When we’re brainstorming on projects for our popular ScrapBusters series, we like to give you ideas for various sizes and shapes. That’s the beauty of scraps: some are tall and narrow, some are short and squat, some are simply chunks and hunks of great color and design. They’re all so pretty, and we saved them for a reason, right? Because we want to use them again! Dig down for those tall and narrow pieces in your scrap stash, fussy cut them to center the prettiest possible vertical motifs, then stitch them together into this striking table runner with a subtle ruffled edge.
Our design features a bold motif in the center with mirror-image patchworked strips to either side. We really wanted to use the beautiful Joel Dewberry dear motif as our center image, but the scraps we had didn’t have a complete motif that was wide enough. That doesn’t stop a dedicated S4H sewer! We fussy cut two strips and pieced them together. The center seam disappears within the design, and we could then trim down the resulting panel to our required width.
When attempting this type of the match, first find identical points within each design scrap. Using your clear ruler, draw a line (in our case it was a vertical line, but depending on the motif, it could be a horizontal line) through each matching section. Place the two pieces right sides together, precisely aligning the two drawn lines. If your fabric is light in color and weight, you may be able to simply see your drawn line through to the wrong side. If not, trace the line onto the back or place a few marking pins. Using this line as your guide, stitch the two pieces together. It’s important you keep your seam straight and even along the line from one end of the scrap to the other. Press flat from both sides.
As shown, our runner finishes at approximately 11½” high x 38″ long with an approximate ¾” ruffle all around. Your runner may vary based on the scraps you decide upon.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional but helpful as the majority of seams are ¼”
Fabric and Other Supplies
- Scraps of 5-7 assorted fabrics in coordinating colors/patterns. For a finished size similar to our sample, we suggest scraps at least 12″ in height and from approximately 3″ to 10″ in width. We used five fabrics from our scrap stash (from left to right as shown in the drawing above):
- Metro Leafy Stripe in Mustard from the Simply Color collection by Vanessa Christenson for Moda Fabrics. Originally used in our Beautiful Cotton Garment Covers (in the blue and green colorways) and our Fold Over Book Bag (in the gray colorway).
- Architectural in Goldenrod from the Deer Valley collection by Joel Dewberry for FreeSpirit Fabrics. Originally used in our Hiding Curtain.
- Tara in Green from the Kumari Garden Holiday collection by Dena Designs for FreeSpirit Fabrics. Originally used in our Two Tone Gift Bag Sets
- Sunflower in Sunglow from the Modern Meadow collection by Joel Dewberry for FreeSpirit Fabrics. Originally used in our Ottoman Slipcover.
- Antler Damask in Gourd from the Deer Valley collection by Joel Dewberry for FreeSpirit Fabrics. Originally used in our Hiding Curtain.
- ½ yard of 44″+ wide cotton for the back panel; we used the same Tara in Green from the Kumari Garden Holiday collection as featured on the front
- ⅓ yard of 44″+ wide cotton for the ruffle; we used Acorn Mosaic in Fresh Tarragon from the Butterscotch & Rose collection by Joanna Figueroa for Moda Fabrics – originally used in our Round ‘n’ Round Pillow
- ½ yard of 44″+ wide lightweight batting
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Tape measure
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
NOTE: For all the pieces, take the time to fussy cut your fabric to center a pretty motif in each. As mentioned above, you can even splice together smaller pieces to complete a design. If you are new to fussy cutting, check out our tutorial.
The illustration above shows you the finished sizes we used based on our fabrics’ motifs. You can also see how we combined colors and sizes of designs to achieve a pleasing yet random mix. You can certainly adjust as you’d like to best fit your own design. The widths shown below match our finished sample and include allowances for ¼” seams.
