Christmas Tree Table Runner Sew Along – Part 4!

Welcome to day 4 of our Christmas Tree Table Runner Sew Along.

If you’ve missed it so far here are some handy links:

Today we are going to tackle quilting and binding to finish your table runner!

By now you should have:

  • the top of your table runner all sewn together.
  • the binding strips sewn together and put to one side for later.

Part 4…

The Quilt Sandwich

In a moment we are going to create your quilt sandwich, but first you may need to join several fabric pieces together to create your backing fabric (if it is not already wide enough to cover the whole of your table runner).

Cut one piece of fabric approx. 5cm deeper than the depth of your table runner, this will go in the middle of your table runner.

Measure your table runner and add 5cm to the answer.  Now take away the width of the piece of fabric you have already cut.

Divide the answer by 2 and then add 1.5cm (1/2”) to the answer (this is to allow for the fabric that will be lost in the seams).  Cut two pieces of fabric this wide, as deep as the piece of fabric you have already cut.

Place one piece at each end of your main backing fabric piece, and sew into place – the idea is to avoid having a join in the middle of your table runner,  and to have a balance of fabric on each side of the seam lines (even if it means having more seam lines).

Now you need to create your quilt sandwich – comprising of your backing fabric, wadding and table runner top.  There are lots of different ways to do this, we recommend using Odif 505 basting spray as it saves lots of time pinning and repining!

If you are using basting spray, lay you wadding on the table (we used insulated/heat resistant wadding), cut slightly larger than your table runner, spray with basting spray and then position your table runner on top (in the middle), smoothing out any creases.

Turn the runner over and spray the back of the wadding with basting spray.  Place your backing fabric on top (it should be approx. the same size as the wadding) and smooth any creases out.

You are now ready to quilt.


If you are an experienced quilter then go for it – using the pattern of your choice.  If you are new to quilting here is our quick guide…

Make sure your bobbin thread works with the fabric on the back of your table runner and turn your stitch length up to 3.

If you have a walking foot for your sewing machine, put it on now, if you don’t have one, don’t panic, you can use a regular foot, but will find you get fewer creases and the fabrics move about less with one – we recommend trying this project with your regular foot, and if you fall in love with quilting, go out and get a walking foot for your next project!

We recommend starting by quilting ‘next to the ditch’  the ditch is any seam line on your quilt.  Many quilters sew ‘in the ditch’ when quilting, to emphasis patterns or stop the quilting pattern from detracting from the piecing, but this is less forgiving than sewing ‘next to the ditch’, as a wobble when you are in the ditch will really show, next to the ditch and a little bit out is almost undetectable.

To sew next to the ditch, you are going to sew around the outside of each Christmas tree shape, accentuating the shape and magically making the joins between sashing strips less noticeable.

Position your table runner under your sewing machine foot ready to sew up the tree trunk (from the raw edge of the table runner up to the join with the main part of the tree).  The middle of your foot should be lined up with the ‘ditch’ – the join between the tree trunk and the filler strip. Move your needle to the side position, so that it is on the filler strip, just off to one side of the ditch.

  1. Sew up the edge of the trunk, stopping approx. as far away from the bottom of the tree as your sew line is from the side of the trunk.
  2. With the needle down, lift your foot and turn your fabric, so that you are heading along the bottom of the tree, still on the filler fabric. Go slightly past the end of the tree, by the amount your sew line is from the edge of the tree.
  3. With the needle down lift your foot and turn your fabric so you are sewing up the side of the tree.
  4. Continue in this manner until you get back to the bottom of the trunk, then stop sewing (you don’t need to sew along the bottom of the trunk).

Check the back is looking good and then move onto the next tree.

Once you have sewn around the outside of each tree you can choose to stop quilting, and move onto binding, or you could go back and sew ‘in the ditch’ between each piece of fabric that makes up each of the trees.   

Binding Your Quilt.

If you have a walking foot, leave it on for the binding.  You can use the edge of the foot for your seam allowance, when you see 6mm mentioned below, you will need to change this is your revised seam allowance.

Trim back the excess wadding and backing fabric and then square your table runner off once more – you will be amazed how much everything grows and moves when you quilt!

