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One Hour Table Runner Tutorial

One Hour Table Runner Tutorial

We all have our pet peeves, don’t we?

Well… one of my biggest pet peeves are sewing tutorials that claim you can sew something in 10 minutes. Now there may be superpeople out there who are speed demons that can actually complete those projects in 10 minutes.

I’m here to tell you that I’m not one of them!

If you’ve been sewing for any length of time, you’ve probably seen various tutorials for the 10 Minute Table Runner.

I’m going to say this flat out… I defy anyone to cut panels from two different fabrics, pin and sew those panels together, press the seams either open or to one side, turn right side out and press again. Center the narrower fabric over the wider fabric, pin and sew the ends, clip the corners, press those seams open, turn the ends to form points and then either sew them in place or sew on a button at each end to keep the pointed ends in place.

And do it all in 10 minutes!

So I call my version the One Hour Table Runner because following my instructions you will end up with two finished table runners… from starting to cut to finished table runners in approximately 2 hours.

The table runners will be the reverse of each other. One will have fabric 1 as the feature fabric running down the center and the other will have fabric 2 as the feature fabric.

If you’re a really fast sewist, you may finish sooner. If you’re just getting started sewing, it may take you a little longer.

My version is also longer than the 10 minute table runner which is cut width of fabric; resulting in a finished table runner that is at most 40 inches long.

I like my table runners to be at least as long as the table but prefer them to hang over the end a bit.

How to calculate the length of fabric you’ll need to make each table runner:

First, measure the length of your table.

Then put that number into the following formula:

Length of table + (desired overhang X 2) + (seam allowance X 2) = length of fabric you’ll need to buy.

For instance, my table is 60 inches long. I wanted an overhang of 4 inches on either end. Add ½” seam allowance to each end.

60” + 8” + 1”= 69” long

Note: I’ve started rounding that up to 70″.

To calculate how wide to cut the panels:

Center feature fabric panel:

Width of finished table runner – (borders X 2) + (seam allowance X 2) = cut to make for center feature fabric panel.

Again I’ll use my own as an example. I decided I wanted a 14” wide table runner, with two borders of 2 ½” and allowing for ¼” seam allowance:

14” – 5” + ½” = 9 ½” width required for the feature fabric that runs down the center of the table runner.

To determine the size to cut the complementary fabric:

Width of finished table runner + (borders X 2) + (seam allowance X 2) = cut to make for center feature fabric panel.

So the calculation for my second fabric is:

14” + 5” + ½” = 19 ½” width required for the fabric that will form the backing and the borders of the table runner.

Most cotton fabrics come in 44/45” widths. If I cut my fabric across the width of the fabric, I’d have to sew two pieces together to get a length of fabric long enough to make my table runners.

Instead, what I do is purchase 2 yards of fabric (72”) in each of my chosen fabrics.

The extra inches are to allow for wonky cutting at the fabric store and any shrinkage that may occur when I pre-wash the fabric.

Going forward in the tutorial I will be using my measurements. You would simply substitute your own measurements when making yours. 🙂

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Materials needed to make 2 table runners:

2 complementary fabrics – length determined by the preceding calculations



A rotary cutter, quilt ruler, and cutting mat are also recommended.

Let’s get started making these One Hour Table Runners!

After the fabric is washed and pressed, you’ll need to trim off one selvage edge.

To do this… fold it in half lengthwise and then in half again. Place it on the cutting mat and square up one side.

One Hour Table Runner - Step 1 for cutting off selvage of fabric

Quick tip: To avoid having to flip the fabric after squaring up, I place my long 6″X24″ ruler along the edge as pictured above and then butt my 15″ ruler against it as pictured below.

One Hour Table Runner - Step 2 to trimming off selvage edge

Make sure the fabric is lined up square along the bottom. Slide the 15″ ruler out of the way, hold the long ruler firmly and make the cut.

Next, make one cut 19 ½” wide from fabric 1.

There are two ways you can do this.

The first way, you would line up the edge you just cut with the first line on your cutting mat and then place the edge of your long ruler at the 19 ½” mark on the mat as pictured below.

One Hour Table Runner - Cut first strip at 19.5 inches

The second way to make this cut is to use two rulers as pictured below.

Line up the 15″ ruler on the 13 ½” inch mark with the 6 inch ruler butted up against it. Hold the 6 inch ruler firmly in place and make the cut.One Hour Table Runner - Second method for cutting line up one ruler on the 13.5 inch mark with the 6 inch ruler butted up against it

Make 9 ½” cut of this same fabric using either of the methods shown above.

