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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ruffles and Hearts Table Runner-A Tutorial

Make that 4 snow days I had last week...so I'm finished with my sewing project and I've got the tutorial written! YAY! I made this table runner for Valentine's Day, but it just may stay up a little longer...

I've been wanting to make a table runner ever since I took mine down from Christmas. My table has been bare and lonely ever since. (Not that lonely with my purse, school bag, groceries, mail, etc. piled on top, but none of that is cute.) Great table runners are sometimes hard to find. I have good luck at Target usually, but that's about it. So if Target isn't carrying any styles I like for this season, well it's time to get sewing. 

My inspiration came from this sweet little V-Day pillow I found while browsing a linky party somewhere, I believe. I just love this idea by Gwen at Gwenny Penny, You can find the tutorial to make her Dot-Dot-Dot-Valentine's pillow, here
First thing I thought when I saw her pillow was, "Ooh, I love that!" and bookmarked it. Then I thought, "Hmm, wouldn't that be cute with hearts?!" And while I knew it would look awesome on a pillow, I really needed a runner for my kitchen table so the "hearts-in-a-row" design became what I would do for it. I also wanted to incorporate ruffles somehow 
(because ruffles are awesome, of course).

I almost made the runner entirely out of the wool felt that I love at JoAnn's, but I thought it needed some more jazzing up so I added in some patterned cotton, as well. 

DISCLAIMER: I am a beginner when it comes to sewing-so if any terminology or methods seem weird, forgive me. :) I'm learning!

Materials you will need:
approximately 2yds of wool felt for the runner (you can cut this in half to make both sides).
My felt came in a 36 in wide bolt so this was the perfect size cut in half. If yours is wider, then you'd need to adjust your cutting method.
1/2 yd of various colors of wool felt. I used 3 different colors of felt: gold, brown, and ivory
1/4 yd of various cotton fabric (I made it work with a 1/4 yd, but you might want to get the 1/2 if you want your cotton ruffles wider than mine.) I used 3 different colors of cotton fabrics (in the same color palette as the felt)
water-soluble pen (for tracing hearts)
heart patterns (small, med, large) 
Wonder Under
LOTS of pins
matching thread for each color you are using
sewing machine

Step 1: Cut out a billion hearts.
Ok. Not really a billion, but after awhile it starts to feel that way. Don't get discouraged. Just think how amazingly cute it will all turn out to be.
 I made my patterns using the fold-the-cardstock-in-half-and-cut-a-half-heart-and-unfold method. I just trimmed it until it took the shape I wanted it to. Drawing it on first is over-rated. At least for me. Once you have your patterns, get to tracing.
 For the felt hearts, I traced about 6 big hearts and 4 medium and small hearts per color (gold, ivory, and brown for mine) I folded my felt so that I would be cutting through 3 layers at a time. That gave me 18 big and 12 medium and small hearts per color of felt. 
**NOTE** When cutting your fabric (felt and cotton) be sure to cut it in a way that leaves you enough fabric to cut long strips for ruffles later.

The felt hearts are easy. The cotton hearts are a little trickier. 
I wanted them to be thicker than just one layer of fabric and have the pattern on both sides, AND not fray. I could have used pinking shears, but I like the look of a clean edge for this project. Stitching each heart together and spraying with de-fraying fabric spray would have taken ages. SO I fused two long strips of fabric together with Wonder Under (directions on package).
Now your fabric is pretty on both sides!
Then fold the long strip of fused fabric together so you can make more hearts at once. 
Trace on your hearts. I made less hearts with the cotton fabrics because I didn't want my runner to be too busy (it was going to be pretty busy already). I cut 4-5 big hearts and 4 med. and small hearts per cotton fabric color, giving me 8-10 big and 8 medium and small hearts per cotton fabric color. 
Your hearts are already two-sided once cut and they didn't seem to fray because the fabric is fused together! Now, I'm not saying these wouldn't fray if they were being rubbed up against something all the time, but since they're going on a table runner, we don't have to worry about that. 

