Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Plus" Table Runner tutorial

I love modern designs for quilting and in particular the "Plus” pattern. There are very few seams to match so it is a great project for a beginner and is a very effective pattern that can be adapted to any size. So far, I have made a mini quilt and a larger quilt using this design but wanted to make a table runner for the Tangerine Tango challenge so thought I'd take photos as I went and try to write it up as a tutorial - so here goes..........
 I have seen quite a few Plus quilts made up using squares but I prefer to use squares and rectangles. This pattern uses 2.5 inch wide strips, so jelly rolls are suitable also. These are then cut in lengths of 2.5, 4.5 or 6.5 inches to make up the plus shapes. You can also use scraps as the longest piece needed is 11.5 x 2.5 (to make a "full" plus).
Note: All seams are ¼ inch seam.
So ,for a runner approximately 14.5 x 29 inches long - you will need 12 full plus pieces , 5 partial plus pieces (vertical), 2 partial plus pieces (horizontal) and 10 single squares.

1. For the 12 "full" plus pieces: cut an 11.5 x 2.5 strip of fabric then subcut into one 6.5 x 2.5 inch and two 2.5 x 2.5 squares.

2. For the 5 partial (vertical) plus pieces: cut a 9.5 x 2.5 strip then subcut into one 4.5 x 2.5 and two 2.5 x 2.5 squares.
3. For the 2 partial (horizontal) plus pieces: cut a 9 x 2.5 inch strip then subcut into one 6.5 x 2.5 and one 2.5 x 2.5 square
4. For the 10 single pieces: 2.5 x 2.5 squares (many of these can be cut from the same fabric or you can just use scraps)
5. Once all of the fabrics are cut, lay them out in the Plus design. 
6. You can also begin laying them out as a dot-dot-dash-dot-dot-dash across the rows but once the pattern is started it is much easier to see where the next pieces are to go, and then just fill in the gaps. Rearrange the pieces/colours until you find a pleasing arrangement .
7. Pin and sew the rows together – I find it quicker to do chain piecing as there are many small seams.
8. Once the 14 rows are sewn together, press the seams to the side in alternating rows right and left – this helps to get a nice flat finish at the end. I use a pin on one side to help me remember which way to press the seams.
9. When they are all pressed, sew the rows together keeping them in order and matching the seams as you pin and sew.
10. Press the seams to one side and trim up the edges of the runner to make sure the sides are even.
11. Cut a piece of wadding/batting to the same size or slightly larger than your runner. Lay your backing fabric right side facing down and smooth it over so it is nice and flat, and tape down the edges to hold it in place. Then lay the batting on top of this, smoothing it out also. Lastly, the runner is placed over the batting with the right side of the runner facing up. This forms the “sandwich” as the batting is sandwiched between the backing and the top.
12. You can then baste the runner – I use pins as it is only a small area but you can also use a spray to baste the three layers together.
13. Then, using a walking foot, quilt the runner in the manner of your choice. You could free motion quilt the entire runner but I outlined the design by quilting just on the inside of each Plus:
You may also just wish to do straight line quilting along each row approximately an 1/8 or a 1/4 of an inch either side of the seams like I did with the DSQ runner below:
14. Once it is quilted, you can trim the edges and bind the runner.  I prefer to machine stitch the binding on also as it is more durable, especially for items that are washed frequently such as runners and place mats. 
Then step back and admire your lovely table runner. You can also make your runner longer or wider for different table sizes by cutting larger pieces originally or by cutting more pieces and adding them to the layout - you just need to keep the length of the pieces in a 1:2:3 ratio adding an extra 1/4 inch to each side for seam allowances .
If you make a runner or something similar using this tutorial, I would love to see your projects so please leave me a link to your blog or flickr. Also if you have any questions please ask - thanks! 
Linking to Sew Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations ,to Fabric Tuesday at Quiltstory  ( buttons in sidebar) and to Tutorial Tuesday at  Lawson and Lottis

Lawson and Lotti



  1. I love the plus design and like how you used rectangles as well as squares. I quilted my baby quilt just the same way as you did and like the effect. Great runner. Great tutorial!

  2. How fab! Love those wee ellies in the corner...

  3. Oh my Kristin, wonderful tutorial! Very clear instructions, and loved how you grey'd out sections of your photos..effective :)

  4. Very nice. Good job on the tutorial - and a table runner is a great place to try out the plus design. Love your tango!

  5. Thanks for the great tut...Have bookmarked let you know when its done LOL

  6. Beautiful Kirsten! I've bookmarked it too, I'll definitely be making one for a gift :)

  7. Great tutorial. I had not even noticed the rectangles at first glance. Your fabric combination in the tango really stand out well in this pattern.

  8. brilliant tutorial, another to be added to my To Do List I have a Sew Cherry jelly roll that this pattern would be great for.

  9. Cute table runner! I love the colors. Thanks for the tutorial.

  10. That is a lovely runner! Great tutorial, thanks!

  11. Love that someone was brave enough to break out of the box and do a tute with rectangles and squares! Thanks for such an awesome take on a traditional block...yours are gorgeous!

  12. Kirsten thanks for this! I actually was going to cut into some fabric to make a PLUS mini quilt. I love the colors and the way your tablerunner came out.

  13. This is a great tutorial. I am going to have to give this a try!

  14. Wonderful tutorial - so generous of you to give this to the world. :)

  15. great tutorial, can't wait to give it a try!

  16. Oooh love this, so pretty and very clearly explained. Thanks for linking up

  17. Lovely tutorial. I am trying to get my head around making one of these. This tutorial will be very helpful.