Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio, tierneycreates

Can We Talk About Table Runners?

I might ramble a bit in this post, bear with me. I am trying to figure out standard lengths for table runners. I know, I know, this is a shocking and controversial topic to take on in a blog post. If you can stay awake while reading this post, I will try not to bring up too many sensitive issues about table runners, ha!

Table Runners Running Around in My Mind

Why am I thinking about table runner lengths – have I simply run out of things to think about?

Let’s back up a moment…

Recently I sold the last of my tierneycreates table runners from when I had my tierneycreates Etsy shop, to a work colleague. She remembered the table runners I had offered in my shop and wanted one. I explained I only had one left and I had laundered it as I had used it on my table. She still wanted it.

So we worked out a deal, I mailed it to her, and here is a photo of it on her table:


The photo made me smile. I love the idea of something I made being useful in someone else’s home and making them smile. This is aligned with the tierneycreates tagline of “a fusion of textiles and smiles”.

Here is the original style of table runner (quilted) I made for my Etsy shop that I could not keep in stock:

Here is one in green ombre that is not quilted that sold out in my shop also:


The one in the photo above is does not look very exciting, so you will have to just trust me that it looks better in person (and the women who bought it gave it a 5-star review on Etsy).

So this leads us back to why I am thinking about table runners lengths – because I am thinking about making up a new batch of quilted table runners (and maybe selling them on Etsy); and I am not sure what length to make them!

Do I just make up a couple in different standard lengths?!?!?

What Length, Oh What Length?

I did a lot of “googling” to try and find a guide to standard table runner lengths. I found several pages which listed info on standard table runner sizes.

Then I came across this webpage – Table Runner Dimensions

What I liked about this webpage was this statement:

“A table runner should be long enough to overhang the end of your table by approximately 6 to 10 inches on each end.”

Why did this statement appeal to me? Because it means there is no way to anticipate all the different table sizes potential customers will have and that I just need to decide one standard length I will offer as well as offer a custom table size option. I am going to aim around 42″ as my standard length.

Table Runner-ing

I have spent the last couple of days working on creating the strata for my scrappy table runners from a bag of Kaffe Fassett-type of fabric scraps from my collection of Challenge Bags (see post Basket of Challenges ):


I welcome your thoughts on this oh so controversial topic – table runner lengths>

If you were going to make up table runners for unknown tables, what length would you make? 


One of my miniature schnauzers, Mike, was trying to take a nap with the book I was reading and I thought it was a very sweet photo:



25 thoughts on “Can We Talk About Table Runners?”

  1. And now to make this an even bigger controversy: what width????? I personally don’t like my wine glass or coffee mug to teeter on the binding so I like skinny runners. And I like short ones because I don’t want it to overhang the end. (What a rebel!). Besides, what does one do if one adds a table leaf? Good for sales…sell them as sets! So do mine qualify as table toppers not runners? And next topic for debate: how thin? Thinner than a quilt? Just flannel “batting”? Oh, we’ll never solve World Peace at this rate but it will be a more beautiful world in the mean time!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Awesome! I so appreciate your comments – gave me a huge smile!
      I already have a standard width I am using – about 16 – 20 inches (half the width of a 44″ wide fabric minus the trimmed selveges and any other trimming needed to even it up. I looked at a forum on Etsy and some people commented that most table runners are too short! I guess some people want overhang or have mega tables. But I like what you say about not wanting it to hang over the edge.
      Then you brought up thinnest – I did some without batting at all in the past and it would be easier without batting and quilting but then many liked that. Thanks again!


