Tag Archives: table runner

barkcloth table runner

Back from vacation in Jackson Hole and head first into duties and responsibilities- being an adult is truly delightful. I got right down to the business of hand making a birthday gift for a friend of mine.
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A reversible table runner in the making, here are the pieces being organized. In my book there are just a few rules to guide you when piecing together something wild and random. Here are the guidelines:
1) use various widths for the pieces
2) pick a few colors to focus on
3) use the same fabric a few times throughout
4) vary the patterns in the fabrics- small & large prints, geometric patterns etc.

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All pieced together and ironed.

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I found this perfectly-perfect piece of vintage barkcloth in amongst my piles of fabric and it’s even barely the right size- miracles do happen.

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I decided not to put any interfacing or batting between the two layers this time, either way works just fine for a project like this, it’s just a matter of preference on a project like this.

I ironed the heck out of the wild pieced side, then pinned like crazy to keep the layers from moving at all when I sewed them together. I sewed the two layers together ‘in the ditch’ or very close to the seam (or ditch), using tan thread so the stitching blends in on the barkcloth side.

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The stitching is there, but blends in well.

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I used black bias tape to finish the edges- after I squared things up and trimmed the edges first.

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All finished- here’s the subdued and sophisticated side- makes me feel like I’m on the set of Mad Men. (If I were to be granted three wishes, one would definitely be to hang out the set of Mad Men- maybe work in the costume department?)

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Welcome to the jungle- life on the wild side.

table running experiments

Well, this is what I have to show for myself today… what I thought would take about an hour to finish ended up taking me all day. No surprise really, isn’t that the way most things go (aside from naps on warm sunny beaches and weekends which always pass too quickly)?

I added a piece of thin batting under the pieced table runner face and a solid piece of fabric (orange with daisies) to the back then machine quilted it all together with a chevron pattern and some fluorescent orange thread (the only aspect of the project I was really happy about).

Very time consuming machine quilting for such a small table runner, lots of shoving folds of fabric out of the way, getting poked with straight pins and muttering bad words.

Black binding finishing it off, here’s what the flip side looks like.

I sound grumpy about this whole project but I think it turned out OK in the end- it lays flat, corners are square… that should be a sign of success right?
Well, here’s the real reason I’m grumpy:
I started out on this table runner, I thought swirls would look nice on the solid colors. I used a tan upholstery weight thread which basically gives you a thicker, more obvious stitch. I sewed straight seams ‘in the ditch’ in 3 or 4 places to hold all the layers together, which worked out just fine until I went to get fancy with the circles.

If you go slowly, the top (needle side) stitching will always look nice and the thicker thread will move nicely through the machine. But every now and again (and for no apparent reason) this mess (above) would happen on the bobbin side. Ugh! Not OK on this rad vintage fabric (I was loathe to even put scissors to) also meant to be used as a front side.

Then, I ran out of the tan upholstery thread, you can sew through an entire spool in 5 minutes or 10 feet, whichever comes first. I can’t decide if I should call it a FAIL and pick all the stitching out and start over or set it aside until I get more thread and finish the swirls then.
Time to walk away and think about it later. It’s the weekend- cut loose and have a fantastic Cinco de Mayo!