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13 November, 2010

How to Make a Ruffled Burlap Table Runner

 I recently showed you my ruffled burlap table runner that I made for my Thanksgiving table and also offered one in my blogaversary giveaway. Since I had several requests for directions for making one, I decided to do a tutorial. Even if you are accomplished at sewing, maybe the way I calculated my measurements will be helpful. That’s always the hardest part for me! Sooo…here goes…

runner tutorial
This diagram is based on the usual 48 inch width of burlap. First, measure the length of your tabletop and add 14 inches. The extra 14 inches is to allow for overhang on each end of the table. You will use this measurement to calculate how much burlap to purchase. It’s good to buy extra, since burlap is sometimes not straight on the bolt. For my 68 inch table, I bought 2 1/2 yards and that was more than enough. The fold may not be at the center of the fabric, but unless it’s way off, that won’t matter. If it is, you will have to center it and press it.
  • First, cut the fabric to the desired length…your tabletop plus 14 inches. You can use this cut to get a straighter edge on both ends.
  • Next, cut along the fold, creating two lengths of fabric.
  • Then make another cut so that you have a length of 17 inch wide fabric plus a 7 inch or so remnant. You now have two 17 inch wide strips and two 7 inch wide strips.

IMG_4166 You will only use one of the 7 inch wide strips, so choose the one with fewer defects. (Burlap is just that way!) Cut the strip in half so that you have two shorter 7 inch wide strips.  Make a hem around three sides, using the selvage side and the two short sides. (Selvage is the edge of the fabric that has been finished so it will not ravel.) You will have to turn the shorter sides under twice to create the hem, pressing each time, but the selvage side will only need to be turned under once, since it won’t ravel. Repeat for the other strip. These are your ruffles.

IMG_4167 Now you are going to gather the ruffles. Burlap is too heavy to use the machine for gathering, so I used a doubled thread to hand stitch. I used a contrasting thread here so you could see. Of course, you would want to use matching thread so that you aren’t having to worry too much if any of it shows. You will have to tie the thread at the end, rather than use a knot, as it will just pull through.

IMG_4170 Gather the fabric on the thread, pulling as you go along.

IMG_4171 Fit it along the short end of one of your 17 inch wide pieces, adjusting the gathers, and then tie your thread at the other end. Pin the ruffle in place. I found it helpful to press the ruffle at this point. The hemmed side should be facing up with right sides together. (There is no real right side for the 17 inch strip. Just choose a side with fewer defects.)

IMG_4165 Be sure that you have left a seam allowance at each end of roughly 1/2 inch or so. Then stitch the ruffle to the 17 inch strip. Repeat for the ruffle at the other end.

IMG_4173 Pin the corners of the ruffles back so that they will not get caught in your next seam…

IMG_4174 …then pin the other 17 inch strip on top of the one you have been working on. Once again, you will want to put the prettier side down, if there is one.

runner tutorial 2 Stitch all the way around the fabric, leaving a 12 inch gap on one side. You will use this gap to turn the fabric inside out. I always back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam so that it will not ravel. Be careful at the corners, making sure to sew right next to the ruffle edge along the seam allowance, not getting the ruffle caught in the seam. Now, turn it right side out, pulling on the ruffles at the corners to be sure that the fabric is completely turned.  Then press with a steam iron.

IMG_4176 You will want to turn under and press the fabric along the 12 inch gap to give it a finished appearance. Finally, hand stitch that gap closed. If you wish you can top stitch the runner around the rectangular portion.

IMG_3891 And here it is! Burlap does have a strong smell at first, so you may want to air it outside for a while. Mine has been on my table for a couple of weeks now and has virtually no smell. It cannot be washed, but can be dry cleaned, so watch out for that cranberry sauce! I hope this tutorial was helpful! Let me know if you try it and tell me how yours turns out!

Remember to pin it!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my project!  Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants! Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Before and After Party on Wednesdays
Gina at The Shabby Chic Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Laurie at Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie for A Few of My Favorite Things Saturday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Denise at First a Dream for the Re- Party
Layla at The Lettered Cottage for A Few of My Favorite Tutorials 2010
Kristin at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia for the All  Things Burlap Party
See you next time!  A la prochaine!

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  1. Seeing this, I think I could do it with out a sewing machine, wouldn't look this good, but still, think it might be able to be done. Thanks!

  2. I've chosen you for the Stylish Blogger Award. Come by if you'd like to accept!
    Your friend,

  3. Great tutorial! This would make a great gift for someone on your Christmas list.

  4. Great idea. It would be a nice addition to thanksgiving table or a side table. Thanks for sharing how you made it.

  5. Super tutorial, yours looks so pretty. I love it on your table. Hope you are having a great weekend. Hugs, marty

  6. Hi Debbie. Great tutorial. I'm not really into the burlap but see so much of it in blogland! It does look very Thanksgivingy!! You're good too.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  7. You are so sweet to do a tutorial! I've been wanting to make one for the longest time but just haven't gone around to it. Now I have no excuse. I have washed burlap before using it for other projects. Have you tried that by any chance before making a runner?


  8. thank you for the tutorial!! i may try it without my sewing machine. right now mine is packed away while cleaning out the new space. :)
    i bet the stitch witchery or fusible hem stuff would work.
    two questions-
    was the fuzzy stuff off the burlap everywhere? i seem to only find burlap around here that has alot of lint on it. lol
    second question-
    where did you find those brown glasses/goblets on your table?? i have been looking for brown ones.
    thanks, kim

  9. Hi Kim! Surprisingly, there were some little strings...but not a lot of lint! And the goblets were my wedding pattern many moons ago. I have forgotten the name! Sorry.

  10. I think it is very kind of you to do a tutorial even though I could not even begin to accomplish this project :-) So hopefully you will continue to make the runners available for sale.

  11. I don't know why, but I never got the sewing gene the rest of the females in my family have!

  12. Great tutorial! I'm not much of a sewer so I'm glad I'm the recipient of your giveaway! I will be showing off my gorgeous runner soon....thanks again Deb it is even prettier in person!!! :)


  13. If I might add, when I make thinks with burlap I find that if you wash is first it tightens up and is easier to work with and looks better, Now it's sort of messy so you can take it to a laundormat.

  14. Debbie, I love the look of your runner on your table. I'd love to add one to our table, but knowing me I'll never get around to making one. I'm also without a machine, so I'd have to borrow one. But thanks for the tutorial. Who knows, someday I might get one made. LOL
    You did a fantastic job outlining the steps.
    Hope you are enjoying some beautiful weather. It is cool but sunny here. Perfect!
    ~ Sarah

  15. Hi Debbie. Always the professor:)) Love that tutorial.
    Have a good weekend

  16. I love the look of this and may try it. Burlap can be funny to work with because it never seem straight.Your's looks beautiful!

    Stop on by and enter my DaySPring giveaway.

  17. Beautiful project! I can't sew, I'm not crafty but I do enjoy stopping by to see what you've done! It's so pretty and creative!

  18. I would still rather have you make it for me! :)

  19. Thanks for the tutorial...i might try it even though I don't have a sewing machine.

  20. I have an antique server that my grandma gave me and this would look just perfect draped across it. Thank you for the tutorial. Your instructions were very clear and I like that you posted pictures to refer to.

    So many wonderful ideas on how to use burlap, I may have to go buy a bolt of it!

  21. Thanks for the tutorial! I bought some burlap at HL about a month ago. But it makes me sneeze for some reason!

  22. Love the look! I've thought about doing something with burlap, but remembered the smell from years ago. Your runner is so charming, maybe I should try again. Thanks for the inspiration. Sally

  23. Debbie, your directions are great! That's the teacher in you coming out :) It is so pretty - love it! Linda

  24. As always, I enjoy your posts.I love the burlap table runner. It is quite festive. You have inspired me to get the ball rolling with my blog. Stop by and let me know what you think. :)


  25. It's so pretty - I think I'll do one for Thansgiving! Thank you for a great tutorial.
    Cheers, Andrea

  26. What a handy woman!

    Congratulations! I really admire you!

    Luciane at

  27. Cute as all get out...but...I am having enough trouble. Your's looks professional. I haven't sewn in ...ages. What a great job you did on that runner! It's wonderful! Sew? Maybe later..I'll just come and visit yours!

  28. Great tutorial on this one Deb! Super ingenuious! ;)

  29. Great tutorial on this one Deb! Super ingenuious! ;)

  30. Oh, Debbie... what a fun tutorial! You are the best! Thanks!


    Sheila :-)

  31. Your tutorial is timely for me. I bought a bag of burlap squares not long ago and want to make some runners.

    If you have time, I would love for you to link this post to my blog party at

    I love your blog and have already bookmarked a bunch. I'll be your newest follower!

  32. I am trying this for sure! by the way, I am a plate addict too! I can't seem to get enough! Can't wait to explore your blog!

  33. My friend just thrifted a huge bold of burlap! We just might have to make one of these! Love it!

  34. I featured you as one of my favorite tutorials from the lettered cottage party!

  35. This is my first time visiting your blog and I love it! This burlap tutuorial is perfect timing for me. I've been wanting to make one!

  36. Wow, thanks for sharing, I have learned so much here on your site. I love the way how you made the tutorial easy to understand. Its always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! Thanks!

    Victoria -->>

  37. Thanks for the tutorial! I found it on Pinterest, and made it tonight. Turned out so cute! Burlap turned out to be a little hard to wrangle, so I ended up sewing more of a pleat than a ruffle, but it still looks darling!

  38. Thanks for a great tutorial, Debbie! I found this post on Pinterest and my runner turned out just like yours! I linked to this project in a post I did on my blog (basically telling people just to follow your instructions).
    Thanks again.

  39. I featured you today!! I love your ruffled burlap runner - such a beautiful touch of texture for a table! Heather

  40. Thank you for sharing this tutorial. I LOVE the finished edges. It gives the burlap a bit of 'class'. I have an oval table and I've had decorators tell me you can't do a runner that drapes off of an oval table. Your table proves they are wrong! I hope I'll find time to make a runner for my table soon.

  41. what is the name of the plate pattern beautiful

  42. Oh my I love this burlap table runner and thank you for sharing your instructions I have got to try this God bless


Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie