{saturday craft: Blessed Nest table runner}

Hi there! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a saturday craft, but that’s about to change because I’m here with my sewing friend Trish of Two Peas in a Pod Designs. Trish has put together a super darling sewing tutorial for the Gussy Sews community, yay! Below is a detailed post & tutorial on how to make a pieced table runner with {optional} word applique. This runner can be modified to fit any length of table {simply add extra pieces of fabric to extend the runner}, and it can be customized for any season. To do that, set your fabric color palette based on the season you’re decorating for.

I hope you enjoy the tutorial! xoxo

Here’s Trish ~

You’ve got a sewing machine. Awesome. You’ve learned how to thread it and how to thread the bobbin. You can sew a straight line but that is about the limit of your sewing skills. Or maybe you’ve been sewing for awhile now and doing some opposite edge gathering or edge appliqué is not so frightening. This “Blessed Nest Table Runner” can be as simple or advanced as you’d like.

> Piece – as is often done in quilting
> Learn how to opposite edge gather – often used in home dec projects, in particular on pillows.
> Learn edge appliqué
> Learn how to use quilt batting

Using scraps, fat quarters or whatever fabric you have on hand, you will need to cut, from center working out {see below photo as a guide}:

1) Center print (shown in pink) 5” wide x 20” long
2) Yellow dot print 3” x 20”
3) Turquoise linen 2”x 20″
4) Momo bird print 5” x 20”
5) Green lattice print 4” x 20”
6) Purple dots 2.5” x 20”
7) Grey solid 5” x 20” (appliqué background)
8) Ruffle in turquoise linen 3” x 42” long (optional)
9) Cotton quilt batting 46” x 21”
10) Cotton fabric backing 45.5” x 20” ~ cut the batting and cotton backing AFTER you have pieced your top together
11) Buttons and other trims as desired
12) Steam a seam (or stitch witchery –for fusing appliqué){the simple version} Piece all the pieces together. Omit the appliqué and the ruffle.{advanced version} Add the appliqué to your runner.{expert version} Add the appliqué AND the ruffle to your runner. YOU CAN DO IT!

Let’s get started!

This tutorial will give you a table runner approximately 45.5″ x 20″.

STEP ONE: Start with laying out your cut pieces so you can see how the order you want them stitched:

Begin with your center strip and the two strips next to it. With right sides together, line up edges, pin. I pinned both of my yellow dot strips on at the same time. USE 1/4” seams throughout:

TIP: I used a 1/4” quilting foot. I also let my fabric hang down and let it flow between my fingers – not pulling it but gently guiding it. For the piecing part of the project, I use a universal needle BUT when it comes to stitching through the multiple layers and batting, I switch to a JEANS needle. I have broken far too many needles sewing bags and thick layered items – the jeans needle works best for me.

I also set my tension at 4-5 and a stitch length of 2.5 for piecing. The more layers we add, we will increase the stitch length. Why? Because your needle needs enough time to get through all of those layers and come back up before moving forward. Too short a stitch length and your needle won’t be able to keep up and you’ll break a needle:

Press over your stitch lines. Then press your seams to one side:

STEP TWO: Continue piecing all of your strips, pinning both the left and right sides. If you are doing the simple method, you will end with the gray solid 5” strip. IF YOU ARE ADDING THE APPLIQUE – First, appliqué that strip BEFORE piecing it to your top:


First, print out the bird outline and free hand cut a little wing for your bird and a limb for him to perch on. On your computer, using the font AMERICAN TYPEWRITER (or font of your choice) at size 350, type the letters N E S T B L D. Print and use these as your pattern for the words “blessed nest”.

Arrange your applique as desired. Using your steam a seam or stitch witchery underneath, press per manufacturers instructions to hold your applique in place. I don’t use a lot. A few pieces here and there just to tack my picture down while I stitch is sufficient.

Next is my favorite part. Using black thread, stitch two times around each letter close to the edge (hence, edge applique) and all other items in your picture. Be messy. This part allows you to add some character by being imperfect in your stitching.

I adore these Blumenthal buttons! I used them along with some trim to futher adorn my applique. Be creative and see what you can come up with or use my idea shown here.

Now that you have finished the applique portion of that strip, attach it to your top as you did the rest of your strips.You can end here with your top OR If you’re feeling adventurous, let’s add a ruffled border!

STEP THREE: Adding the ruffled border. This is called opposite edge gathering and you can do this using a ruffler foot or you can use a gathering stitch. A gathering stitch will be a stitch length as long as you can get – I set my machine to 6.0. And a loose tension. I set mine at 2. Then along both long edges, stitch. Don’t lock in {backstitch} your stitches on either end:

Then, pull one of the threads – I pull the bobbin thread, and start to gather your fabric. Pull it until it becomes 20” – the length of the strips for your top:

Pin to your top as you did your other strips and stitch in place:

After you have stitched it in place, pull out your gathering thread. (Leave in your gathering thread for the other side which is not yet stitched in – it will attach to our backing / batting.)

This is what it looks like once you’ve stitched it in. Pull your gathering thread out after it is stitched in place:

STEP FOUR: The batting and some quilting. I lay my finished top on my batting and cut the batting a little bit bigger than my top. Pin your top to your batting all over the place:

Technically, in quilting, you would use safety pins. For this quick job – I fudged and just used straight pins. We are doing minimal “quilting” for this project. Simply top stitch along both sides of every seam:

That’s all the “quilting” I did on this runner. Then, trim your batting to the same size as your top.

STEP FIVE: Attaching the backing. I am thrifty. Cotton has gone up in price and for backings – especially here where it will lay on a table and no one is ever gonna see the back – I use a sheet. I buy flat white sheets at the discount store and use it for the back. Lay your top on your sheet, right sides facing and pin. Cut your backing to the size of the top. Stitch all the way around leaving about a 10” opening in the side for turning. Be careful and pin like mad along your ruffled border because this is where the end of it gets attached.

Once you have your layers stitched together…

…pull your top through the opening and turn right side out:

Press along all edges and top stitch all the way around Use some of the steam a seam in your opening to hold it closed tightly as you top stitch. DON’T top stitch along the bottom edge of the ruffle. Just down the side of the ruffle.

TIP: Top stitching, increase your stitch length to 3.5 for top stitching. Sprout of course had to get in the picture. This really does go together quite quickly. It is very well suited for all kinds of skill levels and will look fabulous anywhere in your house! {Thank you Sew to Speak in Columbus, Ohio for the great selection of fabrics used in this project.}

*Top stitching around your table runner is the last step! Once you’ve finished the final edge, your runner is complete! Grab a vase of flowers to set on top of your new runner and let out a little “yeow!” ~ you did it! :]

Blessed Nest Table Runner, by Trish Preston.
Two Peas in a Pod Homegrown Designs © 2011 All Rights Reserved

I’m LOVING all of the colors used in this finished table runner, plus the gathered edge, PLUS all the ideas that are coming to mind as I think about upcoming holidays, seasons and events.

Many, many thanks to Trish for putting this tutorial together!
XO, Gussy

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  1. 6


    Your directions look great. I need things like where to set the tension and what needle to use. Anxious to try this. Company right now but later. It’s so pretty

  2. 10

    Rebe Arce says

    Thanks so much for the instructions. I just finished mi own! With different colors but it looks awesome!!!!


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