spotty table runner

I have my preferences…I like linen, I like red and teal together, I like a touch of modern embroidery, and I like spots.  I’m sticking to it.  it’s working for me.  that is why I am not feeling shy about proudly displaying our new table runner.  I love it.  this is a little embarrassing but I sometimes walk by the dining room and just smile at it…as if it were a very well-behaved and cute child.  I am indeed in love. did I mention that?

as soon as I saw the pillow case in this book by the amazing ellen luckett baker I knew that I wanted to use the reverse applique technique for a table runner.  I love the way the right runner makes a table look pretty and inviting.

but that is enough gushing.  time to get down to brass tacks.

to make this I cut a strip of linen 17″ wide and just long enough that about three inches hang over both ends of the table.  then I cut circles out of card stock in two different sizes and used them to decide where I wanted to place the circles.  once I had the paper circles in locations that I liked, I traced around them onto the linen with a marking tool.  next I prepared the patterned fabric by cutting circles out of them using a fabric circle cutter being sure to cut my fabric circles 1.5″ larger than their respective paper circles.

with careful placement and using fusible hemming tape I ironed the fabric circles onto the wrong side of the linen (translation: it took me forever to get the circles secured in the right position).  because I had already drawn with a marking tool around the card stock I was able to machine sew along the lines I had drawn to complete the circles and really secure them in place.  of course, at this point, all I had was a strip of linen with sewn circles on it, I couldn’t see the patterned fabric.  so, using my sharp little ‘could never live without you’ scissors I cut the linen inside of my sewn circles without cutting the patterned fabric.  and voila, the patterned fabric pops out! next, I simply used embroidery floss to make even little stitches around every circle.  once that was done all I had to do was sew a muslin fabric on the back.

the patterned fabric I used was almost entirely vintage…some from vintage sheets (the dark navy and the blue and gold flowers).  but, the most special fabric in this runner is just peeking out of the corner in the picture above.  it came to me as a gift from my lovely aunt who appreciates both beautiful things as well as the way that things hold onto history and memory.  the fabric is actual flour sack fabric from the flour mill owned by her husband’s family, my awesome uncle.  starting in the great depression all the way to the 50s flour would come in printed fabric that was then reused to make everything from clothes and wash towels.  flour mills apparently printed lots of different patterns to encourage people to buy lots of flour.  to have the real thing and with a family connection is a real treat! I was so touched to receive it (really, I am just lucky my aunt doesn’t have any girls!).

I’ve been holding onto this fabric for a long time, afraid to chop it up but this seemed like the right project for it.  it was a flour mill in rural Minnesota so it’s got a bit of me in it.  seemed a good thing to have at my table, right? right.

and, by now it has hosted many of our meals but the first one was this tomato salad (chopped up with basil, garlic and olive oil) from our abundant garden.

6 Comments on spotty table runner

  1. kristen powell
    September 11, 2012 at 8:53 am (5 years ago)

    love it!! and love your SO special flower fabric from your roots!! i wish flour was still packaged in fabric! sometimes, i think i am living in the wrong era.

    • ahappystitch
      September 11, 2012 at 10:44 am (5 years ago)

      Oh! So true! I would do so much more baking if flour came in fabric.

  2. amanda (simplemittens)
    September 18, 2012 at 11:44 am (5 years ago)

    this is darling! I might need to add it to my Christmas giftables list 😉

    • ahappystitch
      September 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm (5 years ago)

      Thank you! I’m a dedicated lover of reverse appliqué now.

  3. Maritza
    April 15, 2015 at 8:02 pm (3 years ago)

    Any chance you remember where to get the fabric with the yellow flower in the middle, tulips and blue branches. I am in love and need it for a project. Thanks 🙂

    • Melissa Q.
      April 17, 2015 at 8:16 am (3 years ago)

      Oh, I hate to tell you this but that fabric is flour sack fabric from my Uncle’s family flour mill! I think that I have most of what exists! But, I have seen similar fabric in flour sack reproduction fabric, you could try googling that! Good luck!


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