Wednesday, June 22, 2011

CHECK OUT THIS PATTERN FOR A QUILTED TABLE RUNNER IN BRIGHT SUMMER COLORS

Summer is definitely here, and warm weather makes us want to lighten up our mood and decorate our homes with bright summer colors. While not all of us have a budget for repainting or buying new furnishings, we still have the option of using colorful pillow covers, tablecloths, curtains, and bedspreads to spruce up our homes.  And we have the option to make or repurpose what we already have instead of buying commercial home decoration items.

So, an easy-to-make, quilted table runner – a bit of summer grandeur - might be the perfect project for you. The quilting is a little bit thicker than your regular tablecloth, and this adds extra color and dimension to your dining space. An attractive runner looks good on top of any solid color tablecloth you already have. And if your table has a nice top, you can use the runner with place mats and no tablecloth at all - very much in keeping with hot-weather informality.

You can make your table runner with whatever fabrics you like, but stick to deeper shades of summer colors and small print designs. These will hide minor food stains better.  I also recommend that you use a larger quilt pattern rather than sewing a lot of small pieces together. The decorative effect is about the same, and the time necessary to complete the project is much less. Also your quilt patterns should only involve straight seams - easier to work with and hold up better through frequent washings.  With only basic sewing skills, you can make a simple quilted tablecloth to dress up your summertime table for informal family meals and social get-togethers. Best of all, this kind of project can be completed in just a few hours. That's the inspiration for another one of GrandmaS' trash-to-treasure projects:  a quick-to-make table runner with the punch of vibrant summer colors.

Pattern for a quilted table runner
A table runner is a strip of fabric from 12" to 18" wide that runs down the center of the table. The quilt pattern that you choose should include enough blocks to cover the length of the table and just hang down from 6" - 8" at the sides. Longer runners will require more material and probably won't add much to the decorative effect, anyway. Of course, the drop portion can vary according to your taste, and whatever length you choose will still look attractive. You've probably noticed that many table runners are reversible and can be used on either side.

This pattern is for a one-sided table runner. The bright colors and pattern are on the front. I chose five summer colors for the runner - sunshine yellow, bright pink, coral, lime green, and a jewel-tone blue. I 'm sure you'll agree with me that these colors shout out *SUMMER* and really look great together. The backing is made from an old cotton mattress cover cut to size. If you don't have an old one, they can usually be found at thrift stores for just a dollar or two. Old faded quilts with a hole or two in them can also be used - just use the better parts. So, the back is only utilitarian and won't be seen at all once the runner is placed on the table. The fabric for the quilt pieces should be all cotton because it washes better and doesn't tear up despite years of use. You can also use recycled cotton fabric from old dresses and shirts, if you can find them in colors and patterns you like.

Materials
- Cotton fabrics for quilt pieces, in at least four bright colors – solids or with a small print
- Backing fabric, in this case a cut-to-size piece of a mattress pad or old faded quilt. (Mark and cut the backing a tiny bit larger than your runner size.) If the pad isn't long enough, just sew two sections together. If you want to have some color on the back of your runner, you can dye the pad piece before starting the quilting project.
- Hand sewing needles or a sewing machine
- Ruler
- Marking pen
- Coordinating thread
- 1/2” double-fold bias tape in a contrasting color (Iron-on tape is a little more expensive but makes any binding job a lot easier.)
- Straight pins and large safety pins

Make the runner front
My runner was 12” wide and 72” long plus two 8” long triangles that hang over the edge of my table. All the fabric pieces have a tiny pattern in coordinating color.  The inner pieces are two squares and eight right triangles. The ends of the runner are isosceles triangles as wide as the width of the runner. Each square is 12’ X 12”,  and the right triangles have a 12” base. If your table is a different length, you’ll have to add or subtract squares or adjust their size.   I suggest that you cut out lightweight cardboard shapes to size and use them as patterns. That way you’ll be sure that your fabric is cut out correctly. Sew all the pieces of your runner together according to your pattern.  Pin pieces right sides together on one long edge and sew with a straight seam and a 3/8-inch seam allowance. Be sure to knot or backstitch at the begining and end of every seam. When the entire front is sewn together, iron open the seams.

Quilt the runner front to the pad
Lay the mattress pad on a flat surface. It can be a table or a clean floor. Put the runner front right side up on top of the pad. Trim up the excess pad so it is the same size as the front. Start straightening and pinning with safety pins – at least five pins per square, 4 pins per triangle (sides and center), beginning at the upper left corner of the runner. Continue until all the quilted pieces are pinned. Sew each quilt piece to the pad, following the seam lines and quilt about 1/4" inside the seams. The two squares will need an extra line of quilting along the diagonal. This time begin quilting in the center and continue outward, square by square to the ends. Don't sew the outline seams of the quilt pieces at the edges of the runner. This is done altogether in one long sewing line around the runner. Remove pins as you sew.

To apply the binding, start on the lower right-hand side of the runner and place one side on the back of the runner, making sure the fold of the tape is even with the edges. Pin in place. Fold the tape carefully at each corner and continue until all of the runner back has bias tape pinned to it. Iron in place. If tape is holding well, you can remove the pins. If you're not using iron-on tape or if it's not holding securely after ironing, you'll need to baste the tape in place before removing the pins. Fold the binding over onto the front of the runner and pin into place. Make sure that the corners fold neatly. Iron first and remove pins. Again basting may be necessary. Finally, sew the binding through all layers with a straight stitch and a 1/4" seam allowance. You’ll need to wash, dry and iron the runner.

Don’t wait for an “occasion". Use the quilted runner right away and celebrate your new creation with a center vase of summer flowers. Your table is sure to get lots of compliments.

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CELEBRATE FALL WITH A LEAF-STENCILED TABLECLOTH
ANOTHER DISHRAG-MAKING PROJECT
EMBRACE A SIMPLE HOME
LIVING IT UP WITH LESS: DECORATION IN A SIMPLE HOME
CROCHET A ROUND RUG
HANDICRAFT SKILLS - AN INTRODUCTION.
COLOR THERAPY CAN HELP YOU REJECT CONSUMERISM
MAKE YOUR OWN JAPANESE CURTAIN
A REMAKE OF SOME TIRED PILLOW SHAMS



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