Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Easy Zig-Zag Tablerunner Tutorial

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For Thanksgiving this year I made this tablerunner, dubbed Harvest Hills by my mom, from two charm packs.  We needed something kid friendly for serving a Thanksgiving meal directly to the table, so I lined it with Insul-Bright to help protect my table from the heat of the fresh out of the oven pans.  You could easily make this tablerunner from charm (5” square) scraps organized by predominant color.  Once you get your color piles in order, it’s a snap to put together all while customizing the width and length.  Here’s how I did it.

First, figure out how long you want your tablerunner to be.  Four charms will make the length about 40 inches.  Three charms would make it about 30.  Then divvy up your charms into color groups, working your way across the runner.  So my runner starts with teal, works its way to brown, orange, brown and finishes on the other side with purple.  Here’s the one complicated part.  For each 4 charms, you need 4 charms to match them up with.  But you need to match on either side of the row, so you actually 8 charms total for all the inside rows.

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In this picture I have

  • 4 teal with 4 cream
  • 4 cream with 4 light orange
  • 4 light orange with 4 brown
  • 4 brown with 4 orange
  • 4 orange with 4 brown
  • 4 brown with 4 green
  • 4 green with 4 cream
  • 4 cream with 4 purple

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So here I took my 4 teal charms and picked 4 cream charms to use with them.

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Here they are paired up.  I tried to pick a variety of scales and designs between the two colors.

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Place the pairs right sides together, then I just stacked the pairs in a pile.  Then I continued on to the next color pair:  cream and light orange.  Do the same thing—pick 4 light orange to go with the 4 cream you still have unpaired.

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Put them in pairs right sides facing, then pile them up.

Continue with the next colors, light orange and brown.

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And keep pairing them up until you get a set of piles that look like this:
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So this runner will have 8 rows.

Now, to the sewing.  It can’t get easier than this…sew a 1/4 inch seam around the edge of a charm pair (remember the right sides are facing).  Do each of the 4 pairs in your first pile.  Then cut each pair diagonally twice. 

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You will end up with a great little pile of this little half square triangle (or maybe more aptly called quarter square triangle?).

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Then I pressed my squares with the seams open.

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You’ll end up with a nice pile of these.

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This is where you can get busy trimming your HSTs into perfect sizes.  I am lazy and did not of that.  I just used a small pair of trimming shears to remove the excess seam allowance and that was that!

Next is the fun part…start laying out all your squares in the pattern you want to follow.  I knew I was binding with orange and cream floral fabric, so I made sure the orange row end pieces were different fabric.  I tried to not repeat a fabric in the same direction or orientation to much.  That sort of thing.

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Once you are happy with your layout,

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you can start piling your squares up to get them ready to sew into rows.

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I bundled mine up all left to right and numbered them with small post it notes to keep me organized. 

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That’s the gist of how to make the zig-zags.  Once you have your rows all sewn, join your rows together to make the top.  Because I used Insul-Bright in addition to Warm and White batting, I made my binding 2 3/4 inch which worked out perfectly.

I plan to make this exact same runner from a Holly Jolly pack of charms, although I am using 3 and 6 charms to do it.  I like the idea of serving food directly to the table, so I have already started on it so I’ll have it ready for Christmas!  If you decide to make a zig zag runner using the method outlined here, I’d love to see it!!

I’m linking this up to Tuesday at the Table and Fabric Tuesday on Quilt Story.


  1. oh this is darling, Jamie! Just perfect for a Thanksgiving table with the family. LOVE your colors!! Thanks for linking up and hope you also link up with Pink Chalk's Handmade with Love - it would be a perfect addition! oh, and glad you did a tutorial - I'm definitely pinning it!

  2. I love the colors you used! That pop of blue on the edge really makes it stand out.

  3. Great tutorial! I´ll definitely use your way to make quarter square triangles. Have a nice Thanksgiving!

  4. Brilliant idea on adding the Insul-Bright! And thanks for that detail on making the triangle-sewing easier! For some reason, it seems much more fun to me to sew around a square & then cut, than to cut-match-sew triangles! (Why did I never think of that?!) Awesome!

  5. fabulous tablerunner - thanks for the tutorial :)


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