Josée Carrier from The Charming Needle designed this table runner with Half-Rectangle Triangles, to add a little movement and fun to your table. Learn more about Josée in her introduction, and let us know if you use this technique for your next runner or quilt!

I love the design possibilities that simple blocks like half-square triangles (HST) open up. I also love how a change in scale to a square patchwork, like in Bargello quilts, can add movement to a project. I decided to combine both and use different sizes of half-rectangle triangles (HRT) to create this table runner.

My favorite way of making HSTs is to sew two at a time by using two squares that are 1″ larger than the desired finished size. I slice them in half once they are sewn and trim them back to their unfinished size (finished size + seam allowances). This works well for HSTs because the line joining the opposite corners is at a 45 degree angle. This isn’t the case for HRTs. So, you can’t use the line joining opposite corners on the cut rectangles as a guide for your seams. There are already great tutorials on how to make HRTs, like this one. My favorite one is the tutorial written by Latifah Saafir for The Modern Quilt Guild. In the following tutorial, I’ll show you how I make mine as I use a slightly different technique to align my rectangles.

The tutorial will also show you how to assemble the table runner. The design layout includes four different sizes of HRTs: 2″ x 2″, 2″ x 3″, 2″ x 4″ and 2″ x 5″ (finished size). As you may have noticed, the first size is square. So, these are HSTs and will be assemble that way. I’m proposing you a layout, but you could also play with the HRTs to create other designs.

Fabric Requirements:
The finished size of this table runner is 12 1/2″ x 28 1/2″.

  • Lighter print: 1 fat quarter
  • Darker print: 1 fat quarter
  • Solid color fabric: 1/2 yard
  • Batting: 16″ x 32″ piece
  • Backing: 20″ x 36″ piece or 5/8 yard
  • Binding: 1/4 yard (based on 2 1/2″-wide cut strips)

About the fabrics: These fabrics were generously provided by Art Gallery Fabrics. The prints are all from the Splendor 1920 collection by Bari J (Decodence Azure and Delicate Sautoir Grey for the lighter and darker prints, Nouveau Geo Blue for the binding and Flights of Fancy Night for the backing). The solid color fabric is from the Pure Elements collection. The color is Empire Yellow (PE-407).

Cutting Instructions:
The following table shows the size of the rectangles that need to be cut to make the HRTs for each size.

HRTs finished– unfinished— rectangles cutting size:
– 2″ x 2″– 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″— 3″ x 3″
– 2″ x 3″– 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″— 3 1/4″ x 4″
– 2″ x 4″– 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″— 3 1/4″ x 5″
– 2″ x 5″– 2 1/2″ x 5 1/2″— 3 1/4″ x 6″

You could cut the rectangles for HRTs 1″ wider than their finished size (3″) like for HSTs. But, I find it a bit tight. I prefer adding a 1/4″ to give a little play, and cut the excess when trimming the blocks.

Here is what you will need to cut from the different fabrics. This is for each of the rectangle sizes:

  • Lighter print: 3 rectangles
  • Darker print: 3 rectangles
  • Solid color fabric: 6 rectangles

You will also need to cut (3) 2 1/2″ x width of fabric (WOF) strips from the binding fabric.

Make the HRTs:
For each HRT, you will align the rectangles by placing a print fabric right side facing up and a solid color rectangle on top of it. For HSTs, you simply need to align all of its edges. For the HRTs, print these templates and use them as a guide to align the fabrics. Once aligned, you’ll mark the line that will guide the seams joining the two pieces and you’ll pin the rectangles together. For HSTs, mark a line between opposite corners. For HRTs, mark the line from the point where the top edges cross to the point where the bottom edges cross (refer to the template).

In the previous pictures, the solid color fabric is tilted to the right. In this case you’ll end up with a line running from the top left corner to the bottom right corner (\). For the table runner, you’ll also need to make some HRTs with lines running from the top right corner to the bottom left corner (/). The following table shows you in which direction to make the line for each print and for the different HRT sizes. Pay a close attention to this.

HRTs finished size– Lighter print— Darker print:
– 2″ x 2″– (2)\ , (1)/— (1)\ , (2)/
– 2″ x 3″– (1)\ , (2)/— (2)\ , (1)/
– 2″ x 4″– (2)\ , 1)/— (1)\ , (2)/
– 2″ x 4″– (1)\ , (2)/— (2)\ , (1)/

Once all rectangles are prepared, sew at 1/4″ from the marked line on both sides. This goes quickly if you chain piece all of them.

Cut on the line for all of them.

Press the seam allowance open.

You’ll now trim your HRTs to their unfinished size (see the table in the cutting instructions). For the HSTs, you can use the 45 degree angle line on your ruler to align with the central seam. For the HRTs, I’m providing a trimming template for you to trace this line on your ruler. You can use a dry-erasable marker to mark this line on your ruler (great tip from here). You could also stick a piece of Glad Press-N-Seal (as suggested by Marjorie Rhine) and mark the line on it. I have found though that this leaves some sticky residue on the ruler once removed.

You now have all your HRTs pieced. If you love paper piecing, you could also piece them with that technique instead. In that case, use the trimming templates as paper piecing templates.

Assemble the Table Runner:
Lay your HRTs on a piece of batting following the design layout shown in the introduction of this tutorial. Chain-piece all rows (same HRT size) of the table runner.

Press the seam allowances to one side alternating the side from row to row. This will help you align the rows when you’ll join them.

Sew the rows together working by pair until you finish assembling the table runner top. Press the seam allowances towards the center of the table runner. This will reduce the bulk due to the HRTs seams. For the central seam, press it open.

Finish the Table Runner:
Layer the quilt top, batting and backing and baste the layers together using your favorite method. Quilt as desired.

Trim the batting and backing to match the table runner top. Join the 2 1/2″ x WOF binding strips and bind the edges of the table runner using mitered corners. Here are some great resources on binding.

You have completed your table runner! Place it on your table for you and your family to enjoy.