This Sunflower & Bees table runner is a perfect addition to a summer table. The pretty sunflowers and whimsical happy bees are the perfect combination.
This table runner is a machine embroidery project made by Chris. Chris loves sunflowers and grows them in her yard and garden every summer. And if you've seen our beekeeping videos, you will know that she has honeybee hives in her yard.
The sunflowers in this table runner are not your normal sunflower colors. Chris was trying to replicate the sunflowers she grew in her yard in 2018. You can see them below in the photo.
These sunflowers are a Burpee variety, Candy Mountain Hybrid. These sunflowers have a stunning burgundy-to-cherry flower with yellow flames and brown centers and are beautiful in your garden or yard. Maybe you will want to try to grow some in your yard or garden.
Keep reading and/or watch the video to learn more about this Sunflowers & Bees table runner.
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WHAT YOU NEED for the Sunflowers & bees table runner
- Sunflower Block Machine Embroidery Design
- Applique Fabrics (flowers, centers, leaves, and stems)
- Backing fabric
- Quilt Batting
- Machine embroidery threads
- Tear-away stabilizer
- Embroidery Machine
Look towards the end of this post for links to the designs and other supplies you need for this project.
Sunflower Block Design
The sunflower block used in this table runner is a machine embroidery design by Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Designs. A link to the sunflower design can be found near the end of this post.
This sunflower block is an add-on block to Sweet Pea's Spring Flowers Table Runner. Chris also made the Spring Flowers table runner and you can follow the link to learn more about that table runner which is shown below.
All of Sweet Pea's designs come with a step-by-step photo tutorial PDF that takes you through making the applique machine embroidered block.
If you do not know how to machine applique embroider, click the link for our photo and video tutorial on this technique.
Embroidering the blocks
To make the Sunflowers and Bees table runner, machine embroider five sunflower blocks. The blocks include the quilting background as one of the stitching steps.
For Chris' table runner, she used variegated fabrics for the pink flower petals. Cutting different sections of the fabric that went from light pink to dark pink from selvage to selvage gave the different colors to the petals. Mixing the different cuts of fabrics gave the variations in the sunflower petal colors.
The design stitches the under petals first in one step, and then the top petals in another step. So, pick two fabrics for your flower petals and you are ready to go.
Each of the blocks in this table runner was embroidered a little differently which provides a variation to the runner. The blocks can also be embroidered identically if this is the look you would like.
For the first block below, two shades of pink from the variegated fabric was used, a very dark pink and light pink. The front petals were outlined in a matching pink satin stitch. The back petals were outlined in a yellow satin stitch. These stitches are all part of the machine embroidery design. The block is finished with a brown center outlined in yellow.
With the yellow on the tips, it resembles the "flames" from the original sunflowers.
The second block below was embroidered with a darker pink section of the variegated fabric for the back petals and then a yellow fabric for the front petals. Matching threads were used for the satin stitches. The sunflower center was stitched using a brown fabric and brown threads.
This third block shown below was stitched with two shades of the pink fabric for the front and back petals. The front petals were outlined in pink satin stitch and the back petals in the yellow. The yellow resembles the flames in the original sunflowers.
This fourth block uses the pink and yellow fabrics again and outlining with matching colors.
The last block is using two lighter shades of the pink fabrics for the petals and the yellow satin stitch for the flames.
Adjust the size of the table runner
If you would like a shorter or longer table runner, make fewer or more blocks. The design also comes with 5x7, 6x10, and 8x12 inch sized blocks. So, the size of the blocks will determine your finished table runner size.
Assembling the Sunflower & Bees Table Runner
After finishing the blocks for the table runner, trim them as instructed in the block instructions. There is a sewing line around the edge of each block. Match the sewing lines together and be sure to sew just inside the line so it won't show on the front of the finished block.
Next, decide on your fabrics for the borders. For this table runner, Chris decided to put a 1" yellow border around the runner. To have a finished 1" border, cut strips from the yellow fabric at 1 1/2". Sew the strips to the top and bottom of the table runner first with a 1/4" seam allowance. Then sew the left & right borders on with a 1/4" seam.
For the outer borders, cut the bee fabric at 2 1/2" wide. Add these borders in the same way as the yellow borders sewing with a 1/4" seam allowance.
The fabric used was from Timeless Treasures, "You Are My Sunshine," fabric line. This fabric is so cute with these little happy bees buzzing around. This fabric line may be hard to find at this time, but there are many fabric lines produced with bees so select one that fits your preferences.
For a final touch, a quilting friend, Judy, suggested to add applique bees flying around on the table runner. This was a great idea and Chris loves the results.
To applique the bees, pick a piece(s) of fabric with the bees to be appliqued. Fuse heat 'n bond to the back of the fabric. Fussy cut carefully around each bee with a small pair of scissors.
Pick placement of the bees and fuse them to the table runner. Use a few hand stitches around the bees to hold them down.
Backing and Binding the Table Runner
For the backing of this table runner, Chris used inspirational quotes fabric. This fabric was part of the "You Are My Sunshine" line also. The fabric has inspirational quotes such as, believe in yourself, think happy thoughts, good morning sunshine, here comes the sun.
The backing fabric was cut 2" larger than the table runner width and height. The extra will be used to bind the table runner and to allow for mistakes when centering. Cut a piece of batting fabric the same size as the finished table runner with the borders.
Lay the backing fabric with the right side facing down on a table. Layer the batting and table runner together with the wrong sides together. Center the table runner and batting on the backing fabric and pin in several places to hold it together.
For quilting the table runner, Chris decided to just stitch in the ditch between each of the blocks. This helps to hold the layers together when the table runner is washed. This is the only quilting Chris did on this table runner.
The borders of the table runner could also be quilted as desired. Some ideas could be to stitch in the ditch between each border edge. Stitching lines through the borders or stippling.
Once the table runner is quilted, adding the binding will complete the table runner. For this table runner, Chris used the extra fabric around the edges to create the binding.
To finish this type of binding, trim the backing fabric around the table runner to be 1" wide. Starting at the top or bottom, fold 1/2" of the backing towards the runner and press. This will bring the edge of the backing fabric to the edge of the table runner. Next, fold the binding over the front of the table runner and press. Use pins or small clips to hold the binding in place. Continue the four sides, leaving the corners free for now.
Next, work on each corner separately. Trim out the extra fabric on the corners. Carefully fold the corners in making a mitered corner. Continue for all four corners. Hold the corners in place with a small clip. For some information on how to fold the mitered corners, please visit this page on How to add a binding to your quilt. This is not the exact type of binding but has more explanation on how to create the mitered corners.
To finish the table runner, stitch down the binding with a straight stitch near the edge, or a serpentine stitch across the binding.
The table runner is finished. We hope you enjoyed learning about this table runner and make one for yourself.
If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video
comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.
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