I love using cloth napkins for daily use. Not fussy fancy linen ones, but simple cotton calicos that wash easily, hide staining, and look adorable on the table or just tucked under a teacup.
I made myself a half dozen a few winters ago and have wanted to make more ever since.
A few weeks ago, 9-year-old Sarah and I got out the sewing machine and turned my office into a little napkin factory. We cranked out a dozen or so, even though we had more important things to do: seeing our cheerful pile of cloth napkins growing larger was so satisfying we didn’t want to stop.
(I helped Sarah with the ironing, but she could sew them by herself.)
It was a good choice.
I shared a photo of our handiwork on instagram and got some requests for a tutorial, although “tutorial” might be overstating it a bit. These couldn’t be simpler.
DIY cloth napkins
• Prep fabric by washing, drying, and cutting to desired size. I cut 14 x 10 inch rectangles from quilting cotton.
• Start with fabric right-side-down. Turn down one side 1/4 inch and give it a quick iron. Fold the same side down another 1/4 inch, concealing the rough edge, and give it a thoroughly steamy iron to set the fold.
• Repeat on all sides.
• Stitch in place. I prefer to stitch with the folded seams underneath, because then I can be lazy about the bobbin thread color. (Expect things to get a little bumpy at the corners, but if you ironed well you’ll be fine.)
• Snip loose threads.
• To use: fold in half, then in half again.
Note: if you have a serger, you can cut the fabric, serge the edges, and be done with it. You’ll get a different look but it goes a lot faster.
That’s it. Happy sewing! I’d love to hear if you give these a try.
Share your tips, tricks, and creative uses for cute little napkins in comments.