01 of 03
Sew a Table Runner with Variable Star Quilt Blocks
Variable Star Table Runner
Use my star table runner pattern to sew a table runner designed with Variable Star quilt blocks surrounded by a narrow inner border and a four-patch outer border.
The Variable Stars can be replaced by any other quilt blocks that finish at 8" square or even four decorative squares of fabric cut to 8-1/2" x 8-1/2". Using squares of fabric would make this table runner pattern a breeze, and I'm sure you can find plenty of printed fabrics to suit any theme... that works with your decor or a specific holiday.
I've shown two different color layouts to illustrate how your choice of quilting fabrics can change the table runner's appearance.
The star table runner finishes at 14" x 38". Increase its size by adding another border or by adding one or more quilt blocks.
How to Make Coordinating Placemats
Sew one star quilt block and then sew a one-inch plain border to two opposite sides. Next, add a patchwork border to the same two sides -- (4) 2-1/2" squares or (8) 1-1/2" squares would work. Each placemat would finish at about 8" x 14" if you use the larger squares or 8" x 12" if you sew with the smaller squares. Alter borders to adjust its size.
Cutting Instructions for the Variable Star Table Runner Pattern
The fabrics listed match the top table runner. Replace my colors with your own choices.
Read through all instructions before you cut fabrics. It's important to measure as you go anytime patchwork borders are used. Otherwise, the borders might not fit correctly when it's time to sew them to the quilt.
- For star tips: (16) 2-7/8" x 2-7/8" squares
- For four patch blocks: (4) 1-1/2" strips cut from selvage to selvage (work with shorter strips if you have difficulty cutting long strips that are accurate along their entire length)
Black with Red, Small Print
- For center pinwheels: (2) 5-3/4" x 5-3/4" squares
- For inner border: (3) 1-1/2" strips cut from selvage to selvage (learn how to rotary cut strips of fabric)
Light Print, with Red and Other Colors
I listed areas separately to make it easier to use more fabrics.
- For star corner half square triangle units: (2) 5-3/4" x 5-3/4" squares
- For pinwheel half square triangle units: (2) 5-3/4" x 5-3/4" squares
- (4) 5-1/4" x 5-1/4" squares for flying geese backgrounds
- For four patch blocks: (4) 1-1/2" strips cut from selvage to selvage (or shorter strips to match the lengths of red strips)
Subdued Tone on Tone or solid
- For star corner half square triangle units: (2) 5-3/4" x 5-3/4" squares
- A panel about 24" x 48" (although you could possibly use a 24" strip cut from selvage to selvage if you plan very basic quilting -- it would leave just a little excess on each short side)
- How to Make Quilt Backing
- Same as backing -- try flannel or a low loft cotton batting
Continue to 2 of 3 below.
- About 125 running inches of continuous binding strips for doublefold binding (four 2" wide strips would work for flannel or very low loft batting)
- How to Make Continuous Binding Strips for Quilts
02 of 03
Sew Patchwork for the Star Table Runner
Sew Half Square Triangle Units for the Center Pinwheels
- Find the 5-3/4" x 5-3/4" squares cut for pinwheels -- two black print and two light print.
- Use the Magic 8 Half Square Triangle Unit Method to sew each contrasting square to the other.
- When cut apart you will have 16 half square triangle units that measure 2-1/2" x 2-1/2".
Use any other half square triangle unit method to create 16 units of the same size.
Sew Half Square Triangle Units for Corners of Star Quilt Blocks
- Use the... Magic 8 method again to pair each remaining 5-3/4" light print with the subdued tone on tone or solid fabric squares of the same size.
- When complete, you should have 16 half square triangle units that measure 2-1/2" square.
Sew No Waste Flying Geese for Star Tips
- Gather four red 2-7/8" squares and one 5-1/4" light square.
- Use the no waste flying geese method to sew the red squares to the light square.
- When complete you should have four flying geese that measure 2-1/2" x 4-1/2".
- Repeat with remaining squares to make a total of 16 flying geese.
Use any other flying geese method to create the units. If you prefer, each flying geese unit could be replaced with two half square triangle units that measure 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" when complete. Sew two together to look like a flying geese unit.
Assemble the Star Quilt Blocks
Pressing to set seams (before pressing allowances to one side) is an excellent way to improve accuracy.
Continue to 3 of 3 below.
- Arrange one flying geese unit and two light/tone on tone half square triangle units to form a row, Figure 1.
- Sew the pieces of the row together and carefully press seam allowances towards the flying geese unit.
- Make a total of eight identical rows that measure 2-1/2" x 8-1/2".
- Arrange four black/light half square triangle units into two rows to form a pinwheel, Figure 2.
- Sew the patchwork in each row together. Press seam allowances in rows in opposite directions and join the rows. Press. The pinwheel should measure 4-1/2" x 4-1/2".
- Make three more pinwheels.
- Arrange four narrow rows and a center pinwheel to form three rows, Figure 3.
- Sew a narrow row to each side of the pinwheel and press seam allowances towards the narrow rows.
- Join the quilt block's three rows, using straight pins to help keep fabrics from shifting.
- Press. The quilt block should measure 8-1/2" x 8-1/2".
- Make three more star quilt blocks.
03 of 03
Make Borders and Finish Sewing the Star Table Runner
Assemble the Variable Star Table Runner
After you have sewn the four star blocks together the table runner should measure 8-1/2" x 32". If it does not the outer patchwork border might not fit correctly.
- Sew the four stars together in a horizontal row. Press seam allowances any direction.
- Ideally, a 1-1/2" x 32-1/2" border should match the top of the row and another border strip of the same size should fit the bottom. Read my straight border instructions if you are not sure how to... measure and sew borders.
- If your row of blocks is slightly different you should still be able to ease in any differences to make the top and bottom borders fit (sewing instructions are in the link above).
- Add the two borders and press seam allowances towards the borders.
- Sew a 1-1/2" x 10-1/2" inner border strip to each short side of the row.
- Sew a 1-1/2" x selvage width red strip lengthwise to a light strip of the same size. Press to set the seam and then press the allowance towards the darker strip. Read my strip piecing tips for quilters if you aren't familiar with the method.
- Square up one end of the strip set. Cut as many 1-1/2" segments as possible.
- Lower left illustration. Repeat with remaining 1-1/2" wide strips. Cut a total of (96) 1-1/2" segments.
- Sew two segments into two rows as shown to create a four patch unit. Press seam allowances either direction or fan out the allowances to reduce bulk.
- Make 48 four patch units.
- Sew 17 four patch units into a row as shown. Press. Repeat to make another row of 17 units.
- Sew one row of four patches to the top of the table runner and the other to the bottom, using the same matching techniques explained in my borders tutorial. Refer to the image on Page 1 for placement.
- Make two more borders, each with seven four patches. Sew a short border to the two remaining sides of the table runner. Press.
- Mark for quilting if necessary. Sandwich the table runner with batting and backing.
- Baste (three choices are long hand stitches, safety pins or adhesive products).
- Quilt the table runner. Remove excess batting and backing, squaring up edges very carefully if necessary.
- Sew mitered doublefold binding around the edges of the table runner or use another method, such as knife edges, to finish the project.