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Patchwork & Pom Pom Table Runner

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When the boxes come down from the attic every year, one of my favorite Christmas items to uncover is a table runner my mother made for me. It's the first thing I pull out, and for me, its appearance signals the official arrival of the holiday season. This happy patchwork and pom pom centerpiece certainly has the potential to become a best-loved holiday tradition. Make one for yourself plus a couple more for friends and family. We used a Layer Cake pre-cut bundle, which usually contains forty 10" x 10" squares. That's plenty for several runners, simply add your favorite solid for the accent squares and backing. 

Paying special attention to seam allowances is important in every project, but is essential in patchwork because your seams need to match up perfectly (quilters call this ‘perfect points'). Therefore, you need to be very careful to make sure all allowances are consistent. For this project ALL our seam allowances are ¼". If you're brand new to patchwork, check out our five-part series on quilting basics, which starts here

We originally used NINE prints from the Joy collection by Kate Spain for Moda. This is an older collection, that is no longer readily available. But, there are always lots of great new holiday collections. We found three we liked from Fat Quarter Shop, but hurry, this time of year the remaining holiday fabric is disappearing quickly. 

The runner finishes at approximately 45" x 22½". 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • We used a Layer Cake, however, it's not mandatory. We selected NINE different coordinating prints from the Layer Cake, which means you could make three to four runners from one Layer Cake (plus the associated solid fabric). If you choose not to use pre-cuts, you'll need to cut nine pieces that measure 10" x 10" from which your other pieces will be cut.
  • 1½ yards of a 44-45" wide coordinating solid fabric for sashing strips and backing: we used Moda's Bella Solids in Bleached White
  • ¾ yard of 45" wide low-loft quilt batting: we used Pellon Nature's Touch in a pre-packaged Crib Size cut
  • 4 yards of pom pom fringe: we used bright green medium pom fringe, purchased locally
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • Quilting thread to match/highlight fabrics: we used aqua
  • Lots of large safety pins for basting layers 
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil 
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Tape measure
  • Straight pins
  • Large safety pins for pin basting

Getting Started

As mentioned above, our runner is created from NINE prints and ONE solid. To help you map out your own patchwork, we've added numbers that relate to the original print names used in our block instructions. Kind of like "painting by numbers," but no brushes and no picture of Elvis on velvet.

  1. Holly Falling Snow
  2. Berry Falling Snow
  3. Berry Peace
  4. Snow Jolly
  5. Holly on Snow Winter Garden
  6. Holly and Berry Tree Line
  7. Mint Falling Snow
  8. Berry on Snow Winter Garden
  9. Snow Tannenbaum
  10. Bleached White

 

  1. From the NINE prints, cut the following: 
    FOUR 5" x 5" squares of Print #1 - Holly Falling Snow in our sample
    FOUR 5" x 5" squares of Print #2 - Berry Falling Snow in our sample
    FOUR 5" x 5" squares of Print #3 - Berry Peace in our sample
    FOUR 5" x 5" squares of Print #4 - Snow Jolly in our sample
    FOUR 5" x 5" squares of Print #5 - Holly on Snow Winter Garden in our sample
    FOUR 5" x 5" squares of Print #6 - Holly and Berry Tree Line in our sample
    TWO 9½" x 5" rectangles of Print #7 - Mint Falling Snow in our sample
    ONE 9½" x 5" rectangle of Print #8 - Berry on Snow Winter Garden in our sample
    TWO 9½" x 5" rectangles of Print #9 - Snow Tannenbaum in our sample 
  2. From the coordinating solid (#10 - Moda Bella Solids in Bleached White in our sample), cut the following:
    FOURTEEN 5" x 5" squares
    FOUR 5" x 2¾" rectangles
    ONE 23½ x 45" (width of fabric) rectangle for the backing
  3. From the batting, cut ONE 23½ x 45" rectangle 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Creating the blocks 

Using our diagram above as you guide, assemble the seven different sets of blocks that will make up the top of the table runner. To do this, it helps to sort out the fabric cuts needed for each block and stack them in the order to be sewn. 

The two A Blocks

  1. Each block uses the following cuts:
    ONE 5" x 5" square of Print #1 - Holly Falling Snow
    ONE 5" x 5" square of Print #2 - Berry Falling Snow
    ONE 5" x 5" square of Print #3 - Berry Peace
    ONE 5" x 5" square of #10 - Bleached White
  2. Take the first pair (Berry Falling Snow and Holly Falling Snow) and pin them right sides together along one 5" side. Stitch together (remember - all seams are ¼"). Press the finished seam towards the darker square. 
     
