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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Holiday Table Runner Tutorial

Hey y'all!  When Heather and Megan at Quilt Story asked me to participate in their holiday tutorial series, I was thrilled.  I'm excited to share a tutorial for a table runner using my purse strings quilt blocks.  It posted yesterday on Quilt Story, but I wanted to share it with you here today in case you missed it!

Fresh Poppy Design

If you're anything like me, you're in mad Christmas gift-making mode right about now.  It's only a little over six weeks away, you know...scary!  Anyway, if you're in need of a quick gift, or a fast way to dress up a table for a holiday dinner party, keep reading!

The table runner will be made with four blocks, and will measure 15 inches wide by 60 inches in length.  So, it's nice and long!

For each block, you'll need three contrasting fabrics, plus a solid:

*center fabric- one 5.5 inch square- this would be a great place for a fussy cut!
*purse flaps (blocks that surround the center)- four 5.5 inch squares
*purse strings (corner blocks)- four 5.5 inch squares
*16 solid squares- 3.5 inches

To make the purse flaps that surround the center square, take one 5.5 inch square and line up a solid square.  You'll be sewing corner to corner.  To keep your stitch line straight, many people recommend drawing a diagonal line across the back of your square as a guide.  I really hate this step, so as a little trick, I use a piece of painter's tape aligned with my needle on my machine and table.

By the way, if you have a fabric with a radiating pattern, this is a great place to use it.  Just be sure to sew your solid squares to the top.  Sew corner to corner and trim off the excess like this-

Give it a press, and sew another square to the adjoining side.

Trim the other side as well, and give it a quick press.  You'll need four of these for each block.  Don't worry about the fact that your point does not go all the way to the edge of the block like a flying geese block.  That's by design.  When the blocks are put together, this will create some awesome negative space!

To make the purse strings that are on the corners of the blocks, just use the same corner to corner sewing method, but instead of sewing to two adjoining sides, sew the solids to the opposite corners.  This block is commonly called the Road to Tennessee block.

Then just trim and press!

After you've made four of these, it's time to put the block together!  Just sew the units together just like a nine patch!

This is a 15 inch block, and I've sewn four of them end to end for my 60 inch table runner.  If you would rather a shorter one, just make three blocks instead!  (by the way, table runners are hard to photograph with their long, skinny shape)

You could also make a 30 inch table topper with your four blocks by putting them together like this.  See what I mean about that negative space?  I love the "kissing squares" shape created when the blocks are put together!

Then just baste, quilt and bind using your favorite method!  To see a whole quilt made with this block, check out Grapefruit Fizz

Feel free to play around with the block size and make it your own.  If you would rather make your blocks smaller than 15 inches, here's a little chart to help you modify the block size-

I hope you've enjoyed the tutorial, and wish you a wonderful holiday season!  Be sure to check out Quilt Story in the next couple of weeks for the rest of the Holiday Tutorial Series lineup!

Wednesday 11/20 Jennie & Clara from Clover and Violet
Wednesday 12/4 Bev from Flamingo Toes
Wednesday 12/11 Christa from Christa Quilts
Friday 12/13 Erin from Why Not Sew?


  1. What a good idea using your purse strings quilt blocks for an holiday table runner ! Yours is lovely and your tutorial so clear, as usual. Thank you for sharing Kelly !

  2. I'm not sure what you mean where you mention using a fabric with a radiating pattern.

  3. Excellent tutorial Kelly! I like the square version especially.

  4. Thanks for the tutorial. It's very pretty!

  5. Lovely! Thank you for sharing your tutorial. I need to catch up on the other posts I think I missed.

  6. Hi Kelly! Just wanted to say great tutorial and pattern! I'm joining you on the series on 12/9.

    Stacy @

  7. Thanks for the great tutorial

  8. I really like this pattern for a Christmas table runner, and as I was looking through the fabric requirements I wondered why the 'purse string' squares start at 4.5" and not 5.5" like the other ones. (I understand why the solid squares used to make the the purse strings are smaller.)
    In the pattern above it says " *purse strings (corner blocks)- four 4.5 inch squares. " I'm certainly no expert, but I can't quite figure out how this will work when you go to sew the whole block together. Are those pieces really supposed to be cut an inch smaller than the other squares? How will that work in the final layout?

    1. You’re correct! The starting squares are all 5.5”. That is a typo and I can’t believe nobody has caught that in all these years. I’ll get that fixed. Thanks for pointing it out!

      :) Kelly


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