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Pleated & Pressed Linen Table Runner

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Yesterday, we introduced you to a new, favorite tool in our sewing studio: the Oliso® TG1050 Smart Iron with iTouch® TechnologyBelieve it or not, we actually had fun ironing (read our full review here)! Today, we're putting the iron to a real test with a pleated table runner in a solid-color washed linen. There's plenty o' pressing in this project, but having a great iron made it fast and easy. The beauty of the runner is in the texture of the pleated squares side by side with the plain squares. It looks best in a solid, which really shows off the definition. Plus - we show you a fun way to create pretty mitered corners without using a separate binding strip. Our "binding" is actually the folded over edges of the back panel - binding and back all in one!

Our beautiful linen was provided by today's co-sponsor, Fabric.com. Ours is a Brussels Washer Linen Blend in Lime (#DJ424). It's so fresh and springy, but there are many other pretty options from which to choose. You might want to check out Robert Kaufman's Essex Linen Blend in Light Blue (#FJ069) and the Robert Kaufman Essex Linen Blend in Rose (#FF288).

Take a minute to read our Oliso® Review and find out how you can enter to win your very own Oliso® TG1050.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Supplies listed below are for ONE table runner, which finishes at approximately 17" x 45".

Getting Started

  1. From the linen, cut SIX 5½" x width-of-fabric (WOF) strips. From these strips, sub cut the following:
    FOURTEEN 5½" x 13" rectangles
    THIRTEEN 5½" x 5½" squares
  2. From the remaining linen, cut ONE 20" x 50" rectangle.
  3. From the batting, cut ONE 17" x 47" rectangle

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board


  1. Along each 5½" x 13" rectangle, create five ¾" knife pleats. Mark the first fold at 1¼" from the end with each additional marking spaced ¾" apart, making the last line 1¼" from the opposite end. 
  2. There will be 15 marked lines for each rectangle. 
  3. Press into place, following the marked lines.
  4. The finished pleating will yield a 5½" x 5½" square.
  5. If you are new to this technique, we have a great step-by-step tutorial on making knife pleats

Assemble the blocks into rows

  1. Alternate the pleated squares with the plain squares as shown in the diagram above, orienting the pleats as shown in the diagram above (in essence, the pleats are all facing towards the nearest binding). 

    NOTE: For our pleated squares, we did not stitch close to the edges to secure the pleats in place. This reduced the bulk along the seam lines, but it also made it a bit harder to keep the pleats in place during stitching. If you are new to working with pleats, you may want to place a piece of tape across the center of the pleats. This will hold the pleats in place but will still keep the bulk at bay in the seaming.  
  2. Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew the squares together into NINE rows of three squares.
  3. Press the seam allowances toward the plain squares. 
  4. When your rows are complete, you can stitch them together. 
  5. 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. 
  6. Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew the rows together. Press the seam allowances toward the rows with two plain squares and one pleated square.

Finishing with quick mitered corners

  1. Center the pieced panel right side up on the batting. There should be ¾" of batting extending beyond the fabric on all sides. 
  2. Baste the two layers together around the outer edge and through the middle. To do this, you can place large safety pins through the layers (about every 4-5") or use a long running stitch with needle and thread. 
  3. Attach a Walking foot to your machine or engage your fabric feeding system, as we did with our AcuFeed Flex™. 
  4. Stitch in the ditch along the seams. This means you are stitching right along each of the previously sewn block and row seams.
  5. Find the 20" x 48" backing rectangle. This will be the backing and the border in one!
  6. Place the rectangle wrong side up on your ironing board. Fold and press ½" along each of the four sides. 
  7. Then, fold and press and additional 1" on all four sides. 
  8. Here's our starting corner with the two rounds of folding and pressing completed.
  9. Unfold the first fold (the 1" fold) of one corner so you can see the crease lines. Fold in the corner at a diagonal, matching the crease lines along the sides. Press the diagonal fold to set a new crease line.  This will be your guideline for the mitered corner.
  10. Unfold the diagonal and then re-fold the corner right sides together so the folded edges match. Stitch across the corner, following the pressed-in diagonal line. 
  11. Trim the excess corner point to ¼" from the sewn seam.
  12. Open and smooth the seam. Turn the corner right side out. Press to create a perfect miter. Repeat for the remaining corners.  
  13. Lay the backing flat on your work surface with the folded edges facing up.
  14. Place the top pleated/batting panel right side up on the backing panel. Insert the top panel's raw corners into each mitered corner. 
  15. Smooth the folded edges over the batting. Hand smooth so all the layers are nice and flat. 
  16. Pin in place all around, making sure the folded edge of the backing panel covers the raw edges of the quilted panel. 
  17. Edgestitch along the folded edge, pivoting at each mitered corner. 
  18. Steam the layers so the runner, and all its pretty pleats, is smooth and flat.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler



