How to Make a Table Runner: The Easy Way!

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Learn how to make a table runner for your table. This black and white buffalo check DIY table runner is perfect for any time of the year.

I made it for a holiday table, but the classic pattern works all year long.

This simple sewing tutorial is perfect for beginners. If you can sew a straight line, you can make this table runner.

If you like working with fabric, you might also like these ombre curtains.

pin image - table runner with vase of greener on table with text overlay: easy to make table runner

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I don’t love taking the time to sew, but this table runner only took about 30 minutes to make.

If you can sew a straight line, you can make this.

This fabric table runner is perfect for beginners!

Table runners can be used with or without a tablecloth underneath them. (I prefer it on its own for a more modern look.)

According to Etiquette Scholar, table runners have 3 purposes:

  • For decoration
  • To define seating
  • For a theme

I typically use mine for decoration, but for this Halloween tablescape, my DIY table runner was used to help emphasize the theme.

DIY Fabric Table Runner FAQs

How long should a table runner be?

A table runner should be at least 6″ longer than your table on each side. So if your table is 48″ long, add 12″ to that to equal 60″.

The same rules apply to using table runners on round tables.

How much fabric do I need for a table runner?

I used about 2 1/2 yards of fabric for the main fabric and another 2 1/2 yards for the backing.

This allows you to cut a seamless length of fabric without piecing it together.

You can also add batting to the inside of your runner, but it gives you a puffier-looking runner. 

I prefer thinner table runners without batting for a more modern look. 

What is the best fabric for a table runner?

I used home decor fabric for this runner, but any thinner fabric could work. Linen and cotton are nice to sew.

Avoid thick upholstery fabric because it will be harder to sew and might not be washable.

You can also use oilcloth and make a wipeable table runner. However, be aware that oilcloth can be difficult to sew, especially for beginners.

How to Make a Table Runner

Supplies Needed

Prepare the Fabric for Sewing a Table Runner

  1. Pre-wash fabric if possible. Pre-washing your fabric prevents the fabric from shrinking when you wash it the first time.
  2. Figure out your dimensions. Table runners should be about 6-10″ longer on each end of your table and about 1/3 of the width. So if your table is 48″ square, your runner should be between 60″ and 68″ long and 16″ wide.

    When you cut your fabric, you need about 1″ more on the length and width. 
    Scissors and buffalo check fabric
  3. Cut your fabric to that length and width. I find it easier to rip fabric to get a straight line. Snip where you want it to get started and rip lengthwise.

    (I measured 17″ and snipped there, so I could rip the length of the fabric.) Then I cut along the width to get 72″.
    Ripping fabric along the grain is an easy way to get a straight line.
  4. Do the same for the backing fabric.
    buffalo check fabric and backing fabric

Sewing the Table Runner

  1. Pin the fabric together, right sides together.
    Pin right sides together
  2. Sew around the edges. When you get to a corner, lift the foot to pivot the fabric with the needle in the fabric.
    Lift presser foot to turn fabric for corners
  3. Leave an opening in any side.
    opening in table runner seam
  4. Clip the corners. This reduces bulk when turned right side out.
    Clip corners

How to Finish a Table Runner

  1. Flip the runner right side out, being sure to poke the corners out.
    Table runner flipped right side out
  2. Your table runner will look pretty fluffy at this stage. Iron it, being sure to press along the seams well. Iron the part you left open as if it is sewn shut (tuck it inside.)
    Iron seams on table runner
  3. It’s still not great. But a top seam will make it perfect. Sew along the edge of the runner, using the edge as a guide for the seam allowance. Sew over the part that you left open to close it.
    Top stitch table runner
  4. Your runner looks great! This is the same method that I used to sew my dyed shibori fabric into table runners!
Yield: 1

How to Make a Table Runner

make a table runner

Learn how to make a table runner with this easy tutorial. Making a table runner is easier than you think! If you can sew a straight line, you can sew this! Perfect for beginners!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $10


  • 2 – 2 1/2 yards of fabric
  • 2 – 2 1/2 yards of backing fabric


  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine


  1. Pre-wash the fabric.
  2. Figure out how big to make your runner.
  3. Cut the fabric to size.
  4. Cut the lining fabric to the same size.
  5. Pin the fabric together, right sides together.
  6. Sew around the edges.
  7. Leave an opening in a side of the runner.
  8. Clip the corners.
  9. Flip the runner inside-out.
  10. Iron the runner.
  11. Sew a top seam around the edge using a 1/4" seam allowance.
  12. Make sure to sew the open edge shut.

Recommended Products

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Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Have fun decorating your table with your new fabric table runner!

Now that you know how to sew table runners, you can make them in so many colors and patterns.

Finished buffalo check table runner with vases

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Pin for Later!

pin image - black and white table runner on wood table with text overlay "How to Sew an Easy Table Runner"

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One Comment

  1. Great instructions, for making a table runner longer than my instructions. Thanx for the info, will a file for your website.

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