  3. Take the second pair (Berry Peace and Bleached White) and pin them right sides together along one 5" side. Stitch together. Press the finished seam towards the darker square.
  4. To complete the block, you'll seam together the two pairs of squares.
  5. Place these two pairs of squares right sides together, carefully aligning the seams so your intersection will perfectly match. It is much easier to align everything when the seam allowances are opposite one another, which is why you pressed them in opposite directions above. Carefully pin in place.
     
    NOTE: If you are using a directional motif, make sure the two pieces are both going the right way. 
  6. Stitch together, using a ¼" seam allowance.
  7. Follow these same steps to create the second A Block. 

The two B Blocks

  1. Each block uses the same cuts as for the A Blocks:
    ONE 5" x 5" square of Print #1 - Holly Falling Snow
    ONE 5" x 5" square of Print #2 - Berry Falling Snow
    ONE 5" x 5" square of Print #3 - Berry Peace
    ONE 5" x 5" square of #10 - Bleached White
  2. Assemble the two blocks in the same manner as for the A Blocks, but the configuration should be a mirror image.

The four C Blocks

  1. Each block uses the following cuts:
    ONE 5" x 5" square of Print #4 - Snow Jolly
    ONE 5" x 5" square of Print #5 - Holly on Snow Winter Garden
    TWO 5" x 5" squares of #10 - Bleached White
  2. Take the first pair (Bleached White and Snow Jolly) and pin them right sides together along one 5" side. Stitch together. Press the finished seam towards the darker square.
  3. Take the second pair (Holly on Snow Winter Garden and Bleached White) and pin them right sides together along one 5" side. Stitch together. Press the finished seam towards the darker square.
  4. Place these two pairs of squares right sides together, carefully aligning the seams opposite one another so the intersection will perfectly match. Carefully pin in place.
  5. Stitch together, using a ¼" seam allowance.
  6. Follow these same steps to create the three additional C Blocks. 
    NOTE: Because the four prints we chose are not directional, and the cuts are perfect squares, all the C Blocks are identical and are simply rotated to create the patchwork variety with the lightbulb strings in a different corner for each block. If you are using directional prints, you may need to create each of the four blocks individually to insure the prints are in the proper corners. Refer to the diagram above.

The two D Blocks

  1. Each block uses the following cuts:
    ONE 5" x 5" square of Print #6 - Holly and Berry Tree Line
    ONE 5" x 5" square of #10 - Bleached White
  2. Pin the pair right sides together along one 5" side. Stitch together. Press the finished seam towards the darker square.
  3. Repeat to create the matching pair.

The two E Blocks 

  1. Each block uses the following cuts:
    ONE 5" x 5" square of Print #6 - Holly and Berry Tree Line
    TWO 5" x 2¾" rectangles of #10 - Bleached White
  2. Pin one 5" x 2¾" solid rectangle to either side of one 5" x 5" print square. 
  3. Stitch together. Press the finished seams towards the square.

    NOTE: As you can see in the diagram above, we switched the direction of our Holly and Berry Tree Line print between the D Blocks and the E Blocks to add variety. 
  4. Repeat the steps to create the second E Block.

The one F Block

  1. This block uses the following cuts:
    ONE 9½" x 5" rectangle of Print #8 - Berry on Snow Winter Garden 
    TWO 9½" x 5" rectangles of Print # 7 - Mint Falling Snow
  2. Pin one Mint rectangle to either side of the Berry rectangle. 
  3. Stitch together. Press the finished seams towards the Berry. 

The two G Blocks

  1. The G Blocks are not actually sewn blocks, they are simply the TWO 9½" x 5" rectangles of Print #9 - Snow Tannenbaum.

Assembling the finished blocks into rows

When you are placing your blocks together, refer to the diagram above to make sure your pattern is following along correctly.

Row 1

  1. Collect the two A Blocks and one G Block.
  2. Pin one A Block to either side of the G Block. 
    NOTE: Our G Blocks were directional. We placed our trees so they faced the middle of the runner. The trees in Row 1 are facing down; the trees in Row 5 are facing up. In this way, the trees are viewed as "right side up" from either end.
  3. Stitch together. Remember, you are still using ¼" seam allowances throughout.
  4. Press all the seam allowances of row one together and to the right.

Row 5

  1. Collect the two B Blocks and one G Block.
  2. Pin one B Block to either side of the G Block. 
  3. Stitch together.  
  4. Press all the seam allowances of row five together and to the right.