Comments (22)

Rita Woodham said:
Rita Woodham's picture

I need help with the marking and pleating on this table runner. I plan to teach it next week at my fabric store and was working on my sample and I do not get 15 marked lines and my pleats only measure 5". 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Rita Woodham - It's hard to troubleshoot long distance as we can't see exactly where the trouble may lie. Aross each 13" width, the first line is 1-1/4" from the raw side edge. The 15th line is 1-1/4" in from the opposite raw side edge. The 13 lines in between are 3/4" apart. When pleated, it should equal 5-1/2". The link above to the separate Knife Pleating tutorial may offer some help as well. All our S4H projects are copyrighted and we don't normally extend useage to classrooms; please let your students know this is a Sew4Home tutorial. Thanks so much. 

Rita Woodham said:
Rita Woodham's picture

I remeasured and got it. I'll let you knowho's the students do with it.

mauilover49 said:
mauilover49's picture

I am making this table runner but adapting Christmas fabrics. I end up with my top being much longer than the bottom. Not sure what I am doing wrong. But the top consists of 9 squares equaling a finished width of 45-1/2". The bottom starts out at 48" and then you fold over each end 1-1/2" with the final width being 45".  Any help?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ mauilover49 - we checked with our seamstress on this project and you are correct. There are two errors above in the cut lengths. We have made the corrections above - the back panel should be 20" x 50" and the batting/fleece should be 17" x 47". We are so sorry for the error. We try diligently to check and double check each and every item in each and every article, but with hundreds of little numbers flowing across our desks, sometimes something get missed. We appreciate you letting us know. To salvage your existing cuts, on the batting/fleece, you could just butt the additional length to the existing cut and use a large zigzag to join the two pieces. For the backing, it could have a seam in the center without changing the look. 

Barbara B said:
Barbara B's picture

Very nice. Glad to see the mitering done the way I have done it for years,so much easier and quicker than doing it the old way.

Constancelmeyer said:
Constancelmeyer's picture

I love this elegant table runner and can't wait to make it.  I just have to decide whether to make it for myself or as a gift for my sister.  

Sheryl said:
Sheryl's picture

This could be taken to an even larger project and a coverlet for a bed.

TanyaL said:
TanyaL's picture

I was thinking the same thing before I made the table runner!   If I were to make it for a bed, I would definitely choose a different fabric.  sewing the linen that I used was a dream but working with it was a total nightmare!

Christine Dallimore said:
Christine Dallimore's picture

  Thank you so very much for this wonderful Table Runner as must have and will have to make some placemats to match

daisygirl said:
daisygirl's picture

I love working with linen. This table runner is just in time for the Spring:)

MKP Design said:
MKP Design's picture

OMGoodness!  What a great project.  Love it!  I can't wait to get started! 

Jane Coombs said:
Jane Coombs's picture

Linen, such a great natural fabric, enhanced by ironing. Elegant.

Dawna said:
Dawna's picture

This would great for my daughters too in a different color

mpistey said:
mpistey's picture

I can't wait to get started, what a gorgeous table runner!  I know I'll have to make 2 if my daughter sees it...

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