DIY Thanksgiving Table Spread

18 Nov

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.

Turkey Tablescapes

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

Turkey Tablescapes

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.

Turkey Tablescapes

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.

Turkey Tablescapes

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.

Turkey Tablescapes

To create a ruffle, grab one of the thread tails with one hand, and hold the fabric with the other.

Turkey Tablescapes

Holding the thread tail still, gently coax the fabric into a gather.

Turkey Tablescapes

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.

Turkey Tablescapes
Turkey Tablescapes

(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.

Turkey Tablescapes
Turkey Tablescapes

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.

Turkey Tablescapes

“God, Mom, stop taking pictures of me.”

Here’s how we sewed on the ruffles:
Turkey Tablescapes
Turkey Tablescapes

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.

Turkey Tablescapes
Turkey Tablescapes

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).

Turkey Tablescapes

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.

Turkey Tablescapes

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!

Turkey Tablescapes

Turkey Tablescapes
(those candlesticks are totally supposed to be waxy ears of corn. My mom does not understand why I think they are so hilarious).

Turkey Tablescapes
Turkey Tablescapes

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?

Turkey Tablescapes
Turkey Tablescapes

Turkey Tablescapes

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.

Turkey Tablescapes

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.

Turkey Tablescapes

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.

33 Responses to “DIY Thanksgiving Table Spread”

  1. tialys November 18, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    Great job! I love burlap although I am not a fan of ruffles but each to their own and the table looks gorgeous – although I don’t like the look of the first course :). That herringbone carpet is divine.

    • LLADYBIRD November 18, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      HAHA yeah, we couldn’t figure out what to do with the plates… we originally thought tiny pumpkins, but we didn’t have any soo… pinecones from the yard! Haha!

  2. Kelly November 18, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    This is great! Love that it’s casual and rustic but still fits a nice holiday dinner in a BEAUTIFUL room! Your mom really knows how to make a place feel elegant!

  3. cathy November 18, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    My mom has me sewing “winter barrier covers” for her garden for the upcoming freeze, even though we are in texas – gotta be prepared. mommy-daughter sewing is the best, even if i am 26 hahah! im sure your mom will be bragging all about you on thanksgiving once everyone is gathered around that table! great job

  4. Blue Sunday November 18, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    This is lovely! So shabby chic and yet modern.

  5. Sarah W. November 18, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    I love that you had a mother/daughter crafternoon! Very pretty dining room and runner!

  6. mrsmole November 18, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    Now it is time to whip up a ruffled skirt for yourself to match the table runner!!!! Those pine cones are a hoot, they should probably be turned to be horizontal and not so erect!

  7. Seattlerain November 18, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Great make! Burlap is all the rage right now, no? I’m hosting turkey day and while I don’t think I will be able to knock this one off, maybe another year. Thanks for the tutorial!

  8. Gina November 18, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    I do not have a table for eating (we eat on the couch in front of the television in my apartment!), but I LOVE tablescapes! Seriously, if I had the room, I’d have dinner parties all the time just so I could set up pretty tablescapes. It’s so nice that your mom sews too and you guys can have a “crafternoon” together, haha!

  9. Jennifer, Workroom Social November 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Super festive! Really sweet that you made it with your mom too.

  10. thecuriouskiwi November 18, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    “to make it smell less like a hippie” ha! Love it πŸ™‚

  11. Aleksandra @ Liveaboard Takes the Suburbs November 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    This is really cute! I’d never think to make something like this, but it’s a neat idea, especially for holidays when you, ya know, want your table to look semi-reputable. lol

  12. Dot Du Bois November 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    I love it !,The dinning room is just perfect,Grandmothers painting and silver pieces warmed my heart. That’s a project I would have loved when I was younger. You and your Mom have great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2013 at 8:25 am #

      So glad you like it πŸ™‚

  13. Taryn November 18, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Aww, I loved this post.. Loved seeing a joint project with mom for the holidays πŸ™‚

    Question for anyone: What type of fabric is that white ruffle fabric? Thanks. I’m learning!

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      It’s actually from the home decor section – it’s kind of a medium weight, not too heavy or stiff. You could also use quilting cotton, though (this was my first choice, but my mom didn’t want any crazy patterns or anything on the runner).

  14. K-Line November 18, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    Aren’t you the best daughter! And that cat is so beautiful. I’m not even into cats…

  15. Annessa Babic November 18, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    Tres bon! I made my Mom a table runner a few years ago from scraps of a quilt she did. My Dad commandeered it for the side table. So, yea, this post was adorable in the best way.

    I’m going to my folks house for Turkey Day this year, and they bought me . . . wait for it . . . a SERGER. My Momma is so damned excited to show it to me, sew with me . . . I went and bought a slew of cream, white, and black knits to make up Refrews with her. Of course her and I are going through some of her sewing room again, so more out right vintage and some vintagesque items for me.

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2013 at 8:28 am #

      Lucky! I had to buy my own serger πŸ˜› Worth it, though haha. I’m trying to convince my mom to let me have, er, borrow, her felting machine, since she never uses it (and obvs I can’t quit the sweaters). Let’s see your spoils once you get done digging!

  16. Mom November 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Lauren we had such fun! You did a wonderful job with everything. Loving the results and getting to see it all come together!

  17. November 18, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    Very nice, but why is the fork & knife on the right side & spoons on the left? Did the picture get flipped?

    • LLADYBIRD November 19, 2013 at 8:28 am #

      Naw, we probably just set the table wrong haha πŸ˜›

  18. Neeno - Sew Me Love November 18, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    I’m not in to crafting-for-house-stuff AT ALL but I really enjoyed this post. I actually read every word. Loved the photos too!! This is just too beautiful ❀

  19. Karen Russo November 18, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    Really cute yet sophisticated, nice job!

  20. tillybuttons November 19, 2013 at 2:07 am #

    Lolz, I make that exact same face when my mum takes pictures of me! It’s lovely, Lauren. Love the fact that your mum has commented on the post too πŸ™‚

  21. Anonymous November 20, 2013 at 5:52 am #

    A lovely way to thank your mother for the Thanksgiving dinner! Very nice πŸ™‚

  22. Kimmie November 21, 2013 at 12:10 am #

    Love it. I think my mom would cut a bitch for those turkey s&p shakers! She loves a thematic seasonal shaker. I think it’s a mom thing

  23. CrysDecor September 11, 2015 at 2:29 am #

    You are amazing! Thanks for sharing your project! I leave here the link to my blog autocolantes de parede


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