Thursday, November 18, 2010

Homestead Experiment #15- "10 Minute Table Runner"

My lovely mother sent me an email the other day with instructions for a '10 Minute Table Runner' that is (apparently) circulating through my hometown like wildfire! Her fellow quilter brought one to an open sew, and it became the hit of the evening. I wanted to share it with you for two reasons: a) It would be a quick addition to any holiday table, and b) These could be whipped up into personalized gifts in a jiffy! But (and here's where the experiment part comes) does it really only take 10 minutes to make?

The pattern was downloaded through the Utah State Univ's county extenstion and can be found here: (first 2 selections)

Unfortunately, this isn't the same copy I had sent to me. I think my copy is much better at explaining it. Part of the problem is that when you pull up this copy, you'll see a runner that looks like it's been pieced. The crafter actually used a quilt-looking fabric, but I think it's misleading. You only use 2 pieces of fabric and a couple of buttons. It is very simple, trust me!

First, pick your fabric. I used left-overs. You want 2 pieces that are still a full bolt width (40 or 44"). Cut one to be 12" wide (that will be your theme fabric in the middle) and one to be 18" (this will be the edges and backing). Mine will be on our Thanksgiving table, so I picked a dark purple berry print for the large piece, and a golden print for the insert.

Now, unfold them to have two long pieces. Place them right sides together and sew up both sides to make an inside out tube.

Press the seams away from the center fabric. Turn right side out, and press so that the center fabric is evenly bordered by the outer fabric.

Now, square up your short ends. Next, you're going to fold those short ends in half by touching the corners. Run a little seam here with a 1/2" seam allowance. Make sure you're centerpiece fabric is on top.

(I did a focal black and white so that you can see what I'm talking about better.)

Press the seam open, and then turn the seam inside to form a triangle point. Press.

Isn't that neat? Now, secure with a cute button or top-stitch across the 'base' edge of your triangle. I found these vintage looking buttons in the notions section, but don't they look like an old brooch that came out of Grandma's jewelry box? I also found these great tassles that coordinate perfectly. They were just over a dollar apiece, but they really dress is up! I just handstitched them both on.

In conclusion, I would say that the sewing machine part of this is what takes 10 minutes. The hand stitching tacked on about another 5 minutes. Not bad, eh?

Another note: Part of what drew me to try this right away for our Thanksgiving table, is that we are going to use an 8 ft conference table for our dinner this year. (I really want the kids to be able to sit at the table with us). I realized that you can easily adjust this runner to be any length you want. I actually sewed three lengths of fabric together to make 2 super long strips before joining them right sides together. That means that I more than tripled the time it took to sew and press. Therefore, this particular runner actually took about 45 minutes.

My table cloth is going to be 4 yards of burlap that I got for $2/yd. Although I haven't pressed it yet, I wanted to show you a preview of the effect. Personally, I really like it :)

Isn't it pretty? Add on some pretty place settings and low candles,
and I think it makes for a lovely backdrop for a harvest table scape;
'rustic meets elegant'

So, if you were looking for something new to try for your feast this year, or scrambling for a few last gifts to make, here you go! Now you should be armed with a whole arsenal of inspiration. Happy Sewing :)

Hillary At Home


  1. great idea... I have actually made a couple of Christmas placentas using a similar method... I'm a visual learner so I love the pics in progress... a note on the burlap... I've used for burlap for decorative inexpensive curtains... I dyed the burlap in the washer when I couldn't find the right color I wanted... no problem... but when I dried it in the dryer... I was having to clean out the lint screen every 5 minutes.... love the curtains though... lol... Happy Thanksgiving! :D thanks for sharing you experience and heart...

  2. Thank you for the thorough pictorials. I had heard about this but wasn't understanding the points - now, thanks to your photo/tutorial - I do! Will be making them. Thank you.

  3. Great! Glad to know I helped :) Happy Sewing!

  4. Hi Hillary,
    Love all the pictures, I now understand how to close the ends.
    I am also wanting to know more about starting a blog.
    I am just starting to sew for resale and would love the input. Thanks

  5. Hi Kathy! Somehow I missed your comment back in March. I'm sorry-I truly was not ignoring you! :( Um, I don't really know what you could glean from me, other than find a niche that a) you really enjoy, and b) fits with your current lifestyle. In my case, these are all things that my kids and/or I have wanted to try, so we're just blogging about the experience. The writing is truly therapeutic for me, and we (my hubby and I) view my Centsible classes as a no-profit ministry, so I won't be much help in terms of advice in earning money through your blog or sewing. However, there are SO many blogsites out there that teach that very thing. :)
    I pray for rich blessings for you as you embark on this endeavor. Enjoy it, and be sure to pass along some pics of your creations. I would LOVE to see them!
    Hillary At Home