One Hour Table Runner - Cut second strip at 9.5 inches

Repeat the above steps for fabric 2.

You should end up with two sets of fabric that look like this:

One Hour Table Runner - Two strips of 19.5 inches wide and 2 strips 9.5 inches wide

To cut the panels to length:

Fold each panel in half.

Place the fold on the first line of the cutting mat.

One Hour Table Runner - Line the folded edge up along the zero mark on the cutting mat

Line up the 6″X24″ ruler at the 35″ mark and cut.

One Hour Table Runner - Cut length to 70 inches by placing ruler on folded fabric at the 35 inch mark

Now I realize that not everyone is fortune enough to have a 36″ cutting mat or perhaps your table runner needs to be longer than 70″, so I’m going to demonstrate how I measure longer lengths of fabric.

First line up the 6″X24″ruler at one end of the panel as pictured below with the 23″ mark at the corner.

I line it up at the 23″ mark rather than along the edge because I find it’s easier to make sure that everything is square.

One Hour Table Runner - How to measure for longer table runners - Step 1

Next make a mark on the fabric at the other end of the ruler.

One Hour Table Runner - How to measure for longer table runners - Step 2

Slide your ruler along the fabric and line up the pencil mark with the 23″ mark.

One Hour Table Runner - How to measure for longer table runners - Step 3

Do this the number of times needed to get the length you require.

I needed to make three 23″ measurements plus one 1″. (23+23+23+1=70)

One Hour Table Runner - How to measure for longer table runners - Step 4

Make sure that your fabric is laying square on the cutting mat and cut.

Repeat for the other three panels.

Now you’re ready to start sewing!

Click next for the instructions to complete your table runners.

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  • Maria
    November 2, 2011 12:17 am

    Well done and you clever making the candle mat/mugrug.

  • Sandra :)
    November 3, 2011 12:03 pm

    I finally get it! I’ve read versions of that blog online many times but the instructions for the pointed end always went over my head – until now — NOW I GET IT!!

  • Robin (rsIslandCrafts)
    November 6, 2011 7:39 am

    Wonderful tutorial. I like how you figured a way to use up the last bit of fabric to make a candle mat.

  • Barbara
    November 1, 2015 2:40 pm

    I love this table runner tutorial! Thank you for sharing. The only thing I chose to do differently is the top stitching down the length of the runner. I like the look until it reaches the point so I just upicked the part that should show on the point.

  • Charlene
    December 10, 2015 5:26 pm

    I love the origami mug rug/candle mat, very clever! I tried to do but guess my measurements weren’t right, didn’t come out for me to origami fold. Had width 8″ & 15″ but what length?

  • Rachel
    October 30, 2017 5:10 am

    I’m with you on misleading titles. All they do is set up the amateur for disappointment!

  • Deb
    October 30, 2017 9:08 am

    Cute table runners love the fabrics, I think those 10 minute runners only count the time to sew not all the detailed work before hand. Either way it would take me an hour just to sew it after I undo the seams two or three times. Love my seam ripper.

  • Catherine
    October 30, 2017 2:03 pm

    Thanks for such a detailed tutorial! I love how pointy you can get those tips.

  • Carrie Groneman
    October 30, 2017 3:12 pm

    Absolutely beautiful instructions and pictures! Great job Susan:)

  • Joy McDonald
    November 6, 2017 12:09 am

    I totally agree that it can’t be done in 10 min! I have made dozens of these… and they all took much longer! Great tutorial… I was planning on doing one, but now I don’t need to! xx

  • Amber Harrop
    November 7, 2017 12:33 pm

    I wish I was better at machine sewing – I do everything by hand

  • Leanna
    November 7, 2017 10:41 pm

    Two hours instead of 10 minutes make much more sense. Your tutorial is great and I love the calculations very handy. i am starting on my Christmas sewing projects tomorrow, these runners are perfect.

  • Lea
    November 14, 2017 1:58 am

    I also get annoyed with the “quick and easy” tutorials. I have been making these table runners for sometime now and there is NO WAY I can make them in 10 minutes. I have it down to 1/2 hour IF and it is a big IF I purchase the fabric cut to size!! I do love these though as they are as versatile as our stash and a great way to use our fabrics.

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