About two years ago I bought many yards of Robert Kaufman's Essex Linen to see what it was like.
I use a similar cotton & linen blend fabric for most of my stitcheries, something we call Hanky Linen in Australia (though it is more of a tea towel weight than a hanky weight), but there was a bit of buzz about Mr Kaufman's linen and my curiosity got the better of me so off went an online order and within a week a lovely parcel arrived from the USA.
It's lovely, truly, and I did stitch a few designs on it, but it is a closer weave than our Australian hanky linen and not quite as easy to embroider on, especially if like me you have some osteo-arthritis in the fingers.
So Mr Kaufman's linen blend has been sitting patiently in my large box of stitchery background fabric for quite a while waiting for me to find some good honest use for it. Like I said, it's LOVELY!
But just not right for me and what I do for a living.
It occurred to me that the solid weight of the Essex Linen would be perfect for a non-quilted table runner, or even smart tea towels. In fact, it's kinda fancy when you think about it, and totally elegant if you choose the right fabrics for trimming.
One yard of the linen will make four of these table runners.
Shall we start?
Divide the yard of linen into four fat quarters, and let's begin with the first fat quarter.
(If you're using a different fabric I'd cut any size you think you'll need for your table, or of you need specifics try a piece of white fabric 18" x 22")
One end has a selvedge whilst the other three have raw edges. Think of that selvedge as one end of your table runner, and sew a doubled 1/4" hem down both sides of the fabric.
The opposite end of the selvedge side will still have a raw edge.
Cut two co-ordinating strips of fabric 2 1/2" wide and one inch longer than the width of your table runner.
I chose some leftover jelly roll strips from my Tilda scrap box...
Lay one piece right side down along the wrong side of the raw edge end of your table runner. Sew the fabric and linen together with a 1/4" seam.
Press the fabric away from the linen.
Sew your second piece of fabric along the edge of your first and press the seams open.
Press a 1/4" hem along the edge of the second fabric, and down the sides of the two fabrics.
Fold the fabrics over to the right side of your linen and press.
Choose you machine threads carefully. My linen was white so I chose white thread for my bobbin.
My fabrics had a lot of aqua/green so I chose that colour for the top thread.
This meant the back of my table runner would be completely white when I finished it.
Sew a 1/4" line outside the edge of the runner and either side of the seam between the two fabrics.
Cut a piece of cotton lace the same width as your table runner and position it just inside the top edge of the second fabric.
Carefully sew the lace and fabric hem to the linen runner.
Sew a single length of 2 1/2" wide fabric to the other end of the linen table runner, right side of the fabric to the wrong side of the runner (as you did in the beginning).
Fold a hem across the top of the fabric and down the sides. Press and fold over to the right side of the runner. Sew across the top and sides with a 1/4" seam.
Here's how it looks from the back. Nice and white because I used white thread in my bobbin.
I loved how this turned out...
...so I made another straight away!
You could use any fabric to make yourself one (or more) of these very simple and quick table runners, but I do love the clean lines of the white Essex linen in these two so I'm going to make more as Christmas gifts.
I think they'd be wonderful for fetes, Mothers Day, or a craft stall at the local market too, don't you?
I bought my Essex Linen at Fabric.com and it was about $9 a yard.
It comes in loads of colours so I may venture online and get some more in pastels...mmm.
Will I, won't I??? Decisions!
Mr E's Jeep has developed a severe case of 'car troubles' so here were are into the third of his four week holiday break and still no road trip.
Parts are being flown in from Germany, the USA and Melbourne but are yet to reach Mr E.
That's why I'm blogging more than I thought I would be during October. We simply haven't gone away.
Praying they arrive tomorrow, or the next day...and then he'll spend time fixing the Jeep With No Name (first car Mr E's owned that he's not given a name) and if we're very blessed we could find ourselves hitting the highway, or a forgotten track in the Misty Mountains this time next week.
Like I said, we're praying.