Yesterday, we introduced you to a new, favorite tool in our sewing studio: the Oliso® TG1050 Smart Iron with iTouch® Technology. Believe 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).
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QC)
- Walking foot (the Janome MC8900 QCP has the built-in AcuFeed Flex™ fabric-feeding system; if you do not have this option, use a Walking foot or similar)
- Quarter Inch Seam foot (optional, but helpful since many of the seams are ¼"; it is a standard accessory for the MC8900 QCP)
- Quality iron; we used the Oliso® TG1050 Smart Iron with iTouch® Technology
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 2 yards 50"+ wide premium solid color linen; we used 52" Brussels Washer Linen Blend (55% linen/45% rayon) in Lime from Fabric.com
- ½ yard of 45" wide lightweight, low loft batting; we used 45" wide, 100% cotton fleece 2107 Natural One batting by Pellon
- All purpose thread to coordinate with fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Large safety pins for pin-basting or hand sewing needle and contrasting thread-basting
- 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
- From the remaining linen, cut ONE 20" x 48" rectangle.
- From the batting, cut ONE 17" x 45" rectangle
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- 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.
- There will be 15 marked lines for each rectangle.
- Press into place, following the marked lines.
- The finished pleating will yield a 5½" x 5½" square.
- If you are new to this technique, we have a great step-by-step tutorial on making knife pleats.
Assemble the blocks into rows
- 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.
- Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew the squares together into NINE rows of three squares.
- Press the seam allowances toward the plain squares.
- When your 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.
- 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
- Center the pieced panel right side up on the batting. There should be ¾" of batting extending beyond the fabric on all sides.
- 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.
- Attach a Walking foot to your machine or engage your fabric feeding system, as we did with our AcuFeed Flex™.
- Stitch in the ditch along the seams. This means you are stitching right along each of the previously sewn block and row seams.
- Find the 20" x 48" backing rectangle. This will be the backing and the border in one!
- Place the rectangle wrong side up on your ironing board. Fold and press ½" along each of the four sides.
- Then, fold and press and additional 1" on all four sides.
- Here's our starting corner with the two rounds of folding and pressing completed.
- 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.
- 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.
- Trim the excess corner point to ¼" from the sewn seam.
- Open and smooth the seam. Turn the corner right side out. Press to create a perfect miter. Repeat for the remaining corners.
- Lay the backing flat on your work surface with the folded edges facing up.
- Place the top pleated/batting panel right side up on the backing panel. Insert the top panel's raw corners into each mitered corner.
- Smooth the folded edges over the batting. Hand smooth so all the layers are nice and flat.
- Pin in place all around, making sure the folded edge of the backing panel covers the raw edges of the quilted panel.
- Edgestitch along the folded edge, pivoting at each mitered corner.
- 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