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Pleated Squares Table Runner

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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 linen. Plus - we give you a fun way to create pretty mitered corners without using a separate binding strip. Our "binding" is actually the folded-over edges of the back panel - 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 the 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 beautiful linen was provided by Fabric.com. The sample is done in Brussels Washer Linen Blend in Lime. It's so fresh and pretty, but there are many other options from which to choose. You might want to check out Robert Kaufman's Essex Linen Blend in Light Blue and the Robert Kaufman Essex Linen Blend in Rose.

The runner finishes at approximately 17" x 45".

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Getting Started

  1. 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
  2. From the remaining linen, cut ONE 20" x 50" rectangle.
  3. From the batting, cut ONE 17" x 47" rectangle

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board


  1. Along each 5½" x 13" rectangle, create five ¾" knife pleats. Mark 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. 
  2. There will be 15 marked lines for each rectangle. 
  3. Press into place, following the marked lines.
  4. The finished pleating will yield a 5½" x 5½" square.
  5. If you are new to this technique, we have a great step-by-step tutorial on making knife pleats

Assemble the blocks into rows

  1. Alternate the pleated squares with the plain squares as shown in the diagram above, orienting the pleats as shown in the diagram above (in essence, the pleats are all facing towards the nearest binding). 

    NOTE: For our pleated squares, we did not stitch along the edges to secure the pleats in place. This reduced 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.  
  2. Using a ¼" seam allowance, sew the squares together into NINE rows of three squares.
  3. Press the seam allowances toward the plain squares. 
  4. When your rows are complete, you can stitch them together. 
  5. 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 the seam. 
  6. 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

  1. Center the pieced panel right side up on the batting. There should be ¾" of batting extending beyond the fabric on all sides. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Attach a Walking foot to your machine or engage your fabric feeding system, as we did with our AcuFeed Flex™. 
  4. Stitch in the ditch along the seams. This means you are stitching right along each of the previously sewn block and row seams.
  5. Find the 20" x 48" backing rectangle. This will be the backing and the binding in one!
  6. Place the rectangle wrong side up on your ironing board. Fold and press ½" along each of the four sides. 
  7. Then, fold and press and additional 1" on all four sides. 
  8. Here's our starting corner with the two rounds of folding and pressing completed.
  9. 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.
  10. 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. 
  11. Trim the excess corner point to ¼" from the sewn seam.
  12. Open and smooth the seam. Turn the corner right side out. Press to create a perfect miter. Repeat for the remaining corners.  
  13. Lay the backing flat on your work surface with the folded edges facing up.
  14. Place the top pleated/batting panel right side up on the backing panel. Insert the top panel's raw corners into each mitered corner. 
  15. Smooth the folded edges over the batting. Hand-smooth so all the layers are nice and flat. 
  16. Pin in place all around, making sure the folded edge of the backing panel covers the raw edges of the quilted panel. 
  17. Edgestitch along the folded edge, pivoting at each mitered corner. 
  18. 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


Comments (22)

LetItSew said:
LetItSew's picture

Purchasing fabrics to make this beautiful runner! One quick question - for the batting it lists 1/2 yd of 45" wide batting, then Getting Started step 3 says to cut a 17" x 47" rectangle of batting.  There seems to be a 2" discrepancy there on the batting width.. or am I missing something?  Thanks in advance!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@LetItSew - Oh dear, you do need 47" - we've corrected that width in the supply list. Sometimes, when we work with the packaged batting, our seamstress team can lose track of the exact sizing. Thanks for the heads-up. Let us know how your runner turns out. It is a beauty!

JaneO said:
JaneO's picture

This runner is what I was looking for somthing with color and texture....I can't wait to start it.  Thanks..and I also will check back when I've done it....

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ JaneO - So glad it is perfect for you - can't wait to see your version. 

dharrisc said:
dharrisc's picture

when trying to pin this the error message for the pic is *invalid image* .... i would love to add this to my pins; it's perfect .... please fix ......


Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ dharrisc - the Pinterest links are working on our end without a problem both from the home page icon as well as from the end of the article icon. Perhaps it's just a temporary glitch via Pinterest.

dharrisc said:
dharrisc's picture

sorry for the second post; i was not sure the first one was going to post ....

i pinned other pages just to see if they would work and they're fine ... this seems to be the onlly page that does not *want* to pin ....  darlene

dharrisc said:
dharrisc's picture

thank you for your trouble, liz .... this is what i just did ... so *clever* ... LOL ... pinterest, copy/pasted *pleated squares table runner* ... found a few, pinned from someone else ... attributed to sew4home ... i was determined to pin this so i would not forget it ... i hope it's working soon, b/c this is a beautiful runner ... the fabric is *king* and it's shown off to the fullest ... i'm using some linen i have and i think it will be gorgeous ... love your tuts here ... they are all so creative and, mostly, simple to sew ... i recommend them to friends ..... take care and thanks for your time .... darlene

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ darlene - We don't find any issues with the tablerunner pins - since we can't replicate on our end, there's no telling exactly what might be happening on your end. As I mentioned, it might just be an odd glitch. Perhaps you can try a bit later and maybe it will have "healed itself."

Sue Raddatz said:
Sue Raddatz's picture

This table runner is beautiful. I'm going to look for a harvest color and perhaps make one for Thanksgiving. When successful, I'll share with you. Thanks for you creativity. I really like Sew4Home alot!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Sue Raddatz - thanks for the compliment, and yes!, we'd love to see how yours turns out .

Marsha Jean said:
Marsha Jean's picture

I have some dupioni silk that I'd like to use for this project.  Do you see any problems using that fabric?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Marsha Jean - Silk dupioni should work beautifully. Use a pressing cloth to protect the fabric when pressing. You'll need to be a bit careful when using it on the table as it will stain easily - even water stains can be hard to remove. 

tilleybl said:
tilleybl's picture

I adore pleats, and the solid fabric looks great on this!  Thanks!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ tilleybl - thanks! This is a fun project.... especially if you love to pleat

Diane Beavers said:
Diane Beavers's picture

Thank you thank you so much for the fold over binding tute.......I have a table runner waiting for it's binding and this is righton time!

Planning a trip to purchase my Oliso soon, and I will have to try the pleated squares runner too. Thank you .

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Diane Beavers - it's a great binding solution. You'll love the Oliso!

mpistey said:
mpistey's picture

I made two of these when you first posted this tutorial, using the Brussels Washer Linen.  The instructions were clear, which helped make it a fun project.  My daughter washed and dried hers in the machine

, and I didn't.  Hers looks a little wonky now.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ mpistey - glad you enjoyed the project. Just curious, did you pre-shrink the fabric prior to construction?

mpistey said:
mpistey's picture

No, I didn't, thanks for pointing that our, Liz!  Lesson learned...

BTW, do you always wash the fabric for your projects?

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