How to Sew a Happy Turkey Table Runner (or mini quilt) – free pattern

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Sew up an adorable turkey table runner just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. This free table runner pattern includes easy piecing and applique methods. The small size makes it a quick little project. See more free table runner patterns here.

Why is this turkey so happy? Because he got away – he’s part of your Thanksgiving decorations – not dinner!

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This table runner (or mini-quilt) features easy dresden blades that make up the feet and feathers (don’t worry – I’ll show you how) plus raw edge applique for the turkey body and face.

It’s a little bit like the Square Dance Daisy mini quilt that I designed last year, which also uses dresden blades.


I added triangles and hearts at the ends to make a table runner that measures approximately 31 1/2’’ x 16’’.


The fabrics that I used in my Happy Turkey Table runner are from the ‘Sweet Caroline’ collection that I curated with QT Fabrics. Look for them in shops January 2019!

happy turkey table runner option

If you have time, you can make multiple 16’’ blocks for a longer table runner with lots of turkeys… set them all free!

Let’s get sewing!


Happy Turkey Table Runner Instructions:

You will need:

  • a 16 1/2’’ square of background fabric

  • a 12’’ square of fabric to cut for the triangles on the sides

  • a 4’’ x 13’’ rectangle for the light feathers

  • a 4’’ x 13’’ rectangle for the dark feathers

  • a 4’’ x 6’’ rectangle for the legs

  • a 8’’ square from which to cut the body circle (applique)

  • a 4 1/2’’ square from which to cut the head (applique)

  • a 4’’ x 9’’ rectangle from which to cut the hearts (applique)

  • various small scraps from which to cut the eyes, beak, and snood

  • A 18’’ x 35’’ piece of batting + backing fabric the same size

  • Fusible web adhesive for applique (such as HeatnBond lite)

  • quilt basting spray (such as SpraynBond)

  • 2 strips 2 1/2’’ x 42’’ for binding


Prepare the applique pieces:

All of the pattern templates are included in the free downloadable pattern. They are all applique templates except for the leg/feather piece.

  1. Trace the applique pieces to the back (paper) side of the fusible web adhesive. Cut around the pieces roughly 1/4’’ away from the traced lines.


2. Fuse the cut out shapes to the back of the desired fabric pieces for each shape.

3. Cut each shape out of fabric along the traced line. Remove the paper.

Cut out the feathers and legs:

1. Use the pattern template (as seen above) to cut out:

  • 5 light colored feather pieces

  • 5 dark colored feather pieces

  • 2 leg pieces


Make the feathers and legs (dresden points):

1. Fold one of the feather pieces in half lengthwise (right sides together) and stitch across the top (wider) end with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. Trim away the corner without cutting the stitches.



2. Gently press the seam open. Then flip the corner right side out and press the dresden point flat.

Easy and fun, huh?


Repeat to make all 10 dresden points for the feathers and 2 for the turkey’s legs.



3. Place a light and a dark feather right sides together and pin along one side. Stitch with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.


4. Press the seam allowance open. Then flip the piece over and press flat.



Repeat to sew all 10 feather pieces together in an alternating pattern. Press the two straight raw edges at the sides over by 1/4’’. I used my Dritz easy hem tool to get a nice crisp line (optional).

Sew the 2 leg pieces the same way and press the side raw edges under too.


Prepare the background:

1. Cut the 12’’ square of fabric in half diagonally to make 2 triangles.


2. Pin and stitch the long edges of each triangle to the sides of the 16 1/2’’ square with a 1/4’’ seam allowance. Open and press.


3. Baste the table runner background to the batting using basting spray and trim away the batting about 1’’ from the fabric.


4. Arrange the turkey feathers and legs in the center of the large square with the fusible applique pieces (that have fusible web on the back) on top.

Place a pin in the center of each dresden blade to ensure they won’t shift. Then set aside the appliqué pieces for now.


5. Stitch the feather dresden blades in place sewing close to the straight edges, points, and up and down each seam. Don’t worry about stitching close to the curved raw edges – they will be covered up.

Repeat to sew the leg dresden blades the same way.


6. Press to fuse the large circle applique piece in place.


7. Sew the applique in place using your favorite applique stitch – I like my sewing machine’s blanket stitch.

Fuse the rest of the applique pieces, one at a time, and then stitch.

Tip: coordinating your thread with each piece makes a professional finish!


1. Use the basting spray to attach the sewn piece to the backing. Trim the fabric away even with the batting.

2. Quilt the layers together using your favorite method. This piece doesn’t require a lot of quilting, but I did a lot anyway – with free motion pebbles!


3. Trim neatly around the table runner fabric. Bind. Here’s my favorite machine binding method.

Thanks so much for checking out my free Happy Turkey Table Runner pattern. You might also like this post with 25+ Show Stopping Free Table Runner Patterns!

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