Unleash your inner decorator by choosing your own fabric for a mantle scarf or runner.

How to Make a Fireplace Mantel Scarf or Runner for Christmas

by M.T. Wroblewski

Making a mantel scarf or table runner is a sewing project that can make even a novice seamstress feel like calling a craft magazine to shoot a photo spread of the end result, In fact, if you can cut fabric and stitch a seam in even a reasonably straight line, you should be able to make a scarf or table runner in one evening. Choose a fabric in a festive color and contrasting cording to draw attention to your fireplace mantle or table. Then top it off with a dangling tassel at either end. As toppers, scarves and runners make outstanding focal points on virtually any flat surface in your home.

Measure the width and length of your mantel or table. For a mantel, decide if you want to cover the entire width or leave some of the surface exposed. For a table, a finished width of 12 inches should be ample, but you can make the runner wider or narrower. For example, a finished width of 9 inches works well on sofa tables.

Factor in the drop, or the amount of fabric you wish to hang over the edge of your mantel or table. A finished drop of 10 inches looks graceful, but this too is a matter of personal choice. Factor in the length of a tassel, if you choose to add one, especially on a table. Your goal here is to prevent the drop and tassel from making it tricky for people to sit down in and get up from a chair at either end of your table.

Add 1 inch to the width and 1 inch to the full length of the mantel scarf or runner for hem allowances. Cut your fabric accordingly.

Turn the fabric to the wrong side and press under a 1/2-inch hem all the way around your scarf or runner. Turn the fabric to the right side and insert some pins to hold the pressed hem in place. If you’re a confident sewer, insert pins about every 3 or 4 inches -- closer together if you’re not. Top-stitch all the way around the scarf or runner, about 1/4 inch from the edge.

Pin the decorative cording in place all the way around the scarf or runner, if you choose. Top-stitch the cording close to the edge. Change your thread color if it doesn’t match the color of the fabric.

Create a finished triangle for the ends of your scarf or runner. Take the top edge in one hand and the bottom edge in your other hand and turn both edges to the wrong side. Form a triangle on the right side of the fabric and abut the two pieces of fabric on the wrong side. These two folded under pieces of fabric look like two triangles; straighten them out before pressing them flat with an iron

Secure the triangular edges by stitching a short, 1-inch seam about 1/2 inch up from where the triangles meet. Use thread that coordinates with and is appropriate for your fabric.

Stitch a tassel to the wrong side of the scarf of runner. Insert the loop of the tassel inside the space where the two triangles come together on the wrong side of the scarf or runner. Pin the tassel in place and then tug on it to ensure that you have secured it. Then stitch the tassel in place with a 1/2-inch seam.

Items you will need

  • Tape measure
  • Heavyweight fabric
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Decorative cording, optional


  • If you have your heart set on a lightweight or even flimsy fabric, you may wish to fortify it so it lies flat on your mantle or table. In this case, cut a plain or contrasting piece of fabric to the same dimensions as your scarf or runner. Stitch the two pieces together with the right sides together, leaving a 4-inch opening for turning. Stitch, turn the fabric inside out and stitch the opening closed. Then proceed with making your festive scarf or runner.

About the Author

With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.

Photo Credits

  • Yamini Chao/Digital Vision/Getty Images