As the season changes or during a specific holiday, isn’t it fun to decorate your home with beautiful new decor?
What is something that can immediately change the look of your kitchen, dining room, or living room? A table runner!
A quilted table runner can instantly transform your chosen room from winter to spring and can be the focal point and inspiration for the rest of your room decor.
In this post, I’m going to show you a simple Quilt As You Go (QAYG) table runner tutorial that will inspire you to make your own for every season and holiday!
Supplies You Will Need For a Quilted Table Runner
- Fabric: This table runner is a scrap-friendly project or great for a jelly roll project.
- Cutting Mat
- Rotary Cutter
- Batting: I recommend a low-volume cotton batting for a table runner.
- Backing Fabric: You can use either a solid color or a fun print. Either way, it can be a fun reversible project.
- Binding Fabric
- Sewing Machine
- Iron and Ironing Board
Before I jump into the actual tutorial, I want to go over a few things so the project won’t get confusing.
- Quilt As You Go (QAYG) is a specific technique and is NOT as intimidating as it sounds. It means you will be piecing your quilt and quilting at the same time. You’ll see what I mean with the help of my photos later on in the tutorial.
- The quilting on QAYG projects is hidden on the quilt top but will be visible on the back of the project.
- You can still do traditional quilting on your QAYG project if you want, but you don’t have to. If you look up quilted table runner patterns, many do not add quilting to their table runners after the initial piecing. It’s totally up to you and the look that you prefer.
- Set up your iron close to you because you’ll need to iron your strips after you stitch every seam to ensure your project stays neat with no puckering or folds.
- Table runner quilt patterns come in all shapes and sizes and, in this tutorial, I create a relatively simple, beginner-friendly design. I give you all my measurements, but you can adjust them to fit your specific table, of course. Think of this as more of a guide.
Quilt As You Go Table Runner Tutorial
With those thoughts in mind, let's get started with the simple steps to create your beautiful table runner.
Step 1: Decide the size of your runner.
The interior design rule for table runners suggests the runner should be at least ⅓ the width of your table, and depending on the look you want, it can drape over the edges of your table up to 12”.
I created a small table runner for my kitchen island. My family and I eat at the island several times a week, and having it drape isn’t the look I wanted. I also like the look of a slightly wider table runner than just ⅓ the width of my island, so I tweak my calculations a bit.
My island is 37 ½” x 62”. The size I have chosen to make my table runner is 15” x 46”. You can select the size you want to make your runner, depending on your tastes and needs. That is what’s so fun about making something yourself — you have complete control over every aspect of the project.
Step 2: Cut your pieces of fabric, batting, and backing fabric.
Here is what I cut for this project.
For the table runner top:
- Bird fabric: 1- 10 ½” x 15” and 2- 3 ½”x 15”
- Grey leaves: 2- 2 ½” x 15”
- Black leaves: 2- 1 ½” x 15”
- Black: 2- 2 ½” x 15” and 2- 4 ½” x 15”
- White: 4- ½” x 15”
- Pink: 4- 2 ½” x 15”
For the batting and backing:
- One of each, 17” x 48”: I like the batting and backing to be a little larger than the table runner top while doing the piecing/quilting just to ensure everything is adequately covered.
For the binding:
- White, 2 ½” x 130” binding
The size you cut your strips is totally up to you, and this is a great project to use up some scraps or that jelly roll you got two years ago, but you just haven’t had a project to use it for yet. Depending on your look, you can have your strips all the same width or different sizes like my example runner.
Step 3: Figure out the placement of your strips.
I wanted this beautiful bird fabric from Cotton and Steel as the focal point for this table runner. I pulled all my other fabrics from the color palette of the bird fabric. Once you have the placement figured out for your pieces, stack them up in order, so it’s easy when you go to sew it all together.
To stack your fabric, I would recommend starting in the middle and go right. Then once you reach the last piece on the right side, go back to the middle and start stacking towards the left. Then, once you sew your pieces together, you can start in the middle and do the right side first, then flip your project around and do the left side.
Tip: Take a picture of your placement to refer back to it while you are sewing your project together. I don’t know how it happens, but it always seems a piece gets out of place in my stacks, so I like to double-check with my picture before I sew something down.
Step 4: Layer your batting on top of your backing fabric.
Place your batting on top of your backing fabric (make sure your backing fabric is facing the right side down). To make sure your backing fabric stays smooth, you can use one of a few basting methods. You could:
- Use a basting spray.
- Use Elmer’s glue. (My personal favorite. It works very well, is non-toxic with no icky fumes, and it washes out perfectly in the washing machine.)
- Use pins. Just be EXTREMELY careful not to stitch on a pin (you could really harm your machine), and don’t forget one that might be stuck in your project.
- Use fusible batting.
I also made a mark at the center point of my batting to know where to place my first strip of fabric. The mark that I made was a very faint line, so I added a red dotted line to see it better.
Step 5: Begin sewing your strips onto your layers of batting and backing fabric.
Now the fun begins. The actual “quilt as you go” work is about to take place. Starting in the middle, work your way towards the right. Place your center strip right side up onto your batting.
Place your next strip on top of the center strip, right sides together, and be sure to line up your edges perfectly. Stitch the edge creating a ¼” seam just as you would normally when piecing together a quilt top. With this method, you are stitching through the batting and backing as well.
You have created your first QAYG portion of your project! Now take the second piece you just stitched to the center strip and fold it over right-side up. Press it, so it lays flat onto the batting.
Next, continue to follow this step until you piece together your entire project. Don’t forget to check your backing fabric after each seam you stitch to make sure it isn’t puckering or getting folded in any way.
Step 6: Finish your table runner as desired.
When you have completed sewing all your strips to your batting/backing sandwich, you can stop right there with the quilting and bind it as you would with any other quilted project.
For this project, I decided to add some more quilting to the strips, as I like the added whimsy of this loopy free motion quilting, and I felt some of the solid colors needed something extra.
However, the project itself didn’t need more quilting. All the quilting is on the inside of the table runner — unless you flip your project over and see those lovely straight lines you stitched through the back.
Once I finished quilting, I trimmed off the extra batting and backing and did my quilt binding on the raw edges to finish up the project.
I so enjoy doing projects like this because the sky is the limit. With all the different holiday and seasonal fabrics available in stores and online, you can personalize your home whenever you want to with some fabric, thread, and a little creativity.
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This quilt as you go table runner is a fantastic option for a super quick and easy project as well.
So if you find yourself in need of a last-minute gift, or you can’t find the right decoration for a party you’re hosting, you can pull up this tutorial and make something beautifully handmade and original.
About the author: Miriam Ronne is a lover of all things quilting and sewing. She is a self-taught quilter and is constantly learning and broadening her skill set to create one-of-a-kind quilts! When she's not behind her sewing machine you can find her playing with her fur babies or trying her hand at other crafty things.