The application of an exquisite ribbon can transform an otherwise simple rectangle of solid fabric into an elegant table runner. Our original ribbon is a Vintage French Linen beauty from Renaissance Ribbons. But any of their wider ribbons would be a beautiful alternative. Browse the complete Renaissance Ribbons collection of 1½” wide options.
We added batting to soften the runner and increase its table protection abilities, then quilted the center in a wide diamond pattern. The ribbon frame extends beyond the edge at all four corners with pretty loops cut and turned to best feature the woven motif.
Our runner finishes at approximately 16″ x 48″, excluding the ribbon loop extensions.
You want your ribbons and the stitching that holds them in place to be perfectly straight. We visited with our friend and ribbon expert, Elaine Schmidt to gather her favorite tips.
If you’d rather not use pins to hold your ribbons in place, you can keep them from shifting by applying a little basting glue or strips of lightweight fusible web to the wrong side of the ribbon. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test to make sure the ribbon can be easily stitched without the adhesive gumming up the needle. Some adhesives are not meant to be sewn through.
Use a sharp machine needle that will not snag the ribbon. You want the needle to be fine enough so the holes it creates in the ribbon are just large enough for the sewing thread. Elaine recommends a size 75 or 80 needle and standard polyester sewing thread. We often use clear monofilament thread in our ribbon projects when we want the stitches to completely disappear.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional, but makes handling the multiple layers easier – you could also engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the AcuFeed™ Flex system we use on many of our Janome studio machines
Two other options that are helpful for ribbon stitching:
- Clear View Quilting Foot and Guide Set
- Open Toe Satin Stitch foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 5 yards of 1½” wide ribbon
NOTE: We are specifying a little extra length in order to allow you to perfectly center your ribbon’s motifs on each length. If you wish to conserve, you can get away with 4½ yards. As mentioned above, browse the selection of gorgeous 1½” ribbon available at Renaissance Ribbons.
- 1 yard of 53″+ wide medium weight linen or linen blend in a coordinating solid; we originally used a rich deep purple linen
- 1½ yards of 18″+ wide lightweight, low loft batting
NOTE: Batting comes in all shapes and sizes. Your cut will be 18″ x 50″ so you can select the option that is most convenient for you.
- All purpose thread to match fabric and ribbon
- See-through ruler at least 22″ long
- Fabric pen or pencil; we suggest a removable chalk pencil if working on a darker color such as the purple we chose
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- From the linen fabric, cut the following:
ONE 16″ x 48″ rectangle
ONE 19″ x 51″ rectangle
- Cut the batting into one 18″ x 50″ rectangle.
- Cut the ribbon in the following lengths, centering the motif:
TWO 55″ lengths
TWO 23″ lengths
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Place the batting flat on your work surface.
- Place the 16″ x 48″ panel right side up on top of the batting. Center the linen panel on the batting so there is batting showing all around.
- Find the exact center point of the fabric panel (side to side and top to bottom).
- Place your see-through ruler at the center point at a 45˚ angle. Using your removable chalk pencil, draw a diagonal line across the center width.
- Starting at this center line, and working out in each direction, draw parallel diagonal lines 4″ apart the length of the rectangle.
- Flip your ruler, and again starting at the exact center point, draw matching 4″ apart lines in the opposite direction to form a wide diamond pattern across the panel.
- Pin along the outer edges to keep the batting and fabric layers secure.
- Thread the machine with thread to match the fabric in the top and bobbin.
- Using a Walking foot or, as we did, a built in feeding system, such as AcuFeed Flex™ from Janome, stitch along each drawn line. We slightly lengthened our stitch.
- When the stitching is complete, trim the panel down to 15¾” x 47¾”, trimming away the excess batting.
- Find the 19″ x 51″ backing rectangle. This will be the backing and the border in one!
- Place this rectangle wrong side up on your ironing board. Fold and press 1½” along each of the four sides. Press well; you want visible crease lines.
- Unfold each corner. The crease lines will form a box. Draw a diagonal line through the intersecting creases. As you can see in the photo below, the start and end points are each 3″ from the corner point.
- Fold in the corner at a diagonal, matching the drawn line and crease lines. Pin in place.
- Stitch across the corner, following the drawn diagonal line. Trim away the corner ½” from the seam
- Turn the corner right side out. Open and smooth the seam. Press to create a perfect miter. Repeat for the remaining corners.
NOTE: For more details, see our full tutorial on mitered corners.
- Lay the backing flat on your work surface with the folded edges facing up.
- Place the top quilted panel right side up on the backing panel. Insert the quilted panel’s raw corners into each mitered corner.
- Smooth the folded edges over the batting. Hand smooth across the entire runner so all the layers are nice and flat.
- Pin in place all around close to the outside folded edge.
- Find the four lengths of ribbon.
- Starting with the 55″ lengths, place one ribbon along each long side of the runner.
- The outer edge of the ribbon should be 1″ from the folded edge of the runner – just covering the raw edge of the folded backing. Pin the ribbon in place.
- There will be 3½” of extra ribbon extending over each end.
- Fold under this excess ribbon at each end to create a 1″ loop. The raw edge of the folded under ribbon should be flush with the inside raw edge of the fabric binding. Pin in place.
NOTE: When you fold under the ends, it’s important you insure they are folded far enough to be securely caught in the stitching. Ribbons can ravel, and if you are too close to the end of the ribbon, it could fray and pull out of the stitching.
- Repeat to place and pin the shorter ribbon lengths across either end of the runner. Make sure your corners overlap at perfect right angles.
- Edgestitch the ribbon trim in place along both edges, pivoting at each mitered corner. The loops are left unstitched.
NOTE: We are still using the AcuFeed Flex™ foot, and recommend you use this or a Walking or Even Feed foot to best stitch through all the layers. However, we have listed two additional specialty feet above that can be used for precise ribbon stitching: the Clear View Quilting Foot and Guide Set and the Open Toe Satin Stitch foot.
- Lightly steam the layers so the runner lays smooth and flat.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler