How-to: Make a Repurposed Table Runner

table runner

Have you ever started a project, and it just gets gigantic by the end? A few weeks ago, we decided to rearrange the furniture in our living room, replacing a giant, 3-piece entertainment center with a smaller situation that wouldn’t look so looming in there. When we took the old one apart, it turned out that each piece on its own was super awesome! The base is now a window seat in my office, the top piece makes a perfect long shoe rack for the hallway, and the middle piece was just right for a kitchen sideboard. So, instead of rearranging the living room, we sort of rearranged the entire house!

The only trouble with this sideboard is that there were some visible screws at the top. Since this thing wasn’t designed to be a sideboard, there was no reason to cover them up. Now that it’s in the kitchen, though, I wanted to hide those ugly screws. A table runner to the rescue!

Of course, I could have hit up the big box store for a table runner, but where’s the fun in that? Plus, those store-bought situations tend to involve either conventional cotton or some type of polyester, and they’re made in far-off factories. Who knows what the labor practices are there, right? Instead, I hit my stash and whipped up this reclaimed table runner that’s exactly the right size for my new sideboard. Here’s how you can make a table runner of your own!


  • Fabric. I used a burlap coffee sack and a bed sheet from the thrift store. The size you cut will depend on the size you need, so you’ll need to raid your stash accordingly. I’ll get into sorting out measurements below!
  • Measuring tape.
  • Sewing machine, pins, thread


1. Get your measurements. I needed a finished runner that was about 13″ wide by 80″ long. Since I didn’t have any fabric that was those sizes, I went with 2 panels of burlap on the back and 2 panels of bedsheet fabric on the front. I cut each panel to 13.5″ X 41″. See the math there? Add .5″ to the width for your seam allowance, and for each panel, add 1″ for seam allowance. Since mine was 80″ long, each panel needed to be 80″Γ·2+1″, which is 41″.

2. Cut your fabric. Cut out your panels and iron them.

3. Pin your panels. Take the two pieces of fabric that are going to be the top, and pin the 13.5″Β  sides right sides together on one side. Sew that side together, so now you have one long piece, instead of two shorter panels. Do the same with the fabric you’re using for your backing. Iron everything again.

4. Pin your runner. Lay your back panel, right side up. Now, take your front panel and lay it right side down on top of it. Pin everything in place.

runner pinned

5. Time to sew! Stitch all the way around the edges of your runner leaving a 1/4″ inseam. Make sure you also leave yourself a 3″ gap, so that you can turn your runner right side out again.

6. Turn and finish your runner. Use that gap I just mentioned to turn your project right side out. Grab that iron again, and press the whole thing, so it’s laying flat. You’ll want to tuck in the unfinished edges of the gap that you left, so it looks all finished and lined up with the rest of the runner’s edge. Now, run it through the machine again to top stitch around the whole edge. This will help things stay flat and close that 3″ gap that you left.

7. Optional quilty fun! If you want to make things extra fun, grab that runner one more time, and run it through the machine to quilt it. You can do standard straight lines, if you want, or be like me and do fun, random, wavy lines up and down your whole runner.

8. Iron again. I know, you’re sick of ironing, but do it one last time to set your stitches and give your runner a nice, professional look.

finished table runner on the sideboard

That’s it! Have you guys made a table runner or other linens before? I’d love to hear what you’re sewing in the comments!

3 thoughts on “How-to: Make a Repurposed Table Runner”

  1. Hi, Our bedroom used to have 2 windows and now only one (after an addition was put on). I use the unused valence as a bureau scarf. It matches! I love making holiday table runner from on sale holiday material and my stash.

  2. Pingback: How-to: Make a Repurposed Table Runner

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