Now unroll your binding tape.  Place one end, still folded in half along the long edge, in the left-hand top corner.  Keeping the tape’s raw edges lined up with the edge of the table runner, place a pin in the tape approx. halfway between the first two trees – this will be where you start sewing the tape on.

If you like pins, pin the tape down to the next corner – BUT NO FURTHER.

Sew the tape into place from the first pin to 6mm BEFORE the next corner.  Then take your table runner away from the sewing machine to do the next bit.

Fold the tape back to form a triangle on top of the part of the binding tape you have just sewn into place – the unsewn part of the tape will extend up, in line with the next side of the table runner.

Fold the part of the tape which is extending above the table runner, back down the table runner, covering the triangle you made in the last step.  Pin the tape into place (making sure the raw edges of the tape are in line with the edge of the table runner on the next side, and the fold you just made is in line with the top edge of the table runner).

Sew down the next side, starting at the fold, stopping 6mm from the bottom of this side.  Repeat the folding process from the last corner and continue round until you are approx. 18cm (7”) from where you started.

Now for the join…

When you bind a quilt with tape made from one fabric, we recommend making your join on the bias (along a diagonal line, as it is less visible in the finished quilt) but because this tape is made up of squares sewn together, a straight line join is best – it will simply look like part of the existing design.

Fold both your pieces of tape back so that the folds butt up against each other in the middle of the gap.  Iron the creases into place, then pull both the pieces of tape away from the edge of your table runner, unfold them and pin them together, right sides facing, so that the creases are on top of each other.  Sew together along the crease.

Fold your binding back up and place it on top of your table runner.  If it lays flat, trim the excess tape away from the seam allowance, and then finish sewing the tape into place as before – if your tape is too loose, go back and sew another seam, if it is too tight, try stretching it a little, if it still won’t lay flat, you will need to unpick and try again.

Once the tape is all sewn into place, fold the tape up, away from the table runner.  Run around the edge with your iron, pushing the tape away from the table runner to get a crisp line.

Flip your table runner over and fold the binding tape onto the back.  You are going to hand sew the tape into place, just below the sew line from the other side.  If you want to pin the tape into place do that now, either with traditional pins or quilting clips, I find it easier to work without pins and would recommend giving it a try!

Thread a medium to long needle and tie a knot in the bottom of the cotton.  Make your first stitch into the back of the backing fabric, above the binding sew line (to hide the knot), DO NOT go through to the front, only through the backing fabric.

We are now going to create a ladder stitch to bring the binding down onto the backing fabric, quickly, and just where we want it.

Insert the needle back into the backing fabric, a few mms below the sew line from the other side of the binding DO not go through to the front, you are looking to make a stitch approx. 1-1.5cm (1/2”) long, that runs under the backing fabric, bring the needle back up out of the backing fabric.

Now take the needle straight up into the binding, you are looking to get the needle inside the binding’s fold, not all the way through both layers.  Run the needle along the fold 1-1.5cm (1/2”) and then bring the needle back out of the binding.

Now take the needle down into the backing fabric and repeat the process.  Continue going up and down, from the backing fabric to the binding, and before long you will have created a ‘ladder’ of cotton between the two fabrics.

Pull on the thread, the binding tape will come down to meet the binding fabric and all the stitches will be hidden!

Continue creating a few stitches, pulling them down and creating more, until you get near to the corner (a few inches/5-10cms away from the corner).

Manipulate the corner fabric to create a mitred (diagonal fold) edge.  I find it helps to pin into place for a few minutes, when I take the pins away everything stays put long enough to sew into place.

Sew up to the corner, then repeat the same stitches working up the fold of the mitred edge, sewing the top fold down on to the piece of binding underneath (the space is so small, one stitch up and one down usually does it).  Then continue around the rest of your table runner.

When you have finished all four sides, knot your cotton and trim away the excess thread – ta-dah!

Download a copy of this tutorial by clicking here. 

Don’t forget – you can buy this table runner as a kit in store – click here.

Please do share images of your table runners with us #printstopolkadots on Instagram, or find us on Facebook at printstopolkadots.


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