In a transparent attempt to use my wedding budget to enrich
my fabric stash while simultaneously injecting a bit of color into the affair,
I decided to decorate the tables with runners made from vintage kimono fabric. And it turned out to be the easiest DIY project I’ve ever tackled.
Kimono fabric comes on bolts that are usually 14.5” wide,
which makes it perfect for table runners. New and vintage bolts in silk, acrylic, or cotton (for yukata) are
available online at an array of price points, depending on age, condition, and
fabric type. I got mine from online kimono dealer Ichiroya, but eBay is often full of them. For some reason, prices seem to be lower
during the winter, when I bought mine. (I wound up paying paid about $5-10 per runner.)
And because kimono fabric is already a perfect width, making it into table runners is incredibly easy:
First measure your tables. Add the length or diameter of the table to two times the height of the table in inches or centimeters. Each side will have a half-inch hem, so add one inch to your over-the-table measurement for the hem. (You will need to add more for the hem if you are using hem tape instead of sewing.)
Calculate how many runners you will get out of one bolt of fabric. By my calculations I needed 131” of fabric per table runner, which meant that one bolt of kimono fabric would give me three table runners. In my case 12 tables needed runners and one bolt of kimono fabric gave me three runners, so I needed to buy four bolts of kimono fabric.
Cut the fabric and finish the ends. When my fabric arrived, I simply cut it into 131” lengths and finished it by folding a quarter of an inch at each end, then folding the end over again so that the raw edge was enclosed. I stitched it down for a ¼” hem, then pressed the whole thing. And that was it.
If I did not already sew, I would have finished the raw edges at the ends of the fabric strips with an iron-on hem tape like Stitch Witchery, which is generally available in any drug store. But if you do that, make sure to add a bit extra for the length.
I was prepared to lose some of my runners due to wine spills. But somehow I got lucky and only one wound up spotted, which left me with an armload of vintage kimono fabric for potential craft and sewing projects.
(Image: Paul Yamashiro for Elizabeth Licata)