Zig Zag Charm Pack Table Runner

Transcript (Downloadable PDF Here):

Hi I’m Jenny from the MSQC. I’ve got a really fun project for you today. This is the zig zag runner. This is put together just using charm squares. You can use leftovers or a whole charm. You can make it as long or short as you want. It’s completely adjustable. The trick is in the layout so let me show you how we did that.


So what you’re going to need for this quilt is charm squares. And I am using a whole charm pack on this one so it’s going to make it quite a bit longer. You’re going to need a scrap of batting that is the same size as your runner. And you’re going to need a scrap of backing also. So I’m going to use this Cuzco from, by Kate Spain to lay this out. And the trick really is in the layout. So what you’re going to do when I open a charm pack like this you can see that it’s divided by color. And what I do is I separate the colors. So I’m going to put the light colored stack. I’m going to put my purples and my oranges. And the reason I do this is so that I can get a good mix of color all along the whole thing. So let me see I’ve got one more purple here. There we go. And I’ve got a stack of pinks. And then I’ve got some blues.


First we’re going to start and we’re going to put two right here. One row of two. Then we’re going to do a row of four. And I have these stacks all separated so I can pull things together. And so we have a row of two, a row of four. Now we’re going to do a row of five. And this is the only time, your, your row of five is going to match together up at this end. And then we’re going to pull these. Oop that’s too close. Oh same pattern, holy smoke. You guys are going to be here all day waiting for me to get this right. I’m kind of crazy about how things go together. Alright so let’s get an orange in here. So I’ve got four, now here’s five. So now the trick with this runner is that you’re going to make it as long as you want it to be by adding rows of five. Your next row of five will come down in just a little bit like this. And then you do a row of five. Oop. There’s three. So you can see how this is, you know, each one here then you’re going to add down here. And that’s what gives it that zig zag look. The two on the ends is what gives it that finished look. When you get all the way to this end and you’re ready to finish it, you’ll be doing rows of five, five, five, five, until it get’s as long as you want. Then you’ll do a row of four and a row of two. And it will end up just the same as this. Now I’ve got one already done so let me grab that.


Ok so here’s this one I have all finished. I used a whole charm pack for this so it’s nice and long. And it will go great on my long table. But you can make them any size you want. When I came up with this pattern, the first time I used scraps from my stash. And I just cut them myself. And I needed an Easter table runner. So I wanted to use all those pastels and pinks and it was just beautiful. Now we’re lucky we have charm packs that are all matched and set out for us. So it’s perfect. But you can see here on this layout, I have two here that I have sewn together. Four sewn together, five sewn together. Five, five, five, five, five, five, down to four and two. And that’s how the layout goes. Now I want you to take a look on the back of this. And I want you to see right here I’ve just sewn clear to the edge of this. You don’t leave a quarter of an inch. You just lay your two on right here. You know you, you’ve got your piece here that you’re sewing down and you’re going to sew right off the edge. You’re just going to make sure that these center points match together right here. And you’ll do that on all your rows. So the next time you add a row, you match where your junctions are. And when it gets ready to come off here on the end you just sew straight off. You don’t have to leave a quarter of an inch or anything like that.


So here we have this one all finished. And now it’s fun because we get to really finish it at home. We don’t have to send away to get it quilted. And I am going to show you how to do that. The first thing, remember you’re, what’s fun about these runners is that you get to use leftovers. So I have a leftover piece here off the bottom of a quilt. And I also have a leftover piece of batting. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to put this batting down first just like this. Lay it out nice and flat. It helps to have a nice area to, to spread things out. And you just want to make sure that it’s a little bigger than your runner. Then we put the backing on. And we’re just going to lay that out. Make sure it stays nice and smooth. And then we put the top on. Now I can smooth these things over here too. This is such a quick project. Really fun. I like to make sure that’s all straight. Then I’m going to lay this top but I’m going to turn it the right side down.


Now this next part is all, all of it now is just, it’s a little time consuming. And you just want to make sure you put a pin in every corner like this. And so we’re going to go along and pin these. You make sure it’s flat, all the way flat underneath. You don’t want to feel any bumps or wrinkles with your hands as you’re smoothing along. You just make sure that it’s nice and straight. No creases or folds.


So once you get it all pinned what you’re going to do is you’re going to trim this out about a half an inch bigger. So let me show you how I do that. And I really just take my scissors and just trim like this. Just so it’s a little bit bigger because we’ll trim that down later but we want to make sure that we have enough room. And once you get that all trimmed up then we’re going to take it to the sewing machine and we’re going to sew a quarter of an inch all around the whole thing. Around the zigs and all the zags. And we’ll leave about a six inch opening at the end of one of these twos so that we can flip it right side out. So let me go ahead and finish that and meet you back here.


So we’re at the sewing machine and we’re going to use the edge of the charm pack as our pattern. That’s our guide. That’s where our presser foot is going to go. And we’re going to sew down here to the, where the two seams come together like this where you sewed your charms off the edges. And then you just turn it. And we’ll sew down. You’ll sew down to the inside point, stop about a quarter of an inch in where those seams juncture and pivot again. Now this last piece here is where our opening is going to be so we’re going to sew in, about, oh two inches or so. And then I’m just going to lift up my needle and I’m just going to scoot this across to the other side. So it leaves a little bit of an opening. And then I’m going to sew down to the corner again. Put my needle down and pivot. Sew up. And you can see right where this comes together right here. We’re going to put our needle down right there, lift our presser foot and pivot. And then we’re right where we started. We end where we started.


So now we’ve sewed all the way around this a quarter of an inch and we need to trim it. So we’re going to trim right in like this. And the way to make this work and lay really flat is you’re going to clip off your corners, not cutting into your seam but just clipping them off. And you’re going to clip in here to the seam without going through. So you need a, a good pair of scissors that has a nice point on them. And see I’m cutting across there. And then this is our opening. And I kind of like to leave this like a, you know, leave a little bit of the extra on there for the opening. It gives you a little more to turn in. Let me clip down here. And then I come in here and I just put the point of my scissor right next to where that seam is going to line up. And clip in there. And that’s going to give it the movement it needs to open up and lay nice and flat.


Ok so now you want to check and make sure it’s all clipped, get all your pins out. Oh here’s a corner I missed. Just go around and give it a look and make sure because that’s super important when you turn it so that it lays nice and flat. So again, your, your insides are cut and your outsides are trimmed. And I think we’re ready to flip this. So you go in between your backing and your top. And I just reach my hand in there. And then I’m just going to pull it through this hole. Grab ahold of it and pull it through. It’s like wrestling an elephant or something.


Ok so now I find, anything pointy will work, you can use scissors, pencil or pen. And you’re going to go in with your hand and you’re going to push out these corners because you want nice pointy corners. So it shows the zig zag. And you can get most of it out with your finger and then use your pencil to just push it out there. See how nice that looks. We’re going to go all the way around and do this whole thing. Alright now we want to lay it out there. And right here where these junctions come together sometimes there will be like a little bit of a wrinkle and if you just kind of pull those it stretches out and it will lay nice and flat. And then what we want to do is we want to go over and iron this. I like to iron it. So right here, this is the very end, where we, our opening, where we went in and turned it. And what we’re going to do is we’re just going to tuck this under like this. And tuck this back piece under. And then we’re going to iron this so it gives it a nice clean edge. Because when we, the next thing we’re going to do is we’re going to sew a quarter of an inch all the way around this. And so that will catch that in. We won’t even have to do any hand work or anything. We won’t have to close that by hand. So we’re just going to make it lay nice and flat and press that. Give it a shot of steam so it won’t go anywhere. And then finish pressing the rest of our corners. And what we’re going to do is we are going to sew a quarter of an inch all the way around the outside edge of this. That’s called topstitching. And it’s what, it’s just the beginning of our machine quilting.


