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Topic: Making 15 table runners for an event - tips needed!  (Read 1810 times)
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« on: July 16, 2014 09:50:24 AM »

Hi! I'm helping a friend make 15 fabric table runners for her event. It is likely that they will only be used the one time. What are your tips for making these as simply (and cheaply) as possible? We already have purchased the fabric.

The dimensions are approx 9 feet by 18 inches. How do you recommend getting the lines as straight as possible? I have a rotary cutter and a decent size mat.

Would you press and hem the edges with actual thread on a machine, or do you think it would be faster to cut fusible web into teeny strips and then iron the edges? (I know that fusible tape exists, but I think that would be cost prohibitive.)

I'm definitely a novice at sewing and fabric crafts, so I welcome all suggestions!!!
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2014 02:04:07 PM »

A)  If you sew a lot or at least sew well, it might be fastest to hem them on a sewing machine.  Personally, I would fold and stitch as I go, without pressing in advance, but if you don't have a lot of sewing experience, that might actually take longer.

B)  consider glue.  Press the hems in place, then run a scant line of glue.  THIS WORKS ON HEAVIER FABRICS, WILL BLEED THROUGH ON THIN FABRICS.  TEST FIRST

C)  Price out the iron-on tape; it would save a ton of time over cutting strips (15 x 21 feet makes for a lot of cutting, then you have to manage all those tangled bits...)

D)  Fastest/easiest/cheapest:  leave the edges raw, don't hem at all.  If the fabric isn't prone to fraying, it will look fine for a single use.  test it out.

E)  Slightly nicer: press the hem in, but don't stitch or glue or fuse.  This would work best with thin cottons that crease well.

F)  Rustic option: zig-zag stitch the raw edges.  This will prevent fraying, but has a very casual effect.  VERY casual!

I would probably test in this order:  D, E, B, C, A.  I don't really like zig zag, so wouldn't do F

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." - Scott Adams
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2014 03:54:14 PM »

Another option might be to deliberately fray the edges.

As far as cutting is concerned, if you can get the longest straight edge you can find (I use a 1.5 metre spirit level), things will go easier, also a long, STURDY table. Could you borrow a school hall or a village hall for an evening? They've usually got something that would work. Even if you have to move the straight edge and the cutting mat, being able to keep the fabric flat & straight will help. Of course, if it's not your table, you will have to be extra careful.

Any decoration could be stencilled or glued on. Double sided sticky tape if you have to. Spray glue is lovely and quick and can manage flimsy fabric. If you need to cut out shapes, perhaps a die cutter or something like a silhouette cutter might make things quicker.

I'd suggest making one of them much more sturdy than the rest, perhaps the happy couple might like to keep one to use in their home. It would probably need shortening, but otherwise should be ok.

Look twice, buy once. Nooooo
Look twice, decide I can make one instead.
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2014 04:14:04 PM »

steiconi thank you! Folding and stitching as I go could work well. My concern with straight stitching is that I would get waves and it wouldn't lay flat. Do you think that is a concern?

You're right - the iron-on tape isn't as expensive as I expected; about $3 for 15 yards. So, I could do about two table runners per roll. I will get one to try it out.

Antidigger deliberately fraying is an interesting idea. Maybe we will try an edge and see how it looks. I've done large projects before and I use my large granite kitchen island -- seems to work well enough. We're not adhering anything decorative to the fabric; it's just a runner there as part of the decor. My concern is just with how to finish the edges and have it lay flat. It's not for a wedding; just an event. :-)

« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2014 01:43:41 PM »

If the fabric is stretchy--a knit or loosely woven fabric (like burlap)--you might get waves.  Tightly woven fabric, probably not.  Use the longest stitch length (that speeds up the process, too).  And, of course, test first!

My concern with straight stitching is that I would get waves and it wouldn't lay flat. Do you think that is a concern?

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." - Scott Adams
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2014 01:51:42 PM »

I thought I'd share what we ended up doing, because it worked perfectly. We cut all the runners out and then we simply spray starched the long edges, folded them over and ironed them! No sewing involved! Then for the short edges, I hemmed them into a simple V shape to give them a finished look. It was gorgeous!



FYI the centerpieces were painted ceramic pots with styrofoam balls covered in cupcakes. That had its own issues but looked pretty.
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2014 03:26:07 PM »

Ooh, thank you for the update & pictures.

It looks lovely, what a great job you did Smiley

Look twice, buy once. Nooooo
Look twice, decide I can make one instead.
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2014 09:10:11 PM »

Thank you! Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of the edges of the tables with the v-shape hem!
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