Thursday, 6 November 2014

Easy Christmas Table Runner

Easy Christmas Table Runner
Easy Christmas Table Runner
The following is a photo tutorial for my Easy Christmas Table Runner pattern. This is not intended as a stand-alone tutorial. Instead, it works as an additional reference to the pattern, which is available for free (Click the image below to download your own copy). 
Easy Christmas Table Runner Pattern
Easy Christmas Table Runner Free PDF Pattern
The purpose of this tutorial is to give a few little tips that couldn't be included in the pattern, unless I wanted to make it hundreds of pages long...which I didn't. I also find that some people follow photos better than diagrams.

The table runner uses simple strip piecing to create a great effect. If you’re interested in changing things up, here’s a quick rundown of where the strips fall in the table runner.
Placement of strips
Placement of strips

Piecing Instructions

Note: I highly recommend decreasing your stitch length when sewing your strips together. This will help prevent the threads from coming loose when you cut through them.

Sew the strips together in the order detailed in the pattern. 
Strips sewn in order
Sew the strips in order
Press all the seams in the same direction. This will help the seams nest together nicely later in the process.
Seams pressed
Seams pressed
Sub-cut your sewn piece into 2 ½’’ strips. Make sure of the seams are as straight as possible. To do this, I use the horizontal markings on my ruler to make sure the seams are running parallel to each other. You will need to make sure your edges are straight too. It can feel a bit ‘octopus arms’ but it’s worth the extra effort.

Quite often, I square things up every few strips, on account of my ruler having a huge bend in it (ask me how much fun that is to work with). The more accurate you are here, the easier it will be for your pieces to fit when you sew them back together.
Sub-cut the strips
Sub-cut  2 1/2'' strips
User ruler markings to ensure seams are straight
Use your ruler markings to ensure the horizontal seams are straight.
E.g. the red seam against the 18.5'' mark above.
Strips sub-cut
Strips are cut and ready to sew

Create End Units

There are two end units for this table runner...on account of it having two ends (I'm so funny). You can either complete the steps separately, as written in the pattern, or production line them (i.e. do all the unpicking and then all the sewing, for both units at the same time). It is quicker to production line but, this may lead to additional unpicking if you get a bit turned around. I tend to tackle them exactly as written in the pattern, so I’m focussing on only one step at a time. I believe that ‘quick and easy’ doesn't necessarily mean ‘the best for everyone’. Do what works for you.

Note: Remember to rotate every odd strip throughout construction. You should never have the same colour touching (except for white).
Unpick the first strip
Unpick the first strip
Unpick the second strip
Unpick the second strip
Sew these two strips together as per the pattern.

The seams should neatly lock together, making it easier to sew.
Seams locking neatly together
The seams lock neatly together
The pattern says to press to the left, but it really doesn't make a difference. I usually leave my pressing until right before I attach my borders. I simply included that as it can throw people if there aren’t clear pressing instructions.
First two strips sewn
First two strips sewn
Unpick the fourth strip
Unpick the third strip
Three strips sewn
Three strips sewn
Unpick the third strip
Unpick the fourth strip

Make sure you have made two end units. You should have used four strips per unit, leaving you with eight strips remaining to be sewn. If not, you may need to go back and check each step.
Two end units complete
Two end units complete

Create the body of the table runner

Take one end unit and continue adding to it, one strip at a time, until you have used your remaining eight strips. Remember to rotate every odd strip.

Pay special attention to where you are joining the strips. The first one aligns directly with the top of the end unit. After this, each strip is sewn one square down from the strip before. It is important that this staggering is correct in order to get the diamond effect of the table runner.
Sewing the strips to the end unit
Pay attention to both the direction and the positioning of each strip
All strips sewn
The remaining eight strip are attached

Attach the right end unit

Now all you need to do is attach your right end unit and you have the main part of the table runner complete.

Make sure the right end is rotated and aligned as per the pattern instructions.
Attach the final end unit
Attach the final end unit
Main part of the table runner complete
Main part of the table runner complete

Borders

Trim the white points off of the edges. 

NOTE: Take your time here and really make sure that you’re cutting at least ¼’’ above the coloured diamonds. If you don’t, you may find your diamonds all lose their pointy little heads when you attach the borders.
Cut 1/4'' above the coloured points
Cut 1/4'' above the coloured points - see the ruler positioning?
Table runner trimmed
Table runner trimmed
You will notice in the pattern that I don't use specific measurements for the borders. I find it easier to just sew the strips on and then trim back, reusing the excess where possible.

Start by attaching the top and bottom strips. It's best to sew with the table runner on top so you can see the seams and make sure you're not cutting off your points.
Sew with the table runner on top
Sew with the table runner on top and pay close attention to the coloured points
Top and bottom borders attached
Top and bottom borders attached
Carefully line up the ruler with the edges of the table runner to make sure your borders will take the correct shape.
Line up the ruler with the table runner edges
Line up the ruler with the table runner edges
Top and bottom borders trimmed
Top and bottom borders trimmed
Repeat this process for each edge around the table runner. When sewing the pointed end border strips, start sewing near the end of the strip so you can use the excess for another border.

Sew the border to the pointed edges
Sew the border to the pointed edges, staying close to one end of the border strip
Trim in line with the table runner
Trim in line with the table runner
Pointed edge trimmed
Pointed edge trimmed
Continue until all borders are added
Continue until all borders are added
Seriously, how awesome does this look???

Table runner top complete
Table runner top complete

Quilting and Binding  

I was a bit lazy with my quilting on this one. I had grand plans of fancy free-motion quilting, but decided to just follow the diagonals and stitch in the ditch. To be honest, I can’t think of many designs that wouldn’t look great here, so go nuts.
Quilted diagonals
Quilted diagonals
Finally, a moment of honesty…I stuffed up the binding. I used too small a seam allowance and, instead of unpicking it and starting again, I simply sewed again with a bigger allowance. Ordinarily this would work, but it threw my mitred corners out. I’m cool with it though. Next time I’ll remember not to sew with my ego and simply unpick and start again.
My original table runner
My original table runner - GORGEOUS!!!
I’d love to see your creations so please share in either of the following (or both if you’re extra proud):
  • Instagram: Use the hashtag #sewtodaypattern and check out everyone else's while you're there. You may also like to tag me @sewtodaycleantomorrow.

35 comments:

  1. Looks great Rachael - I'll have to add Christmas fabric to my list now so I can make this.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Debra. I'm glad you like it. I'm always happy to help increase someone's fabric stash hahaha

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  2. I just found your blog. Will make this for next year, no time this year :(
    Thank you.

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    1. It's always the way isn't it? Plenty of ideas but not enough time. If only we could find a way to not need sleep hahaha.
      Thanks for visiting :D

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  3. I love this and the strip piecing really makes it simple. I think it would be great for any season by using different colors! Thanks!

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    1. Thanks so much. You're right. I think you could easily whip one up for every season hahaha :D

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  4. This is a darling runner! Thanks!

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  5. This is adorable !!! Can't wait to get started making one!

    Thanks for so many beautiful crafts & instructions !

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  6. I have just found this pattern and I am going to get started on it as soon as possible. I have not been able to sew as I broke my hip and I feel this will help me to get started again

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    Replies
    1. I hope you're recovering well and get to enjoy sewing again soon : )

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  7. Hi Just found this pattern. Love it. I am confused with the unpicking pictures for the third and fourth rows of end units. Are they mixed up?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anne,
      Thanks so much. You are absolutely correct. It looks like the third and fourth strips are showing in the wrong order. How bizarre that it hasn't been picked up on yet. I will change it as soon as I'm at the computer.
      Thank you again for pointing out this issue :)
      Rachael xx

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  8. Can this be put together as a "quilt as you go project?

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    1. Hi Sharon,
      I've only done basic quilt as you go projects, so I couldn't say for sure. It probably can be but might be a bit fiddly trying to line up the seams or add the border. If you do attempt it, I'd love to hear how it turns out :)

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  9. Love this....i can use my Christmas Scraps...
    I have a crazy question....
    I want to make this Longer....so just keep going...to how long I want it..??
    I have a Friend with a LONG TABLE...
    72' OR 75 ...WHAT I'm wanting...
    I always like to be difficult. ..
    :-P
    Anyway Thank You for your Time..
    Kimmy

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha firstly, thanks :) I'm glad you like it. If you want to extend it, just do exactly as per the instructions but add more sub-cut strips to the middle.

      You will obviously need to sub-cut more pieces too. You may even need to sew two units at the start where you sew all of the long strips together. It will all depend on the specific length you want it.

      I hope that helps : )

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  10. I''ve just found this very pretty runner and as I can't walk by lovely Christmas fabric I have loads to choose from!
    I hope I''ll have time to make it when all the clubs, sewing groups and Christmas preparations are finished and I have a free week before the 25th!! Thanks for such an day pattern-I do love strip piecing.

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  11. Do you put anything between the two layers?

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    1. I did, Erika, you don't necessarily need to, but it does give the runner more structure. I just used cotton batting I had laying around. If you're going to use the runner to put hot dishes on, I would recommended using Insulbrite or a similar product to protect your table from the heat.

      If you're new to quilting, my Beginner quilt Along can help with batting and quilting tips. There is a link up the top :)

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  12. Great runner.....it will be fun to make & use. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. I'm a total beginner and this was fun and easy to make. But what about the backing. One of the comments mentions batting between the two layers, but I can't find anything in the instructions about the second layer...presumably the backing. Do I just cut exactly the same shape as the finished runner or is there more to it than that? Thanks.

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  15. I'm a total beginner and this was fun and easy to make. But what about the backing. One of the comments mentions batting between the two layers, but I can't find anything in the instructions about the second layer...presumably the backing. Do I just exactly the same shape as the finished runner or is there more to it than that? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Patricia,
      I have batting in the middle and a backing fabric. I then quilted and did some binding as per a normal quilt. If you're a beginner I may be speaking another language right now hahaha but if you check out my page links above (below my logo) you will see a Beginner Quilt Along page. This has loads of information about quilting and binding that can be used for this table runner (or any quilt).

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    2. Thanks, Rachael. I'll try that out this week.

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  16. Thanks for sharing about Best Table Runner................

    Table Runner

    Trade Show Displays

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  17. Hey! great article. very helpful. The information is very well written and very well explained. Thank you for sharing. I really like your idea. ikat fabrics by the yard

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  18. Excellent tutorial and I absolutely love!! this pattern!

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  19. I made this table runner and Thanksgiving colors and it's absolutely wonderful. I also made one For my friend in the color she decorated her dining room. She loves it

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