Table Runner Tutorial

(This easy quilted table runner tutorial was originally a guest tutorial at V & Co.)
Today I’m going to share a quick method of making a quilted table runner by quilting and piecing all at the same time! (Does that blow your mind? I hope not. It’s really fun. And easy, I promise.) Let’s start playing, shall we?
Begin by deciding what size table runner you want.  I do it by taking the piece of batting right to my table itself. (Please don’t enlarge this picture or you will see pencil scribbling, pink nail polish, green sparkly marker, etc.  This is why I didn’t buy my kitchen table from the Pottery Barn. Saves a lot of stress. But I digress . . .) 
You can make any size table runner you want, so customize it to your space. Do keep in mind that your runner will shrink when you wash it, so you may want to cut a little bigger.  After you’ve cut your batting, cut your back fabric slightly larger than your batting all the way around.  You can make a reversible table runner if you pick a pretty fabric for the back.

Iron your batting (if it was a wadded up remnant like mine) on a low heat setting. Be careful not to stretch it out of shape.  Then iron your backing fabric on a high-heat cotton setting to get all wrinkles out.  You will be sewing your top strips through all the layers of of batting and backing so you want to start as smooth as possible.  If you are using a Warm & Natural type batting it has a little bit of adhesive stuff on it (which is why you don’t want to iron directly on it on a hot setting.) This is helpful for keeping your batting and backing fabric together and smooth.

After both pieces are pressed individually, center the batting on the wrong side of the backing fabric. Carefully flip both over and press the backing fabric with batting underneath on a high heat setting. This will create enough of a bond to hold them together without having to pin the heck out of them.  If you feel more comfortable, or if you batting isn’t lightly adhering to the backing fabric, you could use a quilters spray adhesive to hold them together.

Okay, on to the fun part.
Next cut a collection of strips of different fabrics.  This is a great way to use up all those scraps that accumulate that you just can’t bear to part with.  This would also be a great use for a Jelly Roll or Honey Bun. I personally like the variation of strip widths in my runner, but that is purely personal preference. (Some of my fabrics are old from my stash, and some are from collections like Verna and Hunky Dory by Moda as well as Simply Sweet by Henry Glass.)
Arrange your strips on top of your backing and batting.
Trim any long ends so the strips are roughly the same length.
Starting at the center strip (roughly – doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect – this isn’t rocket science) stack the strips in order they were laid out, making two piles – a right-side-of-center pile and a left-side-of-center pile.  Keep the strips and piles in order so you don’t have to think (as much) while you sew.
Take the first strip from the right-side-pile and pin it (right sides together) matching right edges. (I know, I know, pinning is a pain, but it really does help here to keep the strips straight.)
Take the whole thing to the machine and sew a 1/4″ seam down the right edge of the strips – through the batting and backing fabric. (It helps to roll the right end of the batting/backing so it doesn’t wad up on that side while you’re sewing.)
Now press that seam open.
(Do it carefully on the first few strips so you don’t melt your batting.)

Return to your two piles of strips and this time take the top one from the left-side pile.  Pin the strip in place matching the left edges.  Repeat the process, sewing another 1/4″ seam and pressing the seam open.  Let me stress here, don’t skip the pressing step.  Your strips will lie neater and flatter will get a much cleaner looking project in the end.

Repeat these steps, alternating right-side and left-side piles until you have finished sewing all the strips to the edges of the table runner.

See how pretty it looks? Really, you could just stop here and bind if you like, but personally I love the look of quilting, so let’s do that next!

The quilting is pretty simple at this point.  I just ‘eyeball’ strait lines using the strips as guides. Again I start in the middle, this time working toward the right side.  Then come back to the middle and work toward the other direction. I sew one line down to the edge of the quilt, pivot the foot parallel to the edge of the runner, drag the thread about an inch (or however far apart you want the quilting to be), pivot the foot again and sew a new row of quilting going the opposite direction from the row you just finished.
When everything is quilted as much (or as little) as you’d like, square off the raw edges.
Then it’s time to attach the binding.  Rather than go into all that here (this post is already kind of lengthy) I have a binding tutorial here.