Step 2: Pin hearts to top piece of your runner.
First you'll have to cut the felt you got for your runner in half, of course, creating a top and a bottom piece. My runner ended up being 63 in long and 18 in wide. Probably would have been a little longer and wider if I could cut in a straight line. :) I modeled the size off a runner I already had and cut it to fit my table. You can adjust as needed.

Fold the top piece of your runner in half width-wise so you can find your middle. You will pin your first row of hearts here and then work your way out on both sides. 
Start your row of hearts a little more than an inch from the edge. 
I would always pin my bottom heart so I could get it exactly where it needed to be and then I'd position the rest in that row, playing around with where different colors/patterns should go and getting them spaced correctly-and then I'd pin them in place.
 I did not measure this every time. Eye-balling is fine.
I did measure this every time however. I always measured the bottom heart-an inch or so from the edge, and the middle of the heart 3 1/2 inches from the middle of the heart in the row next to it. (3 1/2 in. stitching to stitching-or where the stitching will be)

I ended up with about 13 rows of hearts and about 9 in of fabric left on each side (where the ruffles will go).  
Step 3-Sew a straight line down all rows of hearts. 
Before sewing, make a mark at both ends of each row of hearts 5/8 in from the edge. This is where your line of stitching will start and end. When you do the top stitch around the edge of the runner after everything is done, you will top stitch 5/8 in from the edge. Your topstitch will then meet up with your lines of stitching for your heart rows (confused yet? Pictures should help...)

**Note If you wanted your topstitch to be closer to the edge of the runner, you could do 1/2 in or even a 3/8 in from the edge. **
You should be able to see the mark you made through the "eye" of your presser foot. This is where the first stitch should start.  
Sew a straight line down each row (don't forget to backstitch on each end). This part was nerve-wracking for me because sewing super straight is not my strongest suit. If I can, you can. 

I rolled up each end of my runner so it would be out of my way while sewing.

I liked the idea of having the stitching be a contrasting color so I chose the gold thread that matched my hearts and ruffles to sew my lines with.

RESIST THE URGE TO MOVE YOUR HEARTS AS YOU SEW. If you lined up your hearts in a straight line and pinned them that way, then you should not need to move your hearts. A tiny bit is fine, but if you find yourself moving the hearts a lot, you've probably got your fabric crooked or something and are now sewing a crooked line. 

Step 4-Create your Ruffles!
I love ruffles.

Part A: Let's do the felt ones first. They're easier.

 I cut my strips twice the length of the width of my runner and 2 in wide

To ruffle your strips, set your stitch length the highest it will go (mine is a 4) and your tension as high as it will go (mine is a 9). 

Sew a line down the middle of your strip and it should ruffle some as you sew.
 The machine never ruffles it enough so I pull on the thread at one end of the strip, creating tighter ruffles, then I push those ruffles down. Keep going until the strip is ruffled how you want. Spread the ruffles out so they're all even.

You want your ruffle to be as long as the width of your runner. 

Make 6 felt ruffles total, 2 of each color. So you will have a gold, ivory, and brown (or whatever colors you use) ruffle on each end of your runner.

Part B: Now, we'll make the cotton ruffles. 
I didn't want to hem the ends of my fabric strips so I made tubes of fabric, instead, that I could ruffle. 
Here's how you make your fabric tube:
Your strip of cotton should be twice the width of your runner (same as the felt ruffles), but for these, your width should be twice the width of how wide you want your ruffle to be. 

**Mine were 3 inches wide (which will make my ruffles a little over 1 in wide when finished. I made them this size because that's all the fabric I had left to do! This made the cotton ruffles thinner than the felt ruffles. I like the way it turned out, but if you want all your ruffles the same width, you should change this measurements to about 5 in wide so you end up with a 2 in ruffle after sewing.**

I made 2 tubes per fabric color, so 6 tubes in all.

Do all that to all of your strips to make them into tubes. Now you've got 6 inside-out tubes of fabric that you need to turn right side out. I had never done this before this project and it seemed daunting but was so easy. I used this video to figure it out. I didn't have a fancy tube turning tool or a chopstick, but I did have a skinny knitting needle so that is what I used. I used the end of the needle to poke out the corners of the sewn end of the tube before getting the needle out of the tube so it would be nice and flat. 
 Then iron your tube flat because it'll be all crinkly.

Then hem the other end of your tube.
 Once all your tubes are ready, ruffle them the same way you did the felt ones on your machine.
Step 5: Pin down your ruffles and sew.
Next, pin your ruffles, ready for sewing. Lay them all out first to ensure they'll lay side by side and reach the end. Then pin. Those ruffles can be unruly(but that's why we like them)-especially the cotton ones-so untwist them as you pin.
Leave the last one off so you can top stitch there. You'll add it last.
 Ideally you'd sew straight down the line you sewed to ruffle the fabric, but....
sometimes that doesn't happen. Like I said, ruffles can be unruly. It's ok, though, because a) I kinda like it and b) no one will notice.

Use coordinating thread to sew down your ruffles on both ends of your runner.
Step 6: Topstitch all the way around your runner.
 Pin your top and bottom pieces of your runner together. We're topstitching so pin them wrong sides sides together.
 I used my ruler to measure where to start (5/8 in from both edges at the corner) and made a mark there so I'd know where to start. When I came to a corner when stitching, I would make a mark 5/8 from the edge so I'd know where to turn. Sew over the ruffles that are already there. Again, I used the gold thread as a contrast to the red.
 After you've topstitched all around, sew your last ruffle on. I added a little line of stitching over it after it was sewn on with the gold thread so it would match the other ruffles.

And you're done!
Step 7: Marvel at your hard work and decorate with it.

 {Family and Friends: Yes, this is the infamous Granny Florence kitchen table. Many awesome memories have been had here-well not here-but on the table. My dad and I cleaned, sanded and refinished the top of it a few years ago and I cherish it in my home.}
And here's my Ruffle and Hearts Table Runner with my new pedestal bowl I got this weekend from Pier One! Yes, I made the yarn balls...maybe I'll post that tutorial soon.
A little side view to showcase those ruffles...
 Matt says he thinks it would make a good nest for my sweet little feather bird.
While he does look comfy, I think he might have to find another perch. I'm weird, but maybe not that weird.......today.

Happy sewing everyone!
Linking this post to these fantastic linky parties!

See my table runner featured!!
and here!

and here!

and here!
Craft Couture
and here!

and here!



Tawny said...

This is super cute! And a great tutorial as well. I love tons of pictures when I'm trying to figure something out. What a great Valentine's Day decoration! Awesome work.

Anonymous said...

I have been trying to learn to sew ruffle forever. I am not savy with sewing terms at all! I think you and I have the same machine so I was pumped to see the actual dials I need to turn to make a ruffle. I've tried different combinations before to no avail. Great tutorial and cute runner. Thanks!

Ali Rockwell said...

This is soooooooooooooooo cute! I love hearts and ruffles :) Adorable!

Sassy Sites! said...

We are hosting a Valentine linkup party over at Sassy Sites! I would love to have you stop by and link up this Valentine post (and ANY other valentine post you have!) xoxo!!

<3 Marni

Dominique @ Craft Couture said...

This is very cute & also a great tutorial! I love the colors that you used. :)
Thank you for stopping by my blog, I'm a new follower.


Dominique @ Craft Couture said...

I wanted to let you know that I featured this project blog :)


Anonymous said...

I sooooo LOVE this:)... i'm kinda obsessed with ruffles right now!!

Fonda @Southern Scraps said...

Awesome and great job with the tutorial!

Jen said...

this is super super cute! I'm totally in love with it!! Great work!!

Angie Holden said...

WOW!! This is fabulous!! Great job!! Thanks so much for auditioning for OMTWI!!

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

Sorry it took me so long to check this out, Allie... I was on vacation last week. I LOVE it!!! So adorable. And I love that you mixed felt and cotton. Fabulous! Great job!

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