DIY Vintage Rabbit Table Runner
Spring has arrived! Although Mother Nature seems to have a sense of humor because on the second day of spring she delivered to us a lovely white blanket of snow.
Steve filled our birdfeeders and the squirrels and the birds kept busy filling their little bellies throughout the day. Even after the sun went down they were still munching on the seed and corn kernel buffet.
Today was a perfect day to do a little decorating for Easter. I've been dragging my feet in decorating for spring but I found the most adorable vintage rabbit image (photo further down in post) on The Graphics Fairy that was begging to be DIY'd. I had been looking for a new table runner for our kitchen/dining room table but just could not find anything that screamed "take me home."
Recently, I asked Steve to pick up a drop cloth from Home Depot and I thought this would be the perfect material to use for my rustic vintage inspired table runner. If you've never used a drop cloth for your sewing projects, you need to hop in the car right now and go to your local hardware store. For $11.00 you can get a 6'x9' drop cloth that is oozing with rustic awesomeness. Drop cloths are perfect for just about anything you want to sew - pillows, table runners, placemats, decorative hand towels...endless possibilities.
It is VERY important that you prewash your drop cloth just like you should any fabric. It really wouldn't hurt to wash it twice before using. It helps to get rid of that industrial smell and any dirt. Many tutorials will tell you not to put it in the dryer because it will get super wrinkly but the brand I purchased did just fine. I took it out immediately and lightly pressed it but I actually like the texture and look of the cloth not being super pressed.
My measurements are a bit wonky but they are specific to our table. My best suggestion is to measure what size you would like your final product to be and then add two inches to the width and height to determine your cut measurements. I cut my fabric at 15"x60".
After cutting your fabric it's time to sew your edges. I always start with the long sides and fold them over 1/4" and press. I love my handy-dandy sewing gauge - I literally could not work without it. After I press my long sides at 1/4" I then fold them over at 1/2" and press. This secures the edge of the fabric and prevents fraying. I always pin my hems so everything stays in place from the ironing board to the sewing machine.
Now it's time to sew. I line the edge of my fabric with the 1/4" line on my needle plate. This gets the needle very close to the folded edge of the fabric. Sew a straight stitch all the way down. I like to put a second straight stitch about 1/8" from the other stitch so that they stay flat and secure.
Repeat this process on the short sides. My table runners final measurements were 13"x58" - perfect for our table.
At this point, you have a great natural rustic table runner. You could leave it as it is or you can use it as the base for appliques, iron-on transfers, or embroidery.
This is where that cute rabbit from a circa 1830's French natural history print and my dear husband, Steve, comes in. Using Photoshop, he erased the writing and shadow, resized the rabbit to fit on our table runner (about 9" wide), then printed two images on Avery Light Fabric Transfer Paper. Using an X-Acto knife, he cut out the image, making sure to cut close to the image for a clean transfer.
Then we ironed the transfer on to the runner and voila!
I love the way it turned out and I can see a few of these hopping into our shop in the future.