Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sewing: Quick Mitered Table Runner (Tutorial)

Another party, another table runner... At least that seems to be how it goes around here. This striped one is for one more gathering before it's truly Fall. I suppose it's an improvement over sewing a new tablecloth, or placemats and napkins for every party. I have done that certainly, but then I settled on my white pleated tablecloths for everything and add something on top. Usually: a table runner.

They are so easy, so why not? I love that a few yards of fabric and about thirty minutes produces a new look and the perfect way to set the theme for a gathering. I used a chevron table runner for Tess's Chevron Dot party and a green oversized gingham one for Scarlett's Modern Farm birthday, and a red gingham one for Scarlett's Woodland Picnic party, and I'm sure there will be more!

I always make them the same way, single-layered (though it would be nice if they were reversible or lined, but that's more fabric, cutting, etc.) with mitered corners. It's pretty simple sewing, but I thought I'd share a quick tutorial in case you haven't tried it before.

For the tutorial, click to read more.


My favorite way to crank out a few of these is to use 54"-60" wide fabric, but you can certainly use the standard 44"/45" width (and why by the way is every piece of fabric a bit narrower than it used to be...?!). I have found 2 1/2 yards to be the perfect length for a runner for a table that is about 72" long. I like a decent overhang on the ends. With wider fabric I simply fold the length in thirds and cut to create fabric for three table runners. If you have narrower fabric, cut the 2 1/2 yards to the width you would like. I think 18" is a nice width but you could certainly go wider, that would look great too.


Once I've got the piece of fabric cut to the right length and width I quickly (this is all about speed sewing for me) zigzag stitch the raw edges. I leave any selvedge as-is, because it won't fray. You could certainly serge the edges as well.


If I were in the slow sewing, beautiful finish mode (as in having the wrong side look as beautiful as the right side) I would turn the hem twice and hide the edge, but in my speed sewing ways I go right for the final, mitered hem. The zigzag stitching makes it easy to turn a straight hem too as opposed to turning a raw edge twice and stitching. I used to pin this in place or at least iron it before hand but now I sew and fold as I go. If you haven't mitered a corner before what you do is fold in the corner...

And then fold in one of the sides so that the side intersects the point of the corner. I used a fold close to 1/3". This sometimes takes a bit of play to fold the corner the correct amount.

Then I fold in the other edge to create a nice pointed corner without a lot of bulky overlap.

Now the trick is to do it while I'm sewing. Not too difficult really. I found that it works best if I start a few inches from a corner and fold the side in about 1/3 inch. I align the presser foot with the fold and start sewing on the wrong side with a straight stitch.

When I am a few inches from the corner and fold the corner in and then fold in the other side forming the right angle.

I sew to the place where the fold intersect over the folded corner, lift up the presser fit and pivot, and sew down the other side.

Voila! Mitered corners.

Now the table runner just needs some pressing.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant! In *all* these years, I never knew the secret to the perfect mitered corner was folding the corner down first. Now I know -- thanks! (Love all the fabrics you chose for your runners, too.)

Anonymous said...

One more thing ... the white pleated tablecloth -- did you make or buy? (Is it the same as the one with the yellow corner inserts?) Such a great basic to have for every occasion.

Anneliese said...

Thanks for yoru comments, Jennifer. I made the pleated tablecloth too--a great investment as I've used it so much! In fact I'm making another set in the next couple weeks.

Jeannie-JBsVintage said...

Great Tutorial for those of us who aren't 'perfect' sewers. Thank you.

Emily said...

Even your zigzags look great! :) I also really like the white pleated tablecloth. :)

Anonymous said...

Lovely-I would love it if you did a tutorial for the pleated tablecloth too!

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Seaweed and Raine said...

Cool fabric! My mum ued to miter her corners the same way! :)

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Michele said...

I *love* that cool wooden bowl. Where did you find it?

Anneliese said...

It's actually a metal bowl. i bought it at IKEA. Thanks!

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