Rows 2 and 4

  1. Collect the four C Blocks and two D Blocks.
  2. Pin one C Block to either side of each D Block. 

    NOTE: Make sure you are correctly rotating your C Blocks so the white corners are correctly configured: upper left and upper right in row 2, lower right and lower left in row 4. Again, refer to the diagram above if you are losing track. 
  3. Stitch together.  
  4. Press all the seam allowances of row two together and to the left.
  5. Press all the seam allowances of row four together and to the left.

Row 3 

  1. Collect the two E Blocks and one F Block.
  2. Pin one E Block to either side of the F Block. 
  3. Stitch together.  
  4. Press all the seam allowances of row three together and to the right.

Assembling the rows

  1. Collect the five rows. We assembled ours from the bottom up. 
  2. Find Row 5 and Row 4. Place them right sides together, carefully aligning the seams so your intersection will perfectly match. Did you notice the pressing to the left and to the right we did above? Now you can see why it was important. As you did going across the rows, it is much easier to align the corners when the seam allowances are opposite one another. Carefully pin in place. 
  3. Stitch the rows together, using a ¼" seam allowance.
  4. Place Row 3 right sides together with the unsewn side of Row 4. Carefully align the seam allowances and pin in place.
  5. Stitch the rows together, using a ¼" seam allowance.
  6. Continuing adding and stitching rows in this same manner until you have completed all 5 rows.
  7. Press all the seams from the back. 

Adding the pom pom fringe

  1. Find the 4 yards of pom pom fringe. Starting in the middle of one side, and leaving a few inches at the head, lightly pin the trim to the entire perimeter of the runner. You are working on the right side of the front of the runner, and the top edge of the trim insertion strip should be just slightly below the raw edge of the fabric. 
    NOTE: We prefer few if any pins when working with pom pom trim. It isn't a slippery trim and we find it helpful to guide the poms with our fingers.
  2. Use a ¼ seam allowance to stitch the trim in place. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to keep our seam perfect and consistent all around. 
  3. We you come to a corner, stop with your needle in the down position and curve the trim around the corner, keeping the poms out of the way of the needle.   
  4. When you've stitched all the way around and are approaching your starting point, stop about two inches away. Lock your stitch and cut the threads.
  5. Gently pull the trim away from the runner and pin the ends of the trim together. Try to place the seam to keep the poms at as consistent a distance as possible from one another while still allowing the trim to lay flat along the edge of the runner. Adjust the ends as needed. Laying flat is the number one priority; pom distance is number two. 
  6. Stitch the ends together. Trim away the excess poms.
  7. Place the trim back against the edge of the runner and complete the seam so it is in a perfect line with the original seam.

Layering 

  1. Lay the batting on your work surface. 
  2. Place the runner top, with the pom pom fringe basted in place, on the batting. The runner top should be right side up. 
  3. Pin baste the runner top to the batting. 
    NOTE: To "pin baste" means to place large safety pins through both layers to hold them together. About every 5-6" apart is good.
  4. Trim the batting flush with the runner top if need be
    NOTE: A ruler and rotary cutter is best for this step. 
  5. Lay the runner back (the Bleached White 23½ x 45" rectangle in our sample) on the runner top, right sides together, sandwiching the poms between the layers.
  6. Pin all around, leaving a 6" - 7" opening along one side for turning. 
  7. Stitch all around, using a ¼" seam allowance. Remember to lock your stitch at either side of the 6" x 7" opening. 
  8. Trim the corners.
  9. Turn the runner right side out. Push out all the corners. Press well. 
  10. Hand stitch the opening closed.
     

Quilting

  1. Pin baste all the layers. You can use the original safety pins. Simply unhook them and replace them through all three layers. We added some extra straight pins.
  2. Re-thread your machine with contrasting thread in the top and bobbin. We used aqua. 
  3. Attach a Walking or Even Feed foot if possible, it will help keep your layers from shifting. We were also able to use our Walking foot's quilt guide bar to keep a super straight line.  
    NOTE: If you don't have a Walking foot or a guide bar, you may want to consider drawing your quilting lines with a fabric pen or pencil prior to stitching to give yourself nice straight lines to follow. 
  4. To quilt the fabric and batting layers together, start from one corner, and stitch a line that runs diagonally through each square.
  5. Continue quilting diagonally through the quilt so each square has a diagonal line quilted through it. To avoid fabric bunching, work from the center outward to one side and then the other side.
  6. Rotate the runner top and stitch a diagonal line from the opposite direction to create an "X" in each square.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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