DIY Reversible Table Runner: It’s better than any tablecloth

Table runners are so much more versatile than tablecloths. The size isn’t as hard to nail down and a fabric table runner is so much easier to wash. I find myself reaching for a runner when I am doing a table setting for company, so I decided to make a few more to add to my collection.

The other great thing about a table runner is that they don’t take a lot of fabric. It’s a great way to use up leftover pieces of your own fabric. This is a fun project to add table decor that you can customize to any color scheme or occasion.

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Tools You’ll Need

  • Two different fabrics, one for each side. I used snowflake fabric on one side and indigo blue dots on the other.
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors or a rotary cutter
  • Straight edge or yardstick
  • Batting – this is made with the thinnest batting you can get
  • Thread – I used light blue for the seams down the center and white to attach the binding
  • Iron and ironing board or some sort of ironing surface

The fabrics you choose can coordinate or be opposite. You can only see one side when you’re using it. I bound my table runner with white fabric because both fabrics coordinate well with white. You can use a third fabric in print for the binding too.

It is not necessary to prewash the fabric.

Step by Step Instructions to Make a Reversible Runner

Cutting with a rotary cutter and a straight edge makes it easier to cut a straight line. To add a little texture to the top we decided to make a quilted table runner. We sewed a square pattern into the runner, but this is optional.

Most home decor projects only require sewing only straight seams. This was the perfect project for me since straight stitching is in my comfort zone.

  1. The first thing to do is decide how long and wide you want your runner to be. I wanted 13 inches x 78 inches in length. This makes it so that the runner hangs 12 inches over the edge of my dining room table. That’s a good rule of thumb for size.
  2. Cut both fabrics and the batting to be one inch wider and one inch longer than you want the finished runner. This is for your seam allowance.
  3. Cut enough 2.5-inch wide binding to go around all the sides plus 3 inches. You will probably need to join the binding pieces together, which is detailed below.

Assemble the Pieces

  1. The next step is to sew the binding strips together by setting the pieces at right angles and sewing across the angle. Cut off the excess fabric in the corners, fold the binding in half and press.
  2. Lay the fabrics out with the batting in between. The right sides of the fabric face out.
  3. Sew a straight line down the middle lengthwise to hold everything in place.
  4. Lay the fabrics out and straighten the edges with scissors or a rotary cutter.
  5. Sew cross seams to make the squares (optional step).

Attach Binding

  1. Hold the raw edges of the binding along the outside edge of the runner
  2. Sew along the outside edge as close to the edge as possible. I used a 1/4-inch seam allowance for this step (this is about the width of the presser foot).
  3. When you reach a corner sew out at a 45-degree angle to the edge, Fold the binding away from the runner and then back over itself and continue sewing the rest of the way around.
  4. When you get to the last few inches from being all the way around, cut the binding so that it overlaps by 2 and 1/2 inches. Pull the binding away from the runner and sew it together at a 45-degree angle. Align it against the runner and finish attaching the binding on the first side.
  5. Once the binding is sewn on one side, fold it over to the other side and hand stitch it down. You can add a stitch about every 1/2 inch..

The nice thing about this kind of runner, which is almost like a small quilt, is that it is machine washable.

What’s the Point of a Table Runner?

I like to use a table runner because it’s a much easier decorative element to clean than a tablecloth. The size doesn’t have to be exact either.

You can set any kind of table centerpiece on top of the runner with your place settings on the table itself.

Do You Have to Use Batting?

We made a second runner with no batting, see below. If you want a runner that lays completely flat, don’t use the batting.

If you make a runner without batting you can use a thicker fabric like a cotton duck, denim, or ticking.

The process for making this is the same as making a reversible napkin, with different measurements. It’s a much more simple project if you aren’t as comfortable with sewing because there is no binding to attach.

This DIY project is a quick way to make your own table runner. It’s an easy sewing project that would make a great gift during the holiday season.

You might like this post about painting charger plates from the Dollar Store, how to paint fabric using a table runner as the example, or how to make a T-shirt quilt.

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    1. It’s for you to take back when you come in March. So don’t make one.

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