Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
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Christmas Tartan table runner: Tutorial

Tartans and red, navy and green plaids have long been Christmas season décor, but this season they are back in a fresher look. Elle Décor has a big piece about tartan decorating this month, and Williams-Sonoma has plaid accents this Christmas, including these table linens:

And Martha has a DIY project using an old plaid blanket:

And of course it’s all over the Ralph Lauren collection:

I find plaid and tartan pleated skirts at the Goodwill Outlet all the time. Pleated skirts, especially the long ones, are quite no longer really in style to wear, but hold a lot of good quality fabric. I made a table runner out of a genuine Pendleton Malcolm tartan, 100% wool. Using skirt fabric is waaaaaay cheaper than buying nice wool at $25+ per yard, and it is much better quality than what you can buy at most fabric stores today, anyway. See my instructions below:

1) Unpick stitches on waistband, pleats, hem, and zipper. Then cut the side seams.

2) Iron all the pleats and hem out using a press cloth. I needed steam and the highest heat setting on this nice heavy wool.

3) Using the plaid as a guide, cut the excess strip that was hidden in the pleat below the zipper so you have two perfect rectangles.

4) Match the plaids and sew the long ends together, hem to waistband. Choose the width of your table runner and fold the pieces in half. In my case I trimmed off about 24 inches, which I plan to hem and use as a tree skirt.

5) Sew a seam down the long side of the runner (left in the above picture). Turn right side out. Find the center at the top and bottom sides.

6) Pull the centers of the top and bottom of the ends of the runner apart, tucking in the corners. Pin.

Then fold back together and pin.

7) Pick your trim and sew it on, equidistant from the edge all the way around. I’m using gold ric rac, with a zigzag stitch to attach it, about ½” from the edge.

8) Optional: Add an extra holiday motif—draw it on with chalk and sew your trim over the lines.

(Also optional: Add a tassel or other decoration hanging off the bottom point. I don’t have any tassels but plan to add one on each side!)

Volia! Festive table runner for a total cost of... well, $1.39 per pound for the skirt fabric and a few cents for the vintage ric rac. This will look great with a Christmas centerpiece and red and green napkins! I also love the look of the white background on William-Sonoma’s table linen set, and I have a primarily red plaid wool pleated skirt to cut up, too. Also, I know I have seen tartan patchwork quilts and blankets before, with many different plaids in big squares sewn together. Lots more plaids to come!


  1. yay for plaid! if you check our blog today, you will see i'm totally on the bandwagon. your idea of thrifting for quality wool is a great one. it's so easy to dismiss an item because of it's shape and completely miss out on all the great fabric!

  2. I adore that first tabletop! So festive and cozy!


  3. LOVE plaid!
    The preppie inside me visualizes a monogram on the pointed end.
    Thanks for posting.



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