sewing 101: knotted fringe table runner

I have no idea how it can be Thanksgiving already, but apparently it almost is, so it’s time to think about pretty tables (and big, delicious dinners!). Here’s a quick and easy runner project that’s perfect for adding a little handmade flair to your table (or to bring along as a hostess gift). It’s easy to make with just one piece of fabric and some thread or yarn. In this post, we’ll learn how to hem the runner with neat, mitered corners and how to make the macramé-like fringe. The best part is this project can be made in just an afternoon, so if the holidays have crept up on you, too, there’s still time to squeeze in some last-minute crafting! — Brett Bara


Read the full how-to after the jump!


  • 1–2 yards fabric, depending on the size of your table (linen or any fabric with a visible weave is a great choice)
  • heavy thread, yarn or lightweight cord (I used size 10 crochet thread)
  • sewing machine or needle and thread
  • iron
  • foam core
  • pins
  • spray bottle filled with water

1. Cut and hem the fabric.

To begin, you’ll need to cut and hem the fabric for your runner. Determine how long and wide you’d like the finished runner to be, and add 1″ to each of these measurements for seam allowance. Cut a piece of fabric to this size.

Next, you’ll hem the edges of the fabric — here we’ll be using a technique that hems the edges and creates mitered corners at the same time. Note: I’m illustrating these steps using a piece of paper, as it makes things a little easier to see. To hem the runner, fold up 1/2″ along each of the four raw edges of the fabric, ironing the fold as you go. Fold up another 1/2″ on each side, again ironing as you go. You’ll now have two crease lines along all sides of the runner. The corners will look like the photo above, with the sets of lines intersecting. (I’ve outlined the creases in pen to make them easier to see.)

Draw a line across the corner as shown, and cut off the corner piece.

Fold the fabric along the next line as shown.

Fold the edges of the fabric in along the original line you folded and ironed earlier.

Fold the edges in again along the second set of lines you folded and ironed, and voila! The corners are mitered, and all the raw edges of the fabric are hidden.

To complete the hem, sew around all four sides of the runner, stitching just inside the folded edge of the hem. (It’s a good idea to pin the hem all around before sewing it, to avoid shifting while you sew.)

2. Make the fringe.

To make the fringe, cut several pieces of thread that are each 6 feet long. Fold the thread in half and then feed it through the eye of a large needle, folding it in half again. You’ll now have four lengths of thread.

Insert the needle through the fabric, going through the hem area of one short side of the runner.

Pull the thread all the way through so the ends are even, then snip the thread at the end to release the needle. Tie a square knot or double knot to secure the thread at the hem. You’ll now have 8 pieces of thread per knot, with two 4-thread sections coming off each side of each knot. You’ll be working with each 4-thread section separately in the next steps.

To make the knotted lattice pattern, you’ll use pins to create an even lattice. Working in foam core, first pin the edge of the runner to the foam to hold it in place. Next, place a row of pins about 1″ below the edge of the hem, centering one pin between each knot made at the hem. Working from left to right, leave the first section of thread (half of the thread from the first knot) off to the side. Then knot the second section of thread from the first knot to the first section of thread from the second knot, securing them together just below the pin.

Repeat all the way across the row, making each knot so that it rests against each pin.

To make the next row, move the pins down about 1″, shifting them so that they are now directly below the original knots you made at the hem. Now knot this row, beginning with the first section of thread (the one that was left unknotted on the previous row).

Continue this until you’ve made as many rows as you want!

To encourage the lattice to hold its shape, with the last row of pins still in place, spray the thread with water and allow it to dry. This will “block” the thread, or set it in the shape you want.

Trim the ends of the thread to make them relatively even, and you’re done! Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Gorgeous! This makes me feel brave enough to give sewing another try… Xo, Katie

  2. Sarah says:

    I was just thinking of what I’m going to do for a table runner! Are there any guidelines for how long a runner should be relative to the size of the table?

  3. Teresa says:

    Brett has done it again. Not only perfect for yourself but what a classy home made gift for the holidays!

  4. Sandy says:

    Like this. Gonna be my project for this weekend. Thank you. Like ur designs.

  5. i love this… i have a couple of scarves that need something and this idea is perfect!!!

  6. I just got a sewing machine and this looks easy enough for one of my first projects. Can’t wait to try it. Beautiful and simple. Great design.

  7. Love this idea! You can go casual or fancy…

    Great way to use up smaller pieces of fabric.

  8. marisa says:

    perfect. i’m making one. thank you!

  9. Love it! I’m definitely going to try this. Thanks!

  10. winlove says:

    something to do! yey!

  11. kornita says:

    great thing, so beauty

  12. kiki b says:

    This is perfect for my ridiculously long table – I have yet to find a runner long enough. I think I’ll use flax cord, because I’m totally in love with the stuff right now.


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