Arts and craft projects
Dupatta turned Table runner11:38 AM
Open any home decor magazines, and you will see pretty tables decorated with flowers, table cloths and pretty table runners. Table runners! They are my favourite, they can be informal enough, and immediately bring light to an otherwise boring table. And as an added bonus, they prevent you from dumping all your clutter and junk on the dinning table when used on a daily basis, making getting ready for meal time that much quicker and enjoyable.
The problem with table runners however is that in India they fall into two categories : ridiculously expensive or cheap and tacky. Very few are nice looking and affordable in the market, simply because they have become a fashion trend, and like all fashion trend, they want you to pay up your nose for it.
But, wait! it really really doesn't have to be that way. If you are like me, chances are you have a couple of old dupattas you no longer wear in your closet. In Indian metro they are worn less and less, and chances are you only really don one with a designer suit on a formal occasions. Don't throw or donate all these old cotton ones just yet. A dupatta is a significant yardage of fabric that can be put to a lot of different uses with a little creativity.
And for those reading me wondering what exactly a dupatta is. It is that long cotton scarf that is traditionally worn with salwaar kameez and churidars kurta outfits in India. It is wide around 50-60cm wide and 2m long. As I said, significant amount of fabric.
Here is the one I used :
As you can see, I started with a plain white one, and like pretty much all dupatta it is far too wide to use as it is to make a runner. What I did from there is cut the fabric in half length wise. The best way to do it and end up with two straight panels without too much fraying and torn edge look is to take a small sharp scissor and cut slowly along one of the vertical thread. You end up cutting all the horizontal threads between two vertical ones, provided the fabric is weaved in a canvas weave (most dupatta are). Take your time and you are guaranteed to end up with a straight edge.
Once you are done cutting your dupatta, you will have two pieces of fabric. And in my case, that means I can make two table runners, as I cut it right in the middle and both are equal in size. But for this tutorial, I made only one. I need to buy more supplies to make the second.
From this point, you are left with two options to deal with the fraying edge on the side of the cut : do a picot stitch, the same way you would to a saree's palu, or like me, just glue some ribbon with some fabric glue.
Choosing one method over the other will not gain or loose you more time. If you are a fast sewer, a picot stich will really not take time considering you will be doing on one side only. Gluing ribbon or a saree border to your fabric will have to be done on both side. The fabric glue I used dries quickly enough, so you won't have to worry about waiting to move your fabric around.
I chose an orange ribbon simply because I had a huge leftover from a Halloween costume project I made for Ishita. But for the other dupatta half I will buy another trim.
I think I spent about 30 minutes gluing the ribbon, but I had a feline handicap. Mittens was dead set on "giving me a helping paw".
Once my ribbon was glued, the table runner already looked great and could have been left that way. But I had a vision of a delicate golden pattern on it. So I decided to work with what I had around (when you do lots of craft project you have a stock of supplies handy). I made a stencil in an old piece of thick construction paper using a shape puncher. Mine is in the shape of a leaf, but any shape will do. In fact if you don't have a shape puncher and suck at drawing, you can find printable stencil templates online. Print the one you like, cut the center out and start stencilling away.
To stencil on fabric, you need fabric paint, it dries quickly and it doesn't need to be thinned with water. Use as it is out of the jar. The best is to use a big paint brush and dab it all over the stencil's hole. Lift the stencil carefully right after you are done and stencil the next pattern. It took me less than an hour to paint the whole table runner.
Be sure to put a plastic cover (old placemats work great) under your fabric. Fabric paint does seep through, you wouldn't want to ruin your table.
It goes without saying that if you don't have a dupatta to sacrifice to the cause, you can do this same type of project using regular fabric panels. And, if you are using a very ornate dupatta, you won't need to stencil paint, or even glue any ribbon or border. This is as I said, a project that can be as simple as you want it to be. In every cases, you'll be saving money over the cost of an actual ready made table runner and end up with something original that will suit your taste or decor.