightweight fabric, it's helpful to use a scrap of fabric as a starter piece. Place a small folded scrap of fabric under the foot and sew across one side.
- Find the first of ruffle pieces and butt its narrow hem against the starter scrap of fabric. Continue stitching from the scrap across to the main fabric. The scrap of fabric allows you to gently pull the fabric until the feed dogs have a chance to grab it.
- Add the next ruffle piece as you approach the end of the first piece. Continue in this manner until all hems are edgestitched.
NOTE: Some fabrics may require a little bit wider hem, but the beautiful washer linen we chose allows for a very tiny hem. Another option is to use a Hemmer foot.
- Place the two wider ruffle strips right side up and flat on your work surface. Place a narrow ruffle on top of each wide ruffle, also right side. Align the top and side raw edges. Pin in place along the top edges of each pair.
- With a long stitch length, run two lines of machine basting along the top edge of each ruffle pair. Keep both basting seams within the ½" seam allowance.
NOTE: If you are new to gathering, take a look at our Machine Gathering tutorial.
- Place the ribbon-trimmed runner panel and the plain runner panel right sides together. Align all the raw edges of the two layers. Pin along both long sides, leaving a 5" opening on one side. Both ends are open as well.
- Using a ½" seam, sew each long side. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 5" opening on one side.
- Press the seams open.
- Press back the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with sewn seam.
- Pull the basting threads of one double ruffle so it matches the width of the table runner.
- With the runner still wrong side out, open up one end. Place the ruffle over the ribbon-trim. The shorter ruffle should be facing down against the ribbon. Pin in place, evenly distributing the gathers. The raw edges of the ruffle should be flush with the raw edge of the runner.
- Place the back of the runner down into place, covering the ruffle. Pin through all the layers.
- At each side, fold the seam allowances toward the runner.
- Stitch across the end. Sew with the ribbon-trimmed side facing up, so you can see the previous ribbon stitching lines. The new stitching line should be ⅛" to the right of the previous ribbon stitching to ensure the ribbon is not caught in the seam. This means it will be just ⅛" narrower than a traditional ½" seam.
- Trim the seam back to ¼".
- Repeat to insert the remaining double ruffle at the opposite end.
- Turn the table runner right side out through that 5" opening in the one long side.
- Pin the opening so the two folded edges are flush.
- Edgestitch along each long side of the table runner.
- Then stitch across each end, running the seam just to the inside (just to the left) of the velvet ribbon.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler