Cloth Napkins Tutorial

by Wendy Copley on August 3, 2008

Seeing as I am eight plus months pregnant, you can imagine that I am nesting just a little bit. Through a circuitous chain of events, this nesting instinct  caused me to spend a few hours this morning making cloth napkins. Here’s how it happened:

  1. I’ve been feeling the need to stock-pile frozen dinners so we can easily fix food when the baby is born.
  2. Since our regular freezer is pretty full already, I decided we needed our deep freeze back so we have a place to put the dinners I’m going to make.
  3. Erin and Bryan helped us move our deep freeze from their house to ours yesterday. We decided to put it in the storage room downstairs.
  4. To get the freezer into the storage room, we had to move a shelf with a bunch of boxes of stored crap on it.
  5. Once I saw all the boxes of stored crap, my nesting instinct kicked in and I wanted to get rid of it all.
  6. I made Zach carry a bunch of the boxes upstairs so I could go through it and post stuff to Freecycle.
  7. One of the boxes was labeled “Quilting Fabric”. I figured it would be funky stuff that I’d never use because it wasn’t packed in with my regular fabric stash. But to my surprise, it was all awesome-ness manifested in cloth from top to bottom.
  8. Seeing all that awesome-ness made me want to make something right away and I decided that cloth napkins were the way to go.

Because if there’s one thing that will make life easier once a newborn is in the house, it’s cloth napkins.

Anywhoo, this is how I made them:

Step 1: Cut four 16 1/2 inch squares from each of two coordinating fabrics.

Cloth Napkins: Cut the fabric

Step 2: Line up two squares of fabric, right sides together.

Cloth Napkins:

Step 3: Sew the two pieces of fabric together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. This particular picture was a bad choice because one of my squares wasn’t exactly square and so I couldn’t match the edges up precisely. (You will probably be more careful than I was though and your edges will all match up.) No matter, I just sewed a 1/4 inch from the inner edge of the smaller piece and it all worked out OK.

Important! Don’t sew the seams all around the edges.  You will need to leave a 2-3 inch gap on one side so that you can turn the napkins right side out.

Cloth Napkins:

Step 4: OK, now turn the napkins right side out by pulling them through the gap you left. Try to make the corners as sharp and pointy as you can. I clipped a little of the excess fabric of the corners of mine and that helped.

Cloth Napkins:

Step 5: Once you have a nice square of pretty fabric turned right side out, iron the seams flat. You will also want to turn under the edges of the fabric at the gap and iron it as flat as you can with a nice sharp crease.

Cloth Napkins:

Step 6: Sew a neat hem about 1/8 inch from the seam. Be especially careful as you go over the gap. If you stay 1/8 inch from the edge, that will close the hole up and your napkin will look real pretty there.

Cloth Napkins: Sew a narrow hem

Step 7: Sit back and admire your lovely new napkins. Attractive, environmentally friendly and perfect for use when there is a new baby in the house!

Cloth Napkins:

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  • Allison

    Soo cute! Nesty Wendy!

  • Allison

    Soo cute! Nesty Wendy!

  • shannon

    Gorgeous and useful!

  • shannon

    Gorgeous and useful!

  • Aunt Diane

    Darling Girl,
    I could never do that. I’m not 8 mos. pregnant-have never been 8 mos prego-and never will be. The only thing I have sewed was a circle skirt in 7th grade home ec cuz the teacher made me .. and I hemmed the sapsucker to the clothes I had on! The teacher finished it for me becuz she could not bear me being the only one in the fashion show for our mothers with nothing to show for a 6 week class. I told Mom/Gramma that it was ugly-I would never wear it but she came anyway in hopes that I would have learned something. The same home ec teacher nearly failed me for using salt instead of sugar in what were supposed to be muffins. She nearly choked on them. She claimed she had to taste each girls effort. So, as your Mom and my sisters know I was never domestic but I could hit a softball, tennis ball… well you get the picture. Love ‘ya.

  • Aunt Diane

    Darling Girl,
    I could never do that. I’m not 8 mos. pregnant-have never been 8 mos prego-and never will be. The only thing I have sewed was a circle skirt in 7th grade home ec cuz the teacher made me .. and I hemmed the sapsucker to the clothes I had on! The teacher finished it for me becuz she could not bear me being the only one in the fashion show for our mothers with nothing to show for a 6 week class. I told Mom/Gramma that it was ugly-I would never wear it but she came anyway in hopes that I would have learned something. The same home ec teacher nearly failed me for using salt instead of sugar in what were supposed to be muffins. She nearly choked on them. She claimed she had to taste each girls effort. So, as your Mom and my sisters know I was never domestic but I could hit a softball, tennis ball… well you get the picture. Love ‘ya.

  • Pappy

    Deed, I was happy to see you write, “Anywhoo.” Your Grandpa Rocky used to say that. It was his 91st birthday the day before yesterday.

  • Pappy

    Deed, I was happy to see you write, “Anywhoo.” Your Grandpa Rocky used to say that. It was his 91st birthday the day before yesterday.

  • These are great! I did ALL KINDS of sewing right before my second was born too. But I didn’t sew anything for my first until he was a year old! What’s with that?

  • These are great! I did ALL KINDS of sewing right before my second was born too. But I didn’t sew anything for my first until he was a year old! What’s with that?

  • nice! something so simple yet looks so good!

  • nice! something so simple yet looks so good!

  • Carla

    I’ve seen quite a few tutorials and was just about to settle for cruddy single-layer napkins because I wanted to whip them out quickly and with little effort (not lazy, just incredibly short on time =) I’m grateful to have found your tutorial. Thanks! I can definitely whip these out in no time!

  • Carla

    I’ve seen quite a few tutorials and was just about to settle for cruddy single-layer napkins because I wanted to whip them out quickly and with little effort (not lazy, just incredibly short on time =) I’m grateful to have found your tutorial. Thanks! I can definitely whip these out in no time!

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  • Heather Flett

    So cute. If you give a mouse a muffin…

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