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Table Runner Patterns & Tips | Quick Guide


Table runners come in a variety of sizes, but common dimensions range from 12-18 inches wide and 36-72 inches long. Runners can be simple rectangles or incorporate more unique shapes like zigzags, scallops, or tapering widths. The length depends on the size and shape of your table. For large banquet sizes, runners up to 90 inches or more provide full coverage.

When sewing or shopping for table runners, consider the shape, size, and style of your dining table. Color, pattern, and texture should complement your existing tableware and decor. Use table runners to pull together an eclectic mix of plates and linens, or choose solid colors for minimalist tablescapes.

Popular Table Runner Patterns

From simple stripes to seasonal designs, table runner patterns add interest and personality. Some top choices include:

Simple Stripes

Stripes remain one of the most classic and versatile directions. Runners with just two alternating colors and fabrics have a clean, timeless look. Stripes can run widthwise or lengthwise on the table.

Checkerboard and Grid Patterns

Much like stripes, simple checks and grids offer an easy pattern in two or more colors. Change the scale from tiny checks to large squares depending on your aesthetic.

Chevron and Zigzag Patterns

Angled stripes create movement and modern geometric style. Zigzags and chevron runners look bold yet simple. Try different width stripes.

Zig Zag table runner pattern

Paisley and Floral Patterns

Paisley teardrop shapes and floral motifs bring ornate, botanical style. Large-scale prints make a visual statement.

Monogram and Initial Patterns

Add a monogram, initial, or name to give table runners a personalized, custom feel. Use block or script letters.

Seasonal and Holiday Patterns

Change out runners to complement seasonal or holiday decor. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter designs are popular.

Fringe, Tassels, Pompoms

Flowing fringe or equally-spaced tassels and pompoms create a fun, textured look along the edges.

Lace and Crochet

Delicate lace or handmade crochet overlays offer an elegant, vintage vibe. Using neutral colors keeps the look refined.

Patchwork, Quilting, Applique

Piecing together fabric scraps or quilted squares makes for interesting patterns. Appliqueing shapes like flowers provides sweet accents.

Tips for Selecting Fabric for Table Runners

With countless print, pattern, and textile options available, how do you choose fabrics for table runners? Here are some top tips:

  • Durability: Look for tightly woven fabrics like cotton, linen, and even canvas that will resist stains. Stay away from delicate silks or loosely woven fabrics.
  • Formality: Lace and satin runners suggest a more elegant feel, while burlap and denim are relaxed. Match formality to your table decor.
  • Color/Pattern: Complement your dishes, tablecloth, and overall decor. Contrasting hues pop while matching tones blend. Scale small patterns for small tables.
  • Budget: Buy yardage on sale or in bulk. Avoid expensive embellished fabrics. Shop discount and dollar stores for cheap material.
  • Care: Pre-wash fabric to avoid shrinkage. Check if machine washable or requires dry cleaning. Easy care is essential for table linens.

Cutting and Measuring Fabric 

To end up with a perfectly shaped and sized table runner, careful measuring and cutting are key steps. Here are some top tips for working with table runner fabric:

  • First, determine the exact finished measurements you need for the length and width.
  • Account for seam allowances, usually 1⁄2 inch, when cutting fabric. Cut pieces slightly larger.
  • Straight grain versus bias cut fabric impacts durability. Straight grain is best.
  • For stripe, grid, and checkered patterns, cut fabric into equal width long strips first.
  • Use paper templates for unique shapes like circles, curves, triangles etc. Add 1⁄2 inch around templates.
  • Where possible, cut fabric in stacks for efficiency. Use rotary cutters, rulers and self-healing mats.
  • Mark cut fabric pieces clearly for easy assembly. Use tailor's chalk, sewing clips or pins.

Follow any patterns carefully, take your time, and cut precisely. This makes sewing the runner together much easier and ensures a professional finish.

Sewing Techniques for Assembling

Sewing table runners is a great beginner project to build fundamental skills. The basic steps include:

  • Clean finishing inside raw edges with zigzag stitch, pinking shears or binding tape
  • Securing layers together with simple straight, zigzag, or basting stitches
  • Attaching trims neatly - lace, ruffles, fringe, ribbons, pom poms, tassels
  • Joining sides or sections together precisely - pinning first helps
  • Boxing corners neatly on rectangular runners
  • Inserting drapery weights in hems for added stability
  • Adding backing, lining, or interfacing for structure and opacity

Work slowly, follow directions, and press seams. It takes patience but the results are worth it. Add your own creative embellishment ideas too.

No-Sew Table Runner Ideas

Don't want to thread a needle? No problem! Table runners can be crafted without sewing too. Quick no-sew ideas include:

  • Fringe: Cut cloth napkins into strips and knot the ends. Glue along the top edge.
  • Hot glue: Attach lace, ribbons, ruffles with hot glue quickly. Use fabric glue for heavier trims.
  • Iron-on vinyl: Apply faux leather, metallic or patterned iron-on vinyl to add instant flair.
  • Rickrack and trim: Use fabric glue to attach flat trims like rickrack, ribbons, or pom poms around the edges.
  • Tassels: Take a rectangle of fabric, wrap and glue cording across the top, then cut fringe.

Seasonal and Holiday Table Runner Ideas

Table runners make it easy to decorate for seasonal events, holidays, and special occasions. Simply switch them out as needed. Some ideas include:

Spring - Pastels, flowers, butterflies, Easter eggs

Summer - Patriotic red, white, and blue for July 4th

Fall - Orange, black, and harvest motifs for Halloween and Thanksgiving

Winter - Red, green, gold and silver themes for Christmas and New Year's Eve

Valentine's Day - Hearts, pink, red, white color scheme

Have fun with different colors, shapes, and decorative embellishments to match the season or holiday. Use your table runner creatively.

Easy Table Runner Patterns for Beginners

Just starting out sewing? Try these easy table runner patterns and designs for beginners:

  • Rectangular runner with mitered corners
  • Stripes or checks in two contrasting fabrics
  • Fringed runner made from cutting fabric strips
  • Simple linen or cotton runner with monogram
  • Patchwork squares for a rustic quilted effect
  • Runner accented with prairie points or folded ribbon

Tic Tac toe table runner pattern

Take it slow, work on getting even seam allowances, and use these simple runners to hone your skills.

More Advanced Table Runner Techniques

Once you feel confident with the basics, try stepping up your skills with more complex runner designs:

  • Incorporating shapes like scallops, curves, or zigzags
  • Binding edges using straight grain or bias tape
  • Adding ruffles, pleats, darts for textural interest
  • Embellishing with lace appliques, embroidery, beading
  • Sewing unique asymmetrical shapes
  • Attaching creative trims like chenille, pom poms
  • Mixing fabric textures like suede and linen

There are endless ways to sew creative table runners. Use patterns or experiment with your own designs.

Displaying Table Runners

Table runners serve both decorative and functional purposes. Follow these display tips:

  • Run lengthwise down the center or widthwise across tables
  • Layer multiple sizes like a long runner underneath a more bold coordinating piece
  • Include complementary placemats, napkins, centerpieces
  • Try creative folds like diagonals or loose drapes
  • Use decorative tiebacks or bows to define shape
  • Incorporate seasonal flowers, candles, or decorations on top

Experiment with different arrangements and layering to find a look you love. Always remove candles and decor before use to avoid spills.


Table runners handle a lot of wear and tear, so proper care is essential.

  • Read and follow all fabric care instructions for washing, drying, ironing
  • Machine wash gently and line or flat dry. Avoid high heat.
  • Spot clean stains promptly with a damp cloth
  • Steam or iron on low as needed to remove wrinkles
  • Repair loose threads, re-stitch seams or hems if needed
  • Store neatly folded or draped on hangers to prevent dust and creases

With some periodic cleaning and TLC, table runners can last for many years of use.

    FAQs About Table Runner Patterns

    What are some good beginner patterns for sewing table runners?

    Some good beginner table runner patterns include simple stripes, patchwork squares, fringed edges, and rectangular runners with mitered corners. These projects use basic straight stitches and are easy to assemble.

    How wide and long should a table runner be?

    Standard table runner sizes range from 12-18 inches wide and 36-72 inches long. For narrow tables like consoles, go for a more narrow 12-14 inch width. For very long banquet tables, use a longer table runner around 72 inches or more.

    What fabrics work best for table runners?

    Cotton, linen, burlap and polyester blends are good fabric choices for table runners. Look for fabrics with a tight weave that are durable and easy to clean. Make sure any fabrics used are food safe and stain resistant.

    Should I use a template when cutting fabric for table runners?

    Using a paper template ensures accuracy when cutting out unique table runner shapes like scalloped edges or perfect circles. Make templates out of craft paper or cardboard for shapes that can't be measured easily.

    How do I finish the edges of my table runner?

    To finish raw edges, you can use pinking shears, zigzag stitching, binding tape or simply hem the edges. Fringe and unfinished edges also work with burlap and casual-style runners.

    How can I add interest to a basic table runner?

    Try interesting embellishments like lace trim, ribbon, fabric appliques or trims. Layer different textures like ruffles, pleats, fringe or pom poms for visual depth. Metallic fabrics, painted designs and embroidery also elevate a basic table runner.


    Table runners offer a simple way to dress up any tablescape. With endless color, pattern, shape and texture options available, it's easy to find or create table runners that complement your decor. Whether your style is traditional, rustic, or modern, the right runner pulls the entire table together. Next time you entertain or want to spruce up your dining table, experiment with these top table runner patterns and techniques.

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