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How to Make a Table Runner (Grain Sack Fabric)

Learn how to make a table runner with grain sack fabric (or other heavy-weight fabric) with this easy sewing tutorial.
Author: Joy at Artful Homemaking


  • 2 to 3 yards grain sack fabric or other heavy-weight fabric
  • measuring tape
  • sewing gauge
  • matching thread
  • scissors
  • sewing machine
  • iron


  • First, decide where you want to use your table runner. Dining tables, coffee tables, side tables, or any flat surface! Prewash your fabric, and iron, if needed. I like to prewash my grain sack fabric on warm, then dry on medium heat in the dryer. After removing from the dryer, I press it if it's wrinkled (but this often isn't necessary).
  • Use your measuring tape to measure the table where you will use the finished table runner. You'll want to also determine how much overhang you'd like it to have. Generally, each end should hang over the table at least 6 inches or more (or about 3-4 inches for a smaller table like a coffee table). Add an extra 3/4" to each end measurement to accommodate a hem. (You can also create a smaller table runner that doesn't hang over the ends of the table, if you prefer.) So, take the length of the table plus 4-6 inches on each end for overhang, plus an extra 3/4" on each end to get the length of your table runner.
  • Next, decide how wide you want your table runner to be. This measurement is totally up to you, and what you think will look best on your table. Many table runners are 14", 16", 18", or 20" wide. Add an extra 3/4" to to each side for the hem.
  • Cut out your table runner, using the measurements you came up with in steps two and three.
  • Now it's time to sew! First, we'll start by pressing the long edges of the table runner. Turn under one long side of the table runner (toward the wrong side of the fabric) 3/8", and press. Then turn under 3/8" again and press. Stitch down the long side that you just folded under and pressed. Stitch along the edge, making a 1/4" hem. Repeat for the other long side of the table runner to hem the other side.
  • Now it's time to hem the ends (short sides) of the runner. This is actually the most complicated step, because it can be a bit of a challenge to sew through all the layers of fabric. Turn under one end 3/8" toward the wrong side of the fabric. Press. Turn under again 3/8" and press. Stitch down close to the edge.
    There will be a lot of fabric bulk under the presser foot, so I start sewing with the presser foot in the up position to stitch the first few stitches (sewing slowly). Sometimes it also helps to manually raise the needle and put it in the fabric where you need it to be. Then, once I've made it over that fabric bulk, I lower the presser foot and stitch normally. When you reach the end of this line of stitching, you may need to work with your presser foot again to fit all the fabric bulk under it. Repeat for the other short side.
  • Cut off any loose threads and press one last time. Then decorate your table with your new table runner!


Note: To wash the completed table runner (when it needs to be washed), I wash on a cold, gentle setting, and hang to dry.