And voila! Here’s what it looks like fresh out of the dryer. I love how a quick wash softens up the look of the whole thing.

I also love how the back looks – a pretty, quilted runner on its own.
Many thanks again, Vanessa for letting me come hang out today! 


  1. says

    These are so cute. And I just cleaned out my scrap bin today and found a bunch of jelly roll strips and some batting remnants. And just the other day I was wishing I had a new runner for our coffee table. Guess what I might do tonight?

  2. says

    How timely! I was just trying to figure out what to do with a Christmas honeybun – not enough for a quilt, but it could make some really neat table runners and hot pads! Thanks!!!

  3. says

    Very pretty! I'm on a stash-busting mission lately. I may have to give this one a shot. Much easier than learning to free-motion where I've been struggling lately.

  4. says

    neat! I&#39;ve been making this kind for years for christmas gifts and never thought to put up a tutorial!<br />fun fun, and easy! yes, definitely!

  5. says

    That is GENIUS!! My mom paid to take a class to learn this. I am so excited! I can&#39;t wait to get started! I just redid my kitchen and I&#39;ve been wanting to make a runner for the table to match the new colors!!

  6. says

    Amy, I actually made a table runner about two weeks ago using this tutorial. It turned out so great. I haven&#39;t blogged about it yet, but you can see a preview in my new header. Thank you so much for a great idea. I really that it doesn&#39;t require a walking foot.

  7. says

    Thanks for sharing. I have been looking for a great table runner idea, and I love yours. I can&#39;t wait to start my own.

  8. says

    I love it! Thank you so much for posting this! I remembered seeing this technique when I was a teen but I couldn&#39;t quite remember how to do it. I need to get working now :)

  9. says

    I was looking for easiest quilting tute to get started on my quilting expedition, thanks a ton. This post relieved of my jitters and here i am ready to make my first quilt ever.

  10. says

    I don&#39;t recall which road I traveled down to find your tutorial but it is great! I just finished a birthday table runner that coordinates with a birthday quilt I made. My son&#39;s 8th is Sunday and the party is Saturday. I have a million things to do but I&#39;ve had a bee in my bonnet about the tutorial since I read about it. Finally, i surrendered last night and pulled out the fabric.

  11. says

    This is adorable! Thanks for the very detailed tutorial with step-by-step instructions! I&#39;m a newbie quilter and the details really make the pattern seem achievable!! Saving this for scraps (when I have accumulated some)! :-)

  12. says

    Love your blog…..I heard about it at Pleasant Home blog where I am learning (I think) how to use up my stash. This table runner sure looks fun and very similar to the string quilt I&#39;m working on at present. So, guess I now have another project (which I will give to my sister)…this runner! Thanks for the tutorial!<br /><br />Karen

  13. says

    Thank you for this tutorial. One of my best friends turned 41 today and I hadn&#39;t bought her a present due to the constant presence of sick kids lately. I made this runner after lunch and was almost done in time for the school run. I finished hand sewing the binding while my husband drove us to the school, popped the runner into a gift bag and the present was delivered. My friend loved it and

  14. says

    Made one of these this afternoon for my friends 41st birthday present. Amost done in time for the school run so my husband drove while I finished sewing the binding on the way there. Popped it into a gift bag and delivered it to the birthday girl. She loved it, as did I. Guess I will have to make one for myself next. Bet that one takes longer than two and a half hours to make!

  15. says

    LOVE THIS!!! Found you from Family of Savages (she made a few of these as Christmas presents) and I cannot wait to make one! Thank you so much for sharing such a great tutorial! I&#39;ll let you know when I post about it! <br />xoxo<br />Ginger<br />SSB

  16. says

    Hello Amy!! I just found your blog…I didn&#39;t even know you did one! :) I love it! Adding it my blog reader and I am going to attempt this beautiful runner! Hugs!!

  17. says

    I love this method and have did one in blues and purples – it was gorgeous and also my BIL&#39;s favorite!! You have inspired me to make some during the March Break holiday with a palette of spring fabric!! Thanks!

