A great beginner sewing project is this easy sew drop cloth table runner. Step-by-step instructions are included. This runner looks beautiful for everyday or holidays and coordinates well with many colors. Plus, this sewing project works for any fabric. It only takes about a couple of hours to make, the cost is super inexpensive, and it includes the simplest free table runner patterns.
I love simple sewing projects and this easy sew drop cloth table runner is a great way to work on your sewing skills. My teacher picked projects with straight lines when I first learned to sew. She actually gave us paper to practice on, and then once we got the hang of sewing straight using a sewing machine, we then cut and sewed a straight skirt.
This DIY sewing project is another perfect beginning craft because it is all straight sewing lines. This easy drop cloth table runner is perfect if you are a beginner sewer. It is made from a dropcloth and has straight cuts and stitches. Best of all, it will look great on your dining table.
So let's get started on how to sew a table runner.
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DIY DROP CLOTH TABLE RUNNER
The first thing you want to do in any DIY project is gather your supplies. Before we dive into sewing this drop cloth table runner, let's collect materials and answer a few questions.
WHAT SUPPLIES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE A TABLE RUNNER
To begin, arranging all the supplies you will need to make this beautiful painter's drop cloth ruffled table runner is always good. I grabbed the supplies I needed from my sewing supplies drawer and closet. Here is where I share how to organize sewing supplies on a budget.
Learn from me and gather all your supplies. So many times, I start many projects and then realized I was missing something and had to run to the store. Not fun!
- Painter's drop cloth (Long enough for the longest length of your table plus an extra 12″ or more and look for canvas material. I have linked my favorite here)
- Sewing Machine
- 72″ metal ruler (optional)
- Sewing pins
WHAT IS A DROP CLOTH?
Just in case you weren't exactly sure what a drop cloth is, a painter's drop cloth is simply a cloth material that a painter “drops” on the floor or uses to cover other items, such as a table or chair, to prevent paint from dripping on them. You can find them at Home Depot, Amazon, or even craft stores.
HOW TO SEW A DROP CLOTH TABLE RUNNER
Now it's time to start the step by step tutorial on how to sew a table runner with a ruffle.
Alright, let's get this easy sewing project started.
Step 1: MEASURE AND CUT FABRIC
Begin with determining how long to cut your drop cloth runner. Of all the free table runner patterns in the world, you might find this to be the easiest!
CUT THE LONGEST LENGTH
Fold your fabric in half longest length-wise and place it on the table.
Now pull it to one end, so the overhang on the other end is about the length you want to hang over the edge.
Does a table runner have to hang over?
The length of the runner is completely up to you. There is no rule for how long a table runner should hang over the edge of a table or if it has to hang over at all. Some table runners hang down the sides and touch the floor, and others that just sit on the top of a table.
Now let's get back to making your table runner. Next, lay something heavy like a book on the fabric to keep the fabric from sliding, and fold the end carefully until it hangs over the same length as the other end.
The hanging cloth doesn't have to be perfect but make sure it is just a little longer than you think you need. (For a seam allowance, you will need about 1/2″ extra on each end.) It is always good to have a little extra rather than not enough fabric.
Cut the long side off with scissors and lay the fabric on the table again. Your table runner length is now determined.
Stand back and re-evaluate it to make sure you like the length. If it is too long, you may cut some more off of one end. Then back away again and re-assess.
CUT THE WIDTH
This next part is easy, too.
Fold the painter's drop cloth over and see if you like the width. It just so happened that the fold was the perfect size for my table, so it was a keeper!
How wide should table runners be?
You might be asking how wide should table runners be? Well, there is no rule for the width. It all depends on the table setting design. But generally, when you buy one in the store, they are about 18″ to 20″.
Now, let's cut the width of your table runner. All you have to do is cut the fold. Make sure you are cutting a fold that leaves you another fold on the other side. That way, you only have to sew one side.