This is the easiest machine quilting you’re going to do. So we are going to stitch right along here. I’m going to set my presser foot  right along the edge of the quilt. I’m going to lift my needle and come in about a quarter of an inch. And I’m actually  going to put a pin right here where this opening is because I want that to stay nice and closed so that when we, so it has a nice finish to it. So I’m just going to sew along here. I get almost to the corner and you want to stop about a quarter of an inch. And then you’re going to flip it and you’re going to do the same thing we did when we sewed it together. You’re just going to do it to the outside this time. And when you get to this little juncture right here in the middle, you just come into your next square a little bit. Make sure your needle stays right in there so you can pivot. And then turn. And we’re going to do this all around this whole little table runner.


Ok so now comes the fun part. Because what we’re going to do now is we’re going to stitch in the ditch. And I want to show you, stitching in the ditch means that you’re going to stitch right here where the seams come together. And what’s fun about doing this runner is that you can come down here and then you reach a junction and you can go down here. And you can keep sewing and almost quilt this whole runner with just picking up and moving your needle two times. So stitching in the ditch is actually one of the hardest things for a quilter to do because it’s, you have to be so exact. It takes some practice. I like to start my people on a lined paper, following the line, practicing staying on that. And really that’s all it takes is practice because it’s just straight stitching. If you don’t want to worry about that or you don’t like the look of that, this is a great time to use your decorative stitches. And you know they’ll go all over that line and you’ll just look good no matter what you do because it’s just going to be all over it. So let’s go over to the machine and we’ll start some stitching in the ditch. And this will quilt your whole project. It will all be done when you’re done with this.


So I’m just going to line up my needle on the seam. And mine aren’t perfect. And I don’t die over it. I just do the best I can. And see you just keep going from juncture to juncture. And then I’ll get all the way down here to the edge and it looks like the edge but then if you turn it you get to go a whole other direction. And you always make sure your needle is lined up. So I’m going to be working on this stitching in the ditch for a bit. So let me show you this finished one. Let’s take this one out that I’ve finished earlier. And I want to talk to you, I want to show you the back here. You can see all the stitch lines. It just gives it a real nice quilted look. And it’s finished and you did it at home. When we flip this over I want to point out right here you can see that I kind of jumped the ditch a little bit right there. But unless you tell somebody nobody’s going to notice. So we don’t die over these things. We just go the best we can. And we hope you enjoyed this tutorial on the zig zag table runner from the MSQC.


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  • Ann,

    Jenny, I have only bbeen quilting for 7 months, and you have inspired me with the easy directions. I have used 3 of your tutorials, but my favorite so far is the jelly roll race. Now I am going to make this table runner with one of the many charm packs I have purchased from your company. Thank you!

    • JenM

      We’re so glad you’re enjoying the tutorials and trying them out! Thank you for your purchases. We would love to see some of your work – just use the Show & Tell form on the right of this page.

  • Annette Jones

    Jenny, I agree with Ann. I have done a couple of projects thanks to your easy tutorials and they come out looking great! I have one question for you. Do I need to use a walking foot to do my stitch in the ditch or should it be fine since the outer edges have already been stitched and secured? Also, this might be a great time to practice my meandering. Do you think that would work too?

    • JenM

      Hi Annette! We’re so glad you’re enjoying the tutorials! The walking foot really helps you ease the layers through the machine as you stitch. It certainly can be done without, but you’ll find you have to push through harder and stitches may not be as consistent. I think practicing meandering is a wonderful idea! Have fun!

  • Hi Jenny, I came upon your first tutorial on youtube when I was looking for aprons, and you sucked me right into MQC! Thank you! I’ve been watching many of your tutorials on quilting, which I never expected to be as enthusiastic as I am now. My question is regarding sewing machines. Being a newcomer to sewing, I don’t have one. I’m thinking about getting a Janome since I have seen so many good reviews including seeing your Janome on your tutorials. May I ask what type you have and if it is a good one for a beginner and one that will allow me to do quilting as well.

    Thank you again!

    • JenM

      The Janome is a great and is seen in many of our tutorials, but Jenny now uses BabyLock. You can check out their many models on the BabyLock website, such as the Jane and Molly models. As for beginner machine, look for additional stitches like zig-zag and blanket stitch and easy to load bobbin and walking foot. Something with more room in the ‘throat’ of the machine makes free motion quilting easier, too.

