Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cloth Napkin Tutorial {Great for Beginners}

My project list for 2012 is very long!  And, I figure most of it needs to be finished in the next 10 weeks, before I have even less time to myself.  Finding the energy and motivation to accomplish my tasks has been rather difficult lately, so I don't have huge expectations, but it is nice to get something finished.  These cloth napkins have been something I've wanted to do since I made the roman shades for my kitchen, and I finally got around to it.

Most home decorator fabric has very specific instructions on how to care for it; almost all of it requires dry cleaning, or spot cleaning.  So, before tackling this project, I put a small piece of leftover home decor fabric through the wash {using my normal cycles for items of this color} and found that it did shrink a bit, but it wasn't ruined at all.  Perfect!  Coupled with some remnant pieces of drop cloth from my dining room chair slipcovers, I had the right duo for a double-sided cloth napkin.

If you're new at sewing, this is a great project {an relatively inexpensive} to start with, as it only uses sewing straight lines, and turning corners.  And, if you're a pro, then whipping some of these up will take you no time at all!

Cloth Napkin Tutorial:
{I made (6) 12 1/2-inch napkins.  Standard size is 18-inches, I believe, but I was working with leftover fabric, so skimped a bit here, and it's fine, as they are just for everyday use.  If you want larger, standard size napkins, you'll need to purchase more fabric}

-1 yard of fabric for front of napkins
-1 yard of fabric for back of napkins
-coordinating thread

Cut out both fabrics into 13-inch square pieces.

I made a 'pattern' out of poster board so that my pieces would be uniform.
Place front fabric and back fabric right sides together, and pin all the way around, matching the edges.

Beginning in the middle of one side, stitch in a 1/4" seam, all the way around, leaving a small opening, enough to turn the napkin right side out.

Turn napkin right side out, and iron opening under, 1/4" to line up with remainder of sewn seams.

Iron flat.

Pin opening together, so the fabric doesn't shift while doing finishing the seams.  Top-stitch with a 1/8" seam all the way around the napkin.  {This will close up the opening}.

Iron again, if needed, and use.  Wash as you did when you pre-washed your fabric.

*Another great fabric option for cloth napkins is to purchase apparel linen. And, this would not need to be lined with another fabric.  It does shrink, so be sure to purchase more than you would actually need for napkins.  Calico fabrics would also be great, as long as they are lined. *

Linking to:


  1. I was just wondering the other day how hard it was to make napkins! I saw napkins at PB the other day that were gorgeous but totally not worth it. I think it'd be easy to find similar fabric, so if I do I might hire you to make me some napkins :)

  2. Just last week I bought all the fabric to make insane cheery napkins. I think I am crafty but then I end up hating it so I am paying a girlfriend to sew them for me. But, I still end up with tons of homemade napkins which is great because I stopped buying paper towels. We will see how it works! I LOVE YOUR BLOG!

  3. This sounds like a perfect project for me to start off with my new sewing machine. Saving this for when I finally break it out of the box!

  4. too funny - first, I didn't realize till I saw your fb post that you were blogging - excited to see it! :) THEN - I was just thinking I wanted to make some everyday type cloth napkins - and here you have a simple tutorial! Perfect! Congrats on #3 coming soon! Miss you!


I would love to get your feedback on any post! Comments make my day, and I will do my best to get back with you as soon as I can. Thanks!