- We cut the following thirteen strips:
From the Mustard Leafy Stripe, FOUR @ 3″ wide x 12″ high
From the Goldenrod Architectural, TWO @ 3¼” wide x 12″ high
From the Green Tara, FOUR at 2¼” wide x 12″ high
From the Sunglow Sunflower, TWO at 4¼” wide x 12″ high
From the Gourd Antler Damask, ONE at 9½” x 12″ high (as mentioned above, we didn’t have a scrap of this feature motif quite wide enough and so fussy cut and perfectly pieced two remnants to produce the finished design and equal our 9½” cut width.)
- From the fabric for the ruffle, cut enough 2″ strips to equal approximately 150″.
- Do not cut the back panel fabric or the batting at this point. Both of these will be cut to fit the finished top panel.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the top panel
- Place the strips on your work surface right side up and in order so you can easily keep track of how they will be sewn.
- Working in order, assemble the strips to build your top panel. Because the panels are the same to both the left and the right of the center panel, we chose to work from the center out to each side.
- To do this, start with the first two strips to either side of the main center panel. Place these strips right sides together and pin in place.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the strips together. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot for all the seams.
- Place the next strips in the sequence right sides together with the two pieces to either side of center.
- Continue in this manner to pin together and then seam together all the strips.
- Press the top panel flat, pressing the seam allowances towards the darker fabric whenever possible.
Layer/trim the batting and back panel
- Place the batting panel flat on your work surface.
- Place the completed runner top right side up on the batting. Lightly pin in place.
- Trim the batting to match the runner top.
- Repeat to cut a back panel to exactly match the runner top. Set the back panel aside.
- Replace the runner top right side up on the batting. Pin the two layers together around the edges and through the middle. You don’t want any shifting.
Create the ruffle
- Find all the 2″ ruffle strips. Pin the strips together end to end to form one long strip.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the strips together end to end to form a large loop.
- Press all the seam allowances open and flat.
- Fold the loop in half, wrong sides together, so it is now 1″ wide. Press well.
- Leaving 4″ to 6″ thread tails at the beginning and end, sew a long basting stitch ¼” from the raw edge around the entire loop. Do not lock your stitch at either end and do not cross the beginning and end of the seam. As an option for easier gathering, run a second row of basting stitches ⅜” from the raw edge (or in other words, ⅛” from the previous row of stitching). Remember to leave thread tails at the beginning and end, and to not backstitch or lock your stitch.
NOTE: If you are new to this technique, see our tutorial: How to Make Gathers by Machine.
- Pull the gathering stitches to loosely gather the loop. We wanted to achieve a soft look to the gathers, almost more like a pleat than a tight ruffle. If you’d prefer a more dense ruffle, you’ll want to start with a longer strip/loop and pull your gathering stitches tighter.
- Pin the ruffled loop around the entire perimeter of the runner. Adjust the gathers as needed so the loop fits flat against the runner. The raw edges of the gathered loop should be flush with the raw edges of the top panel/batting. Use extra pins in each corner to keep the gathers flat.
- Machine baste the ruffled loop to the runner all around, staying close to the raw edges.
Layer and quilt to finish
- Find the trimmed back panel. Place it right sides together with the top panel, sandwiching the ruffle between the layers. Pin all around, leaving a 6-7″ opening along one end for turning.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch all around through all the layers.
- Remember to pivot at all the corners and to lock your seam at either side of the 6-7″ opening.
- Turn the runner right side out through the opening. Gently push out all the corners so they are as sharp as possible. A long, blunt tool works well for this, such as a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner. Press flat from both the front and back, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- This is a narrow runner with thin batting, and we wanted to keep the lines of quilting at a minimum to allow the runner to lay as flat as possible. Based on our fabrics’ motifs, we chose to use just four lines of quilting, running them down the center line of the four outer strips that featured the Leafy Stripe in Mustard.
- Lengthen your stitch and thread the machine with thread to best match the front fabric in the top and thread to best match the back fabric in the bobbin. Then stitch along a motif guide line or draw in your own guideline to follow with a fabric pen or pencil.
- Pin through all three layers along the areas where you are adding your quilting stitches.
- Thread a hand sewing needle and slip stitch closed the 6-7″ opening used for turning.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild