Introduction: How to Make a Rustic Table Runner

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Davina Thomas talks us through how to make a table runner on Popular Patchwork.

This elegant table runner can be adapted to any size table by adding sashing or an extra block. The hanging triangle and beads are attached by button loops and can be removed before washing

The table runner is made with five blocks all based on the 54-40 or fight block. As the narrow points are quite tricky for beginners, this version uses foundation piecing.

Beginners could make all five blocks the same and intermediate quilters could choose to sew one of the more time consuming variations.


Exact requirements will depend on the variations you choose for your table runner and whether or not you need to add extra blocks or sashing strips. Err on the generous side and use the extras for some decorations.

    Five different fat quarters of cream and dark red fabric
    20cm of Makower metallic texture in dark red for binding
    30 x 130cm for backing fabric – use a 30cm strip and add scraps to make up to the correct width or buy wider fabric
    30 x 130cm of thin cotton wadding
    Monofilament thread for quilting
    Greaseproof paper or sew-in interfacing for foundations
    12 small shirt buttons
    20 large beads
    Small seed and bugle beads

Finished Size

10 1⁄4 x 49in (25 x 124cm)including hanging triangles
Skill Level

Block Size

9 3⁄4in

Small seed and bugle beads from Gütermann, available from many online stores For Makower fabrics, see Makower for details of your local stockist.

Step 1: Foundation Points

Each block needs four foundation pieced units with a dark red central triangle and cream triangle points.

1. Trace the foundation template onto greaseproof paper or thin sew-in interfacing.

2. Place a piece of red fabric RS up on the foundation and put a piece of cream RS down onto it. Pin exactly on the line and fold the cream fabric back. Is it covering the outer lines? If not then reposition or cut a larger piece and try again.

3. Sew from the back exactly on the line, extend a couple of stitches past the end of the line and use a smaller stitch than usual. Press open. Repeat for the other cream piece and press well. Remove the papers if using.

4. Make four foundation blocks for each fight block you are making. Our version has matching fabrics but you could mix and match if you wanted.

Step 2: Basic Block

Carefully cut five 3 3⁄4in squares pieces from the dark red fabric. Lay the squares and foundation units in position following the layout shown in Figure 2. Finally piece the squares into rows and join to make one complete block.

Step 3: Variation One


    Two 2 1⁄2in squares in dark red, cut in half on the diagonal
    Four 3 3⁄4in squares of dark red
    One 2 3⁄4in square in cream for centre

1. Sew two triangles to opposite sides of the cream square and press open. Repeat for the other two sides.
2. Lay out and piece into a block.

Step 4: Variation Two


    Ten 2 3⁄8in squares in dark red
    Ten 2 3⁄8in squares in cream (can be cut as a strip and then cut into squares)

1. Join the squares into five blocks of four squares. Piece into the whole block.
2. Check that the squares all have the red in the same position; alternatively you could make the block symmetrical.

Step 5: Variation Three


    Eight 2 1⁄2in squares in cream
    Ten 2 1⁄2in squares in dark red. Cut two in half on the diagonal for the centre unit
    One 2 3⁄4in square in cream for centre

1. Take the cream 2 1⁄2in squares and draw a line on the diagonal on the WS. Pair the squares RS together with a dark red square and sew 1⁄4in away from the line on both sides.

2. Cut apart along the line and press open. These are half square triangle units.

3. Piece the half square triangle units into blocks of four with all the triangles pointing the same way as shown in the pictures.

4. Make the centre unit as in variation one and join into one block.

Step 6: Assembly and Quilting

1. Measure the length of your table and add narrow sashing strips between the blocks if needed to bring the length to match your table. Or you may need some extra blocks.

2. Cut a piece of backing fabric and wadding 1 1⁄2in larger all round than your finished top. Lay the backing WS up on the table and place the wadding and then the top RS up onto it. Pin or tack together.
3. Quilt as needed. This top was quilted on the Superquilter using a monofilament thread and has vermicelli quilting on the red squares and a diamond pattern inside the diamonds. The cream areas were left unquilted. If you had less time for quilting you could just quilt in the ditch between the blocks. Add binding cut to required length.

Step 7: Hanging Triangles

1. Using the template cut twenty four triangles in the red fabrics with a seam allowance and twelve pieces of wadding without seam allowance.

2. Sew pairs of triangles RS together leaving about 1 1⁄2in on a straight edge to turn through. Turn the right way out and poke the corners out. slip the wadding inside and ladder stitch the gap closed.

 3. Join the triangles together at the corners only using a large bead. Sew six small shirt buttons to the ends of the table runner on the WS and sew six corresponding button loops to the top row of triangles.

 4. Add tassels by threading through the large bead and adding a string of bugle and seed beads. End by passing through a large bead, a seed bead and then back up round the seed bead, back through the large bead and finally through the string of beads. Complete by sewing through a few times in the seam allowance. Make three of varying lengths for each end of the runner. Lay in pride of place on your table.