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Pretty 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 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

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

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

Pleating

  1. 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. 
  2. There will be 15 marked lines on each rectangle. 
  3. Press into place (brining together and then folding over), 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 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.  
  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 each seam when matching them up. 
  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 Janome 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 50" 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 evenly 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.
     

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

Section: 

Comments (13)

Claire Bain said:
Claire Bain's picture

Hi, would this runner be easily washed, I am worried the pleats would loose their shape.

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

@Claire - The pleats are all secured within the seams of the blocks, but as with any pleating, washing can loosen them. You can wash the runner on a gentle cycle with a moderate spin, and then tumble lightly and finally hang to completely dry. Again as with all pleating, you'll have to iron the runner to get it back to its finished look.

Sherry Chandler said:
Sherry Chandler's picture

I am confused about measurements for the backing piece. It says to cut it 20 X  50 in the cutting section, but in section to complete it, it says to use the 20 X 48" rectangle. I just need to know which measurement is correct so that I don't mess up my fabric.

Thanks

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

@Sherry - Thank you for the heads-up - the cutting dimension is correct. The panel should start at 20" x 50" and after the wrap for the hem and mitered corners, which takes up 3" in both width and length, you'll end up with the stated finished dimension of 17" x 47". This has been corrected above. 

MPaula said:
MPaula's picture

Have you ever tried pleating on the diagonal? I think I'll see how it looks and how much fabric it takes!

Sherry Chandler said:
Sherry Chandler's picture

In the cutting directions, it says to cut the backing restangle 20 x 50. In # 5 of directions it says to take the 20 X 48" rectangle to use. I am confused as to what size to cut the backing rectangle. I just don't want to ruin the fabric I am using.

Thanks.

mercy said:
mercy's picture

gracias todo lo de este blog es hermoso.Les deseo muchos exitos desde Colombia.

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

@mercy - Thank you for greetings from Columbia. We're happy to have you here and are glad you like our table runner project!

KAY RICHARDSON said:
KAY RICHARDSON's picture

I love the simple elegance of this! On my project list now! 

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

@Kay - Thank you so much. When you finish yours, we'd love to see a picture on social media. We're sew4home on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and sew4home_diy on Instagram. 

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

I love the mitered corners.  Can't wait to try it!  

Thank you!  Louise

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

@Louise - You are so welcome - let us know how yours turns out!