  • Debra Sonner

    I get so caught up in being perfect, and as a novice sewer I am NOT perfect. Thank you for your inspiration, and for giving us the courage to JUST DO IT, not worrying about perfection! LOVE your teaching style Jenny.

    • JenM

      Perfect? We don’t say that around here 🙂 If you’re trying and having fun, well..then perfect! Glad you’re enjoying everything. Have fun!

    • Patricia B.

      Hi Jenny – I too am a new quilter – I started when I wanted to make something special for my professor. Then this year I discovered you – I tried to make the Jacob’s Ladder and it was pretty good. I am giving it to my mother in law when I finish stitching it (hand quilted) for Thanksgiving. To give myself a break from the stitching I ordered some fabric from you and using the Fusions Bloom charm pack I made the Zigzag Table runner using your tutorial. It is the first piece I have made for myself and it sits proudly in my living room with a very special lamp. I wanted to upload a picture but it is over the 2mb allowance so I don’t think I can. Suffice to say this is a wonderful inspiration to me. Thank you for being so giving and creative.

  • Linnea O’Bannon

    Hi, Jenny,
    Thank you for all you do. Your tutorials are inspiring and fun..especially for us beginners. My question is, i am not clear about whether or not the backing piece is layered in with print side up or down, when making the quilt sandwich, on top of the batting. Can you lease let me know? Thank you again.

    • JenM

      Thanks for asking. You layer the top piece right-sides together with the back piece and place those on top of the batting. So, yes, the patterned side of the back piece would be facing up on top of the batting and then the right side of the top will be facing down on top of that.

  • jcislordamen

    Whoa…. WHAT??? Tell me about that iron? Never seen such a thing!! Yes, I’ve led a sheltered life!!!

  • Tina

    What a great project! I can’t wait to try it out this weekend.

    • JenM

      The weekend is here! Hope you’re getting the chance to try this one!

  • Debbie

    I want to make this runner. I will have to purchase the backing fabric. Would you tell me how much fabric to get?

  • Diana

    I met up with three friends for a mini quilt/crafting retreat at a hotel in Kankakee, Il. We watched your tutorial and I made three table runners in no time. I’m relatively new to quilting, and this was so easy, love it. I’m adding them to my stash of gifts for the holidays. I love your tutorials!!!!

  • Lauren

    what is the seam allowance? one fourth?

  • Pitsa

    Please please could you add subtitles or captioning to your videos like you used to.
    I am hard of hearing and would love to be able to follow this
    Tutorial. Sadly I cannot find the transcript eirher

  • Jenny Lynn

    In this video you say you are using a whole charm pack but the one you hold up at the start only has 4 rows of 5 charms. I made it with the whole charm pack (42 pieces) and got 1/2 yd. for my backing. That is not enough for the completed charm pack. At least what I got wasn’t enough! I am just starting out so should I get 1 yd.?

    • SarahMSQC

      You will need a yard and a half for backing depending on the finished size. (1.5-2yards would give you more than enough) We sure apologize for the confusion. Charm packs vary in amounts, and the great thing about this pattern is that you can make it small or big! Hope this helps!

  • Miranda

    Love this runner! I was looking for a pattern to make something special for a friend’s birthday. I’m not a quilter, but I could do this. My Janome tends to “bunch up” the fabric underneath when sewing through batting (even with the quilting foot); do you have any tips for getting that smooth finish?

    • Linda

      Try using a walking foot. Really helps when you have lots of layers to go through.

  • Janet Archer

    Just made one and it’s so awesome.. So much fun. I’m a beginner at Quilting and these Tutorials are so easy to follow and very helpful. Learned so much from watching them. Thanks for helping me Jenny..

  • Linda McMahan Bishop

    I made two of these. One for my mom for Easter and one for a wedding gift with patriotic colors. Loved the tutorial.

  • Kelly Thomas

    Just love her, wont die over it !!!! me either, it is what it is, I dont ever panic !!