Make Your Own Fabric Napkins

This is a project I’ve done before. In fact it was one of my first projects I did along with the coasters found here once I got into sewing. We have used those cloth napkins on and off for over a year and they are still going strong even throughout the washes. When Mr. Canada and I decided to host our college “family” Christmas dinner, I decided I needed festive napkins and coasters for the occasion.

Napkins can really be whatever size you want based on what you prefer. Some people like bigger napkins. But when I put one of those big fabric napkins on my lap at a restaurant, it makes me feel like I covered myself up with a blanket. Moral of the story: when I make napkins for our house, I usually go with something smaller than most people might like.

Step 1: Fabric

Decide which fabric you want. I have always used cotton fabric for this project. I’ve also heard of people using polyester. Really, deciding on one pattern or two matching patterns is what hangs me up.

Step 2: Fabric Preparation

Prep your fabric. Find my post on that here.

Step 3: Measure and Cut

Decide your size and start cutting! You may actually want to decide your size before you buy a length of fabric to ensure you have the right amount, but you get the point. I start with a 12×12 inch square for my napkins. If you have a rotary cutter and a self-healing mat it will save you a lot of time in the cutting stage. I don’t (dear Santa…) so I use a 12×12 piece of scrapbooking paper to measure. I use chalk (it washes off with water) to make my cutting line and go from there.

Step 4: Sew Edges

Once all of your pieces have been cut, you want to align 2 pieces wrong sides OUT (you should not see the designs). Using about a 1/4 inch seam allowance (your sewing line should be about 1/4 inch in from the edge of the fabric). If you have a serger, you can certainly use that for this step – I don’t, so I can’t speak much to how that would work here. HOWEVER!!! Don’t sew all of the way around – you want to leave about 2 inches open to be able to turn it right side out.

Step 5: Trim

Cut the corners on 45° angles. This will help make your corners even more crisp when you flip them. This is also the step to trim edges with pinking shears if you feel the need. I did on just some of my edges. Pinking shears help decrease fraying, and since I don’t have a serger and didn’t use a zig zag stitch for this project, I chose to use them. It also helped to even out a couple of the edges that didn’t end up lining up quite right.

Step 6: Flip

Time to turn your napkins right-side-out. Use the bit that you didn’t sew around to turn the napkins. I use a chopstick to help me. As you are turning out the corners, make sure you use your chopstick to get the corners as pointy as you can.

Step 7: Iron

To be honest, this is NOT my favorite step. However, it’s a really important step if you want your napkins to look as good as possible. Basically, you want to iron it in such a way that the side seams of the napkins are flat. You can use your chopstick to help you with this step.

Step 8: Finishing Seam

Sew another seam with about a 1/4 seam allowance – although this is more of a “choose your own” based on how you want your napkins to look. This would be a good time to use any sort of fancy stitches you may want to add. Add the seam all of the way around being careful to close the opening appropriately making sure to get the edges of the opening folded in enough to get closed by the seam.

These blue napkins are over a year old, and they are still looking good!

Your napkins are now done! Time to invite people over for dinner!

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