Friday, March 16, 2012

I Sewed Napkins...

...which, yes, I realize is an odd thing to do.  I know most people my age don't use cloth napkins, let alone sew them from scratch.  No, I'm not preparing a hope chest.  I have an explanation...

When fabric shopping for another project, I came across a print that reminded me of my grandmother.  She lived on Cape Cod and would have loved this color scheme.  I'm pretty sure she had a skirt that was very similar to this, but since I'm just mastering sewing straight lines, I figured I'd try to make napkins for now instead of some sort of pleated knee-length number.

Turns out making napkins was a pretty simple process and I feel like cloth napkins make a dinner at home feel so much fancier.  Here's how I did it:

I started by cutting my fabric into large squares.  I measured using another set of napkins we have and added an inch on each side for hems.  It took almost a full yard to make four.

Once I had the fabric cut, I got to work pinning the sides.  I folded the fabric over twice so it looked clean & crisp.  This was for sure the most time consuming part of the project (and where I really started second guessing my sanity in sewing napkins - "What?  Do you think you're too good for paper towels now?")...

I also folded the corners neatly and pinned them in place.  Serious napkin makers miter their corners.  I just "fold the corners neatly."  If you already know about mitering corners, I lift my glass to you and will probably come for a lesson sometime.

Once each napkin was pinned, I turned on the old sewing machine and sloowwwwly and carefully sewed down each line, left the needle in & turned the fabric at the corners, and kept sewing....

My lines aren't perfect but I just love the fabric and I love how they turned out...

Happy Friday & stay homey!


  1. Update from my very talented mother:

    Try ironing the hem you want instead of pinning (or before you pin) -- makes it easier.

  2. Beautiful! I use way too ma
    ny paper towels, and I've really been thinking of Making cloth napkins lately. Thanks for the tutorial!

  3. How many did you make and how much fabric did you need?

  4. LOVE this.

    I think i will plan to do this for T'day and Christmas and New Year's ---

    Remember to straighten and block your fabric before sewing your napkins. Tear with the grain - clip one selvage edge then tear across to the other edge. Rinse your fabric to remove the "finish" then line up the edges and steam.

    You will end up with perfectly straight napkins that you can fold into beautiful shapes for your place setting.

    1. I am about to make my own set of Thanksgiving ones - helpful tips, thank you!!


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