The next project for my holiday crafts personal challenge comes courtesy of Thanksgiving. I’ll be honest – I was a little terrified of this challenge. For one, I don’t host Thanksgiving dinner at my house – that’s what parents are for! Go to their house, eat all their food, leave the mess (but take some of the food home with you because, duh, poor and stuff). So table decorations just seem like a moot point in a home that won’t have dozens of people admiring my hard work (or secretly wondering if I’m as insane as I come across in my decorating scheme).
While complaining about this to my mom, she immediately started gushing about some handmade table runner she saw in a local gift shop, and saying it didn’t come in any color combinations that worked with her personal decor and that’s what she would make if she were participating in this project. So I had the brilliant idea to have her help me make this project – and then gift her the finished runner, since it’ll get more use on her dining room table (and, you know, people will actually see it ;)).
So, welcome to my second installment of Holiday Crafting, featuring supplies from JoAnn Fabric and Crafts, with special guests Mom’s Hands and Mom’s Dining Room.
My mom is such a decorating whiz, isn’t she? Gah, her dining room is beautiful.
We made this table runner in a short afternoon (I think it took 2 hours, tops, and that included figuring out the construction steps and taking photographs! Honestly, decorating that tablescape took waaay longer, ha!) for a minimal cost. The best part about this project is that you can choose any fabrics and embellishments you like, to really make it your own!
To make this table runner, you will need 2 yards of burlap for the base, plus half a yard each of your contrasting ruffle fabric. We also bought 2.5 yards of 7.5″ wide ungathered lace.
You will need to prewash your fabrics and press them nice and flat before cutting. My mom used baking soda in the wash with her burlap, to make it smell less like a hippie. For a 81″x42″ dining table, we cut our pieces as follows-
Burlap (or other fabric base): Since our burlap was 50″ wide, we cut it lengthwise down the middle and sewed the two pieces together to make a finished piece that is 24″ wide by 96″ in length
Ruffles: 8.5″ tall by 45″ length, cut 2
Lace: 7.5″ tall by 45″ length, cut 2
The VERY first thing you need to do is finish those edges of the burlap before they fray all over the place. We used the serger – a 4 thread overlock with a dense stitch width so the unraveling is kept to a minimum. Don’t be afraid to really cut off some width from those pieces – it’ll give the thread something to grab on so it doesn’t immediately fall off. Serge all cut edges, including the sides and the ends, as well as any piecing you may have needed to do.
Don’t have a serger? Use a narrow zigzag stitch, or even consider binding the edges with premade matching bias tape.
If you had any piecing, press the seams open with a hot steam iron so they lay nice and flat. The good thing about burlap is that the seam is virtually invisible from the outside! We left the serged edges as-is – they’re not terribly noticeable, as you can see, plus they provide some additional texture to the edges – but you can turn under the edge and stitch a narrow hem if that’s your thing.
Hem your ruffle pieces on both edges (at the top edge of this ruffle, we used a rolled hem – again, from the serger – and the bottom is serged and folded under and topstitched because, lazy.). You can also fray your fabric by stitching a line of small stitches about 1/2″ from the edge and using a pin to encourage the fraying.
Across the top of each ruffle piece, sew a line of long basting stitches (the longest stitch on your machine) 1/2″ from the edge and leave some looong thread tails. Do not backstitch either end of the stitching.
To create a ruffle, grab one of the thread tails with one hand, and hold the fabric with the other.
Holding the thread tail still, gently coax the fabric into a gather.
Continue gathering until your ruffle is the desired amount of gathered goodness, then wrap the thread tails around a pin stuck in the fabric so they stay put.
(I just love that bunny pincushion. I have it’s twin, but you couldn’t tell by just looking at it – mine is so old and used, it’s grey and threadbare and missing some body parts, ha!)
Once you’ve made your ruffles, you can get started on the fun part! Lay your ruffles on the burlap and arrange them so they look the way you want them to.
Our ruffles ended up being placed as follows:
Bottom burlap ruffle – 1/2″ from bottom edge
Middle lace ruffle – 2″ above burlap edge
Top white ruffle – 3.5″ above lace ruffle
It is also a good idea at this point to lay the runner on your table to ensure that everything is in the right place before you start stitching.
Now you can sew! Just use a normal stitch length and sew straight down the basting/gathering line you created, being careful to make sure the gathers are evenly distributed. I find it helpful to set my machine to put the needle down every time I stop sewing; then I can raise the presser foot and redistribute the ruffles if needed.
“God, Mom, stop taking pictures of me.”
Since the two bottom ruffles are covered by ruffle hem goodness, we just laid them on top of the burlap and stitched down the middle of the gathering line.
The top ruffle was stitched upside down and then flipped over itself for a clean edge on top of the runner (the rolled hem was originally going to be exposed, which is why so fancy, but we decided it looked a liiiiittle too crafty, so it was moved to the underside).
Once your ruffles are sewn down, give them a good steam with a hot iron. Don’t actually press them – just hover the iron a couple inches above and steam steam steam. We don’t want to flatten them, just help them stay in place.
And that’s it! Pretty easy, huh? I probably spent longer writing this tutorial than it takes to actually make the table runner!
Now, I told y’all we spent foreeeeever decorating the table… and then took like 100 pictures. So now you have to look at them. Sorry, not sorry!
It’s not a real #turkeytablescapes without some turky S&P shakers, yeah?
Oh, yeah, and those little red ears of corn are popcorn! My dad grew them in his garden this year, aren’t they soo cute?
I am including this picture of the chandelier/ceiling because I want everyone to know that I helped hang that… ceiling wallpaper stuff, probably about 15 years ago. I remember being SO mad at my dad for making me help (it was rough! I had to stand on a ladder and hold things on the ceiling and ugh, it took forever), and complaining, “NO ONE IS EVEN LOOKING AT THE CEILING, WHAT IS THE POINT, WHYYYYY”. So there. Look at the ceiling. LOOK AT IT.
Finally, this was our helper for the afternoon – Sweetie, my mom’s Siamese. I know Siamese cats are weird, but this cat is real weird. I love her.
So that’s it! I’m so glad I was able to incorporate one of my holiday crafts into a mother/daughter crafternoon (ha, Landon hates that word), as well as give my mom something I know that she’s thrilled to use.
Want to make your own? Snag this coupon and save some dough, yo!
As always, you can see more fun #turkeytablescapes at the Celebrate the Season website.