Elvira Kalviste

Here’s the thing about planning a wedding—even when you vow not to sweat the small stuff, you do. Maybe you don’t end up giving a damn about the cake or the first dance, but there will be something objectively trivial that will keep you up at night. For me, that thing was the table runners. 

None of the 32 options our party rental company had available were doing it for me—some were too gauzy, others too shiny, and still others not my style whatsoever. In a surge of desperation (and encouragement from our chief content officer, Kate Berry), I committed to DIYing ones I would be 100 percent in love with, despite the fact I’d never touched a sewing machine in my life. I hadn’t completely lost it—this project actually required zero needle and thread, as you will soon see. 

Elvira Kalviste

Spoonflower, which very kindly agreed to gift me some of its customizable fabric, became my new Instagram. I scrolled and scrolled until I’d narrowed down my favorites: Indigo Floral Dark by Michele Noris, Shibori by Avotina Anna, and Shibori Zigzag by Variable Micha. In the end, I couldn’t choose. Why have one pattern when I could have three and alternate them on the tables?

Elvira Kalviste
Elvira Kalviste

Some quick measurements revealed a happy surprise: One bolt of Spoonflower’s Belgian linen fabric was the exact width of two runners. So for 12 eight-foot farm tables (and one sweetheart table), I’d only need 33 yards versus 66—and I wouldn’t have to do a ton of cutting. Here’s how they came together.

The Supplies

A note on fabric yardage: To figure out how much you’ll need for your project, measure the length of your table, then add a foot on for overhang. Remember, a 54-inch-wide yard is the width of two table runners, so take that into account when doing the math.

Step 1: Clear a Workspace

Lindsey Mather

We’re dealing with a lot of fabric here, so you’ll need a pretty large workspace. Since I live in a small New York City apartment, the biggest open area I had was the floor. A sizable dining table—as in, it seats more than four people—would probably also work (and be easier on your back). 

Step 2: Mark the Middle

Lindsey Mather

Each Spoonflower fabric comes as one big bolt. Grab one and lay it on its side. Push the roll away from you so you’re unfurling the longest amount of fabric you have room for, pattern-side up. The short, beginning edge of the yardage will be facing you. Take your measuring tape and figure out the exact center of the yard width-wise along that edge; mark it with the pencil (shown here). Do the same at the far end of the fabric, where the flat textile meets the rolled bolt. Then grab your masking tape and stick one long line of tape between the two markings, creating a (relatively) straight line for you to follow with your rotary cutter.

Step 3: Cut, Then Cut Some More

Lindsey Mather

Fun fact: I do not own a ruler. By the time I realized I’d need one, I was in the groove and could not be bothered to run to the store. Instead, I used Domino’s Summer issue as my guide. I was likely making my life much more difficult, but it worked, so it’s a feasible option if you, too, are ruler-less. 

Place your cutting mat under the fabric where the tape line begins. Take your ruler or magazine and line it up along the edge of the masking tape line. Place your rotary cutter flush against the ruler and push it down and away from you, cutting the fabric lengthwise along the tape line. (Think of it like a pizza cutter!) 

When you hit the end of the cutting mat, push it further up and adjust the ruler as well. Keep cutting. Stop when you hit the end of the masking tape. Gently remove the tape and fold the cut pieces toward the bolt to give you some room. Then, as you did at the start, push the bolt away to unfurl more fabric to work with. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have no more fabric to cut.

Step 4: Trim the Selvage

Lindsey Mather

Once you’ve done an entire bolt, you will have two extremely long runners framed in white selvage. Time to trim it off! Since you have a natural guide (where the pattern ends and selvage begins), I found it easier to abandon the rotary cutter/Domino magazine/cutting mat situation and just use a sharp pair of scissors. But of course, you could do this step with those as well. Either way, remove the white border on all sides. You’d think the next step is hemming the edges, but because I was using Belgian linen (which frays beautifully) and going for a perfectly imperfect vibe, I left them raw. Honestly, I don’t think anyone noticed!

Step 5: Measure Out the Runners

Elvira Kalviste

Use your measuring tape to segment out each runner based on your table length plus 2 feet (for overhang). With the same masking tape technique, create a straight line width-wise across the fabric to follow with your scissors or rotary cutter. Repeat all steps for each bolt of fabric. Celebrate by attending your wedding, then throwing many an epic dinner party with these beauties.

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