  18. says

    I love this method and have did one in blues and purples – it was gorgeous and also my BIL&#39;s favorite!! You have inspired me to make some during the March Break holiday with a palette of spring fabric!! Thanks!

  19. says

    I just found your site and I love it! Thank you for making the tutorials so simple and easy to understand! I can&#39;t wait to get started on some of these projects!

  20. says

    Hi Amy, Funny thing…I found your tutorial a while ago and used it to make a table runner. I have been trying to explain to my SIL about this technique but she couldn&#39;t wrap her brain around it. On her own, she found this post and sent it to me. I only laughed because, well, I had used it too. It&#39;s the one that made the light bulb turn on for me too.

  21. says

    LOL…I am Suzanne&#39;s SIL (above)and I really want to thank you for this! I am pretty visual, and Suzanne kept verbally considering &quot;quilt as you go&quot; for several projects. Every time she mentioned it, I asked her to (AGAIN!) explain it to me. It was not working…I would have had her show me, but we live about 1800 miles apart. So I went searching and found this. Truly awesome, and I

  22. says

    I&#39;ve been wanting to make this runner for awhile – finally got around to it. I used leftover fabrics from a banner project – so I had everything already on hand. You have saved me from my fear of quilting – I&#39;m in love with this easy project (although I did cheat and machine sew the bias trim). Thanks so much. <br /><br />

  23. says

    Thank you so much for this beautifully-written tutorial! I&#39;m about to finish hand-sewing the binding on my first table runner, and I love it. Will post it in your Flickr group when it&#39;s done. It&#39;s only the second thing I&#39;ve quilted, so it seems like a real big deal to me. Thanks for the tutorial and all the other inspiration you share.

  24. Anonymous says

    Thank you for the simple and easy to follow instructions. I just finihsed [in dryer] my table topper. It was a brown bag project that I had no idea what I was getting. I hope she likes it- We&#39;ll see at our quilters Christmas gathering tonight. If I can figure out how to post photos, I will. I love your site. It&#39;s very welcoming and helpful. I am a beginner sewer &amp; quilter and I really

  25. says

    Amy – Thanks so much for this tutorial. I&#39;ve looked at it at least 100 times, but haven&#39;t tried it. Last week I trying to figure out what to make a friend&#39;s wife and had about 2 hours before I had to mail the box to New Zealand. I had Christmas fabric and then I remembered this tutorial! Thanks so much. She loves it!

  26. says

    I&#39;ve had you in my favorites for a while now and always wanted to try this runner – your runners are nothing less than adorable (I love the one you made for your mom in law)<br />I finished my first one yesterday and also noted credit to you and added a link to your tutorial. Many thanks for sharing how to create these beautiful runners :)<br />Here is how mine turned out! http://

  27. says

    Oh Happy Day!!!! I just wait to try this. I just made my first set of foundation piecing coasters with random sized and shaped scraps and this is so going on my to do list soon! Thanks :)

  28. says

    yay!! My first FINISHED quilt project :-) I have many partials…. but never could SEE the way to finish them! Your tutorial has helped me figure it out… I am excited to dive back in my fabric stash!

  29. says

    I just found this on Pinterest and made up a couple winter runners. So easy and cute!! And your binding tutorial (I&#39;ve always hated binding!!) made it quick and easy! Thanks so much :)

  30. says

    I LOVE this table runner. And using your awesome beginners series for quilting, I&#39;m learning to use my sewing machine and play with quilting! So I&#39;m making this runner my first project. I&#39;m using a Moda jelly roll for my strips (with a couple other strips of another fabric mixed in). It&#39;s going well so far considering it&#39;s my first quilt and first major sewing project. <br /><

  31. says

    This is so cute! Your tutorial is wonderful – easy to follow with great photos. I will have to try one of these. Thanks so much for sharing.

  32. says

    Oh I just found your tutorial–Love, love love this method. I need one for a hostess gift and will make it oday…thank you so much for a great method–am bookmarking this baby! hugs, Julierose

  33. says

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  34. says

    How timely! I was just trying to figure out what to do with a Christmas honeybun – not enough for a quilt, but it could make some really neat table runners and hot pads! Thanks!!!


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