Creating something with your own two hands is one of the best feelings. Regardless of what you are making or your level of expertise, being able to say you successful made something is incredibly rewarding. Sometimes your skills may not match up with what you need to know for a project, but there is normally an alternative and way around the knowledge you may be lacking. I find playing with different materials and experimenting to be incredibly soothing and relaxing.
I have not yet learned to sew anything other than a basic square pillow on the sewing machine. So when I first came up with the idea of making a table runner, I let the stress of what I didn't know keep me from getting started. The thought of creating a hem around the entire piece of burlap freaked me out. I just knew I would mess it up.
But the vision of what I could create was persistent. Rather than worry about the details of what could happen at the end of my project, I decided to just start creating and see where it could lead. Quite honestly, getting started is sometimes the hardest part. You see all these amazing DIYs and ideas out there in magazines and online and worry that what you make just won't stack up. But it doesn't have to.....we all need to stop comparing and start trusting our own talents and abilities. If you create with heart and passion, you can't go wrong.
The beautiful chevron printed burlap came from fabric.com and I knew the moment I saw it that it could make a rustic yet slightly modern runner for the center of the dining table. And it was just the kind of feel that I've been going for this Christmas in my home.
Since I wanted the runner to stretch across the table and down the sides, I made it really long (about 72 inches), but you could make one any size you'd like. I actually also made a shorter one and used it on my living room coffee table (you can see that picture in my house tour). To determine the width of my runner, I divided width of the fabric by 3 to get three equally sized rectangles. Again, you can make your own any width that you'd like.
Cutting burlap fabric straight can be difficult. It helps if you pull one string out the entire length of the fabric where you want to cut so that you have a guide. It isn't a fast process, but gives you a neater cut. The burlap strings can be a bit hard on your hands so you may want to wear gloves for these first few steps.
After the basic rectangle is cut comes the fun part......creating the fringe and stripes.
To create the fringe, simply remove thread after thread from both ends of the rectangle. I chose to make my fringe about three inches long. You just have to be careful that you are only pulling the horizontal threads while leaving the vertical pieces intact for now.
To make the stripes, measure up about 2 inches and pull out ten adjoining strings. This will leave the vertical pieces showing. Then measure up another inch and pull out five strings. This can be altered depending on how wide you want your stripes and how long your entire table runner is. It is helpful to use a pin or the tips of a pair of scissors to begin pulling out the first few strings. Removing them gets easier after you get the first one or two out.
I also slightly fringed the sides of the runner. Because the burlap was made of natural colored and burgundy threads, this revealed a border of wine colored fringe at the edges.
As I stared at my lovely semi-completed project, I decided to turn to google to help me figure out how to turn this into a no-sew idea. And the secret is.......
You'll need to water the mod podge down to a very liquid consistency. Brush a thin strip of the mixture down the sides of the runner where it meets the fringed edge. Don't get any on the fringe, though, because it will dry quite hard. Just to be safe, flip the runner over when it dries and do this again on the other side.
This secret weapon has held everything together and allowed me to create a beautiful table runner without ever going near the dreaded sewing machine.
I just checked the website, and they are almost out of this fabric. So if you'd like some you'd better hurry over now! They have a lot of great burlap choices, though, if this one is unavailable.
And if you aren't interested in creating one of these yourself, I have a few made from the fabric I had leftover from mine. Send me an email if you are interested in one of the two sizes. (Sorry they are all sold!)
Whether you want to make this DIY project or not, I hope that you'll leave here today with a bit more confidence that there is a way around whatever steps of a project may be holding you back from getting started. I'd love to see all of us begin to experiment more with creating things ourselves whether it is a simple craft, decorating a room, or renovating a house.
What have you created lately that has given you satisfaction from your talents?