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?
Free printable PDF version of this tutorial is available at the bottom of this post.
How to Make a Quilted Table Runner: a Step by Step Tutorial
Begin by deciding what size quilted 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 quilted 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 quilted 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, onto 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 ¼″ 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 ¼″ 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’ straight 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.