How to make a table runner

Written by ehow contributor
How to make a table runner
Make an attractive runner to decorate your table. (Andrey_Kuzmin/iStock/Getty Images)

Table runners add a touch of elegance to your table setting for a dinner party or special occasion. They can also protect the table's surface from hot serving dishes and spills. Make place mats, a tablecloth and napkins to match the runner and give the set as a gift.


  1. 1

    Choose a cotton or cotton-polyester blend fabric in the colour or print of your choice. Select the same amount of fabric in a lighter weight for the backing of your table runner.

  2. 2

    Pre-wash the fabric and press with an iron.

  3. 3

    Use a fabric-cutting board, ruler and fabric-marking pen to measure out a length of fabric that is 180 by 74 cm (71 by 29 inches). Before marking, fold the fabric in half so that the short ends meet; this will make it easier to measure and mark it. Repeat this for the backing fabric.

  4. 4

    Make a mark at the centre of each short edge of fabric with a fabric-marking pen. Measure 12.5 cm (5 inches) down from the top of each short end along both edges, and mark these points. Use a ruler to draw lines that connect the centre points to each edge and cut along these lines.

  5. 5

    Repeat this process for the backing fabric. You will now have two pieces of fabric that are pointed at the ends.

  6. 6

    Press each raw fabric edge under 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) towards the wrong side of the fabric. Use the steam setting on your iron to make sharp fabric edges that keep the pressed edges in place.

  7. 7

    Pin the table runner front to the backing piece, with the wrong sides together. Make sure that the pressed edges match up evenly and that the fabric pieces are securely pinned together along the edges and centre. The pins should be at right angles to the fabric edges at 5 cm (2 inch) intervals.

  8. 8

    Use a sewing machine to stitch 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) from the edges of the table runner. Stitch on all four sides. When you reach a corner or point, lift the presser foot of the sewing machine and swivel the fabric so that your stitching line remains straight. Keep the needle inserted in the fabric as you reposition.

  9. 9

    Stitch around the fabric edges once again, this time only 3.5 mm (1/8 inch) from fabric edge.

  10. 10

    Sew one small button on to each end of your table runner. Buttons should be placed about 5 cm (2 inches) from the points on the table runner back. Use these buttons to hang tassels. Remove the tassels when you wash the tunner.

Tips and Warnings

  • Make your table runner any length you desire. The ends should drape over table edges.
  • Choose a seasonal print for your table runner and a complementary solid colour for the backing if you are making the table runner for a gift or will be using it to set your own Christmas table.
  • Choose quilted fabric to give your table runner a padded look.
  • Finish raw fabric edges before pressing the hem if the fabric looks like it will ravel easily.

Things you need

  • 2 metres (2 1/4 yards) backing fabric
  • 2 metres (2 1/4 yards) runner fabric
  • Dressmaker pins
  • Fabric-marking pens
  • Ironing board
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • 2 Shirt buttons
  • Ruler

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