Tip: Make sure when you are cutting your lines are straight and your corners are 90 degrees. It helps to use a long ruler to make sure the lines are straight. Use a chalk pencil or a regular pencil to mark the lines and then cut.
CUT THE RUFFLES
This next part is also super easy! Simply use a 2″ wide ruler or a short piece of a 2 x 4 board.
Now, measure the width of your runner and add that number plus 1/2 of it to get your width. For example, if your runner is 18″ wide it would be 18 plus 9 for a total of 27″. That is the width of each runner piece that you will cut.
Lay the wood or ruler on the extra fabric you cut using a piece with the finished edge. This way, you don't have to hem the edge later. Keep the raw edges to as few as possible.
Now position the wood or ruler in an extra 1/2″ for the seam allowance. Mark it with the chalk and cut.
See what I mean about this being the easiest free table runner patterns ever?
Step 2: SEW LONGEST SIDE
Okay, see how quickly the cutting went for the painter's drop cloth table runner? Now it's time to pull out your sewing machine out and move on to the next step.
Start by sewing the longest ends.
Line up your fabric carefully and place it on your machine. I recommend a longer stitch, so raise your stitch length.
STEP 3: TURN THE FABRIC
Once you are finished sewing the longest edges, run your hand and arm through the fabric and grab the other side.
Pull it through so that the inside is now the outside. Turning it inside out will give you a beautiful seam along the edge.
I didn't iron this runner during the project, mainly because the material has a loose weave and lays very nicely. Plus, I didn't want to slow down the project, so I kept moving to the next step. But ironing between steps is recommended if you are a beginner.
STEP 4: SEW & GATHER THE RUFFLES
The next step is also easy.
Raise your stitch length to as high as it will go. Mine is set to 5.0.
Run a stitch down the longest unfinished edge of the ruffle fabric.
Do not back stitch at the beginning or end.
Now grab one of those strings and give it a little pull. You will start to see how the fabric is gathering.
As a side note, sometimes your machine will gather the fabric for you. This depends upon the type of fabric. The machine happened to grab the fabric for me with this project.
However, I still needed to do some pulling on the thread.
Keep pulling your thread until the ruffle is about the length of the shortest width of the runner. This ruffle adds a sweet touch to the ends of the runner.
STEP 5: PIN RUFFLE TO RUNNER
Now match up the unfinished edge where your thread is and lay the ruffle down nicely.
Next, pin your ruffle into place.
STEP 6: SEW RUNNER
Just like before, sew your edges together. Make sure to put your stitch length back to a shorter stitch.
Now repeat the steps for the runner on the other end.
STEP 7: TOP STITCH RUNNER SEAM
This step is optional, but I like how it turned out. Position your ruffle flat on the table and make sure the seam underneath is lying away from the ruffle.
Next, run a stitch close to the ditch so it holds the seam down snugly. See how this easy sew drop cloth table runner is to make?
DECORATE YOUR TABLE WITH DROP CLOTH RUNNER
We are almost finished. Lay your painters drop cloth ruffled table runner on the table and add a beautiful centerpiece or decorations down the middle or use the runner to place food for when you have dinner.
Use those inspirational ideas I talked about at the beginning to style your holiday painter's drop cloth ruffled runner.
If you are wondering why I chose a painter's drop cloth for my material, it is because of its imperfections and natural colors. It has a beautiful rustic look.
I also love the loose weave, which gives it a fantastic texture. And lastly and very importantly is the cost. The material is relatively inexpensive.
If you already have the sewing machine supplies, then all you will need to purchase is the drop cloth.
I hope this table runner holiday idea helps you enjoy loads of laughter and memories with friends and family this season using the painter's drop cloth ruffled table runner.
Now here are some ideas for tablescapes you can create to go with your beautiful dropcloth ruffled table runner.
- Thanksgiving dinner table ideas
- Hawaiian luau party ideas
- Garden party decoration ideas
- Dollar Tree fall decorating ideas for your table
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