  2. Tierney and Christine, you have sent shock waves through the quilting world with your controversial questions about table runner length, width and thickness! In my oh so non-humble opinion, I think 42-50 inches is the perfect length because it will work on MY table or MY buffet. If table runners are too long, you could take all the dishes with you when you stand up to make a toast because the table runner got caught on your chair or something. Width should be 12-14 inches because of the teeter issue AND thin is best because of the teeter issue again. Runner or toppers as names will work but maybe we should invent a new name? Notice how I did not actually commit to any question you asked?! I have commitment issues regarding this topic and I clearly need to take a stand! I have much to ponder today……

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I needed a smile this morning after just reading about the terrible news in Las Vegas.
      Thanks for your comments and it is important that it work for YOUR table 😉
      I am still chuckling as I write this as I imagine guests having to take their plates with them when they stand up for fear of being entangled in the table runner – ha!


    2. Now that I’m back from a grand Canadian vacation and sitting in our dining room/family room, I see I have two table runners draped over the back of chairs. What else does one do with all these fun creations besides selling and gifting? It’s funny: I love making table runners, toppers, new name now: serving strips, chair backers, trivets, mugrugs. But I draw the line at placemats. How many in a set? All match? Not going there!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d guess most people’s tables are designed to seat only 2 people per side, at most. They might or might not seat people on the ends. If someone wants to seat more, they get a table that can open with leaves. For comfort you need at least 24″ per person if no one is sitting at the end, so assume your basic table is at least 48″ long, maybe as much as 60″. I don’t want my runners over the edge, either.

    Based on that scientific analysis, I would make sizes for a shorter (48″) table and a longer (60″) table. If you did 3 sizes, they might be 36″, 40″, and 50-some”.

    Thin is best. Washable is best. You don’t want people never washing their table runners, as if they’re napkins or something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah Melanie I got a chuckle reading your comment and thinking of people with gross table runners they never washed as I made it too complicated! I might make a couple with batting/quilted and then a couple with no batting (thin). I so appreciate your thoughts and scientific analysis!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. With all the controversial questions in the world today, I welcome the type of question you posted for us to ponder.
    I have made table runners for coffee tables only, usually 15″W x 36″L.
    People I know really don’t have dining room sets that have large tables.
    In fact, many do not even have a dining room. They have counters and small tables.
    My mom always had one on her dining table and her buffet.
    Do people still have buffets?
    So, any table runners I make would be in the smaller range of the standard sizes for table runners. I also, prefer for the runner not to hang over.
    I read the link on Challenge Bags and I love the idea.
    That is on my list of Things to Do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Chela – loved your comments and I bet a few people still have buffets (there might be a secret Buffet Society we do not know about). Challenge bags are fun! 🙂


  5. Oh, my, such weighty issues! But a welcome diversion from today’s news from Las Vegas. I have a table larger than I usually have people, but a nice seasonal table runner really looks nice. I think a variety of sizes would be necessary to fit all the different size tables our there. Love your colorful designs!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tierney, Tierney, Tierney! This is quite the discussion to have here. Soooo deep. It’s one I’ve never even thought of having. 🙂 But it is very appropriate when one is contemplating mass production. I love the quote you shared from the tutorial. It makes perfect sense and it does ultimately mean you still have to make your own decision. I totally agree with the length you settled on. WOF is perfect. How cool that the lady remembered the table topper and still wanted it. Obviously she wasn’t going to take no for an answer. I think it’s really cool. I’m also very fond of the white one. In fact I would have taken any of them. The fabrics you have pulled look like they will make an awesome table topper. Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. IF I were going to do this, I would offer 3, 4, or 5 foot lengths, but all 1 foot wide. Based on years of experience, since I regularly make table runners to try out ideas. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I personally wouldn’t have any idea how long a table runner should be! As you point out, there is no standard table size so I do think that just picking a length you are comfortable with and doing them all that length is the way to go.

    I LOVE Mike’s picture with the book. Did you know that dogs actually read? We get books returned with bite marks in them. Of course many of them read dog books and I kid you not several dogs are attracted to vampire books–perhaps that’s why they try out their bites. The sometimes also read other books such as children’s books and DIY type books. This is a popular topic in libraries–what the dogs are reading! Perhaps Mike wants to try out quilting or at least try picking out amazing quilts!

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