The beauty of this runner is in the texture of the pleated squares side by side with the plain squares. It looks best in a solid, which really shows off the definition. We chose a linen blend in crisp pear green – perfect for Spring. This tutorial also shows you a fun way to create mitered corners without using a separate binding strip. Our “binding” is actually the folded-over edges of the back panel; it’s binding and back all in one! There’s plenty o’ pressing in this project, so having a great iron makes it fast and easy. Here in the Sew4Home studios, we use Oliso irons. Love them – especially their iTouch® technology: touch the handle and the iron lowers. Remove your hand and it lifts back up. No more scorching, and a much more stable base.
Our sample is made in Brussels Washer Linen Blend in Pear from Robert Kaufman Fabrics. It’s such a fresh and pretty, but there are many other options from which to choose. You might want to check out Robert Kaufman’s Washer Linen Blend in Thistle or the Robert Kaufman Essex Linen Blend in Blossom.
The runner finishes at approximately 17″ wide x 47″ long.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot (many of the Janome machines we use in the S4H studios have the built-in AcuFeed Flex™ fabric-feeding system; if you do not have this option, use a Walking foot or similar)
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional, but helpful since many of the seams are ¼”
- Quality iron; we used the Oliso® TG1050 Smart Iron with iTouch® Technology
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 2 yards 50″+ wide premium solid color linen; we used 52″ Brussels Washer Linen Blend (55% linen/45% rayon) in Pear
- ½ yard of 48″+ wide lightweight, low loft batting; such as Quilter’s Dream Orient Blend Select
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Large safety pins for pin-basting or hand sewing needle and contrasting thread for thread-basting
- From the linen, cut SIX 5½” x width-of-fabric (WOF) strips. From these strips, sub cut the following:
FOURTEEN 5½” x 13″ rectangles
THIRTEEN 5½” x 5½” squares
- From the remaining linen, cut ONE 20″ x 50″ rectangle.
- From the batting, cut ONE 17″ x 47″ rectangle
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Along each 5½” x 13″ rectangle, create five ¾” knife pleats. Mark for the first fold at 1¼” from the end with each additional mark spaced ¾” apart. The last marked line should be 1¼” from the opposite end.
- There will be 15 marked lines on each rectangle.
- Press into place (brining together and then folding over), following the marked lines.
- The finished pleating will yield a 5½” x 5½” square.
- If you are new to this technique, we have a great step-by-step tutorial on making knife pleats.
Assemble the blocks into rows
- Alternate the 5½” pleated squares with the 5½” plain squares as shown in the diagram above, orienting the pleats as shown (in essence, the pleats are all facing towards the nearest raw edge).
NOTE: For our pleated squares, we did not stitch along the edges to secure the pleats in place. This did reduce the bulk along the seam lines, but it also made it a bit harder to keep the pleats in place during stitching. If you are new to working with pleats, you may want to place a piece of tape across the center of the pleats. This will hold the pleats in place but will still keep the bulk at bay in the seaming.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew the squares together into NINE rows of three squares.
- Press the seam allowances toward the plain squares.
- When your rows are complete, you can stitch them together.
- Working from the top row down, pin the first two rows right sides together. The most important thing to remember is to keep your seams in line with one another. It helps to place a pin in each seam when matching them up.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, sew the rows together. Press the seam allowances toward the rows with two plain squares and one pleated square.
Finishing with quick mitered corners
- Center the pieced panel right side up on the batting. There should be ¾” of batting extending beyond the fabric on all sides.
- Baste the two layers together around the outer edge and through the middle. To do this, you can place large safety pins through the layers (about every 4-5″) or use a long running stitch with needle and thread.
- Attach a Walking foot to your machine or engage your fabric feeding system, as we did with our Janome AcuFeed Flex™.
- Stitch in the ditch along the seams. This means you are stitching right along each of the previously sewn block and row seams.
- Find the 20″ x 50″ backing rectangle. This will be the backing and the binding in one!
- Place the rectangle wrong side up on your ironing board. Fold and press ½” along each of the four sides.
- Then, fold and press and additional 1″ on all four sides.
- Here’s our starting corner with the two rounds of folding and pressing completed.
- Unfold the second fold (the 1″ fold) of one corner so you can see the crease lines. Fold in the corner at a diagonal, matching the crease lines along the sides. Press the diagonal fold to set a new crease line. This will be your guideline for the mitered corner.
- Unfold the diagonal and then re-fold the corner right sides together so the folded edges match. Stitch across the corner, following the pressed-in diagonal line.
- Trim the excess corner point to ¼” from the sewn seam.
- Open and smooth the seam. Turn the corner right side out. Press to create a perfect miter. Repeat for the remaining corners.
- Lay the backing flat on your work surface with the folded edges facing up.
- Place the top pleated/batting panel right side up on the backing panel. Insert the top panel’s raw corners into each mitered corner.
- Smooth the folded edges over the batting. Hand-smooth so all the layers are nice and flat.
- Pin in place all around, making sure the folded edge of the backing panel evenly covers the raw edges of the quilted panel.
- Edgestitch along the folded edge, pivoting at each mitered corner.
- Steam the layers so the runner and all its pretty pleats are smooth and flat.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler