Quilted Ombre Table Runner: Strip Piecing, Quilting, and Facing to Finish

The holidays are fast approaching and whether it's for yourself or you're making it as a gift, a new table runner always brightens up a dining table in one easy step! Pick a pack of precut fat quarters in a range of shades and combine them to make a table runner with shifting-color appeal. You can use this runner on a table or on a bed, wherever you'd like to add a pop of color to your décor. Finished Size: 13" x 54"


TIP: If you like, use the leftover backing fabric for the quilt facing, cutting the facing strips on the lengthwise grain.


Number your fat quarters 1-5, ranging from the lightest to darkest, or from the middle of the runner to its ends. Cut the pieces with their long edges parallel to the 21" sides of the fat quarter. From Fabric 1, cut: 1 rectangle, 6 1/2" x 14" 2 strips, 2" x 21" From each of Fabrics 2-4, cut: 2 rectangles, 3 1/2" x 14" (6 total) 4 strips, 2" x 21" (12 total) From Fabric 5, cut: 2 rectangles, 3 1/2" x 14" 2 strips, 2" x 21" From the backing fabric, cut: 2 rectangles, 16" x 36" From the facing fabric, cut: 4 strips, 2" x width of fabric

Assembling the Runner

Seam allowance is 1/4".
  1. Sew a 2" strip of Fabric 2 to each 2" strip of Fabric 1. Press the seam allowances toward the darker fabric. Crosscut these two strip sets into 18 segments, 2" wide.
  1. Divide the segments into two groups of nine. Arrange each group as shown, with alternating colors, and sew the segments together to make two blocks, 6 1/2" x 14". Pay attention to the placement of the darker squares in the first row so that the blocks will fit into the layout correctly.
TIP: Use chain piecing to speed the block assembly.
  1. Sew a 2" strip of Fabric 3 to each remaining 2" strip of Fabric 2. Press, cut, and assemble two blocks as before.
  2. Repeat step 3 to make two blocks from Fabrics 4 and 3 and two blocks from Fabrics 5 and 4.
  3. Arrange the pieced blocks and the larger fabric rectangles as shown, with the lightest color at the center. Sew the pieces together to make the table runner.

Quilting the Runner

  1. Layer the backing, batting, and runner top. Baste the layers together.
  2. Mount the runner on THE Dream Fabric Frame
    and quilt the layers together, using zone quilting to stitch the entire area. THE Dream Motion™ PRO
    software makes quilting even easier; you can design the entire quilt within the program and quilt your runner with precision.
TIP: Use header and footer cloths to make the edges of the runner accessible for quilting on THE Dream Fabric Frame.
  1. Trim the backing and batting even with the runner edges.

Using THE Dream Motion™ PRO Software

  1. Open the Pantograph section of THE Dream Motion™ PRO. Click the Select Pattern icon and the Block icon. Scroll down and choose the "fill 5.gpf" design; click Open.
  1. I'm using EZ mode for this project; be sure that's selected at the bottom of the design area (see red box below.) I chose to quilt my runner vertically so that I could double-check the position of each row of two motifs against the piecing. (Now that I've used the program more, I know that I can trust it to keep the quilting accurate!) Set the following values: Pattern width: 6.5 Total width: 13 (Note: enter the total and the program will adjust the pattern width to 6.5, even if it was rounded to a whole number when you entered it.) Row height: 6 Pattern height: 6 Total height: 54 The values for Patterns (2) and Rows (9) should appear automatically.
  1. In the Even Rows area, click once on the icon to flip the design side to side. The second circle on the icon will be highlighted. You can play with other arrangements by clicking the icon again; on the fourth click the arrangement cycles back to the original orientation.
  1. If you prefer to quilt your runner in just two long rows, follow the settings as shown in this screenshot. Notice that both the odd and even rows have been flipped with three clicks each to achieve the same arrangement as in the sample project.
  1. By arranging the quilting motifs differently, you can develop interesting secondary patterns. Feel free to experiment; you can always start over! You can also save the arrangements under different names to come back to any of your experiments later.
  1. Click on Quilt As Rows. When the quilting interface opens, be sure the Lock Width and Lock Height boxes are both checked to be sure the dimensions of your quilting design remain the same (6" x 13"). On your fabric, move the sewing machine and choose points A and B, selecting them on the screen, to position the first row and stitch. When the row is complete, follow the on-screen instructions to mark placements for the next zone. Re-position the fabric in the frame, place the next zone, and continue all the way to the end of your runner.

Facing the Edge Rather than Binding

To preserve the ombre effect all the way to the runner edges, use a facing rather than a traditional binding. (Although if you prefer binding, you can simply join the 2"-wide strips and bind the raw edges as you usually do.)
  1. Remove the selvages from the 2"-wide binding strips and join them to make a continuous length. Press the strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.
TIP: Use diagonal seams for the joins to reduce bulk in the finished facing or binding.
  1. Lay the prepared strip on the right side of the table runner, matching the raw edges. Sew the strip to the runner. At each corner, clip the seam allowance of the facing strip to, but not through, the stitching line; do not miter the corners as you would for a bound edge.
  1. When you return to the starting point of the facing, stop and trim the facing strip to the exact length required, allowing an overlap for joining the ends. Sew the facing ends together. Trim the seam allowances at the corners diagonally to reduce bulk.
  1. Press the seam allowances and the facing to the backing side of the runner. Do not wrap the raw edges with the fabric as you would with a binding; instead, fold the facing to the wrong side along the seam. As you come to each corner, form a triangular pleat to miter the facing so that it fits smoothly against the backing.
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  1. Slip stitch the free edge of the facing to the backing fabric, taking care not to stitch through to the right side.
TIP: Rules are made to be broken, so it's okay to stitch the free edge of the facing by machine if you like. This makes the stitches visible on the right side of the runner, where they become part of the quilting.
FInished Ombre Table Runner Enjoy your new table runner!! Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save