Looking to level up your table setting this year? Need a gift for a friend who loves to entertain? A set of cloth napkins can be a real show stopper! Quick to make, so impressive and so useful! I made the transition to cloth napkins in my home a few years ago and I have never looked back.
This is a great project for larger scraps of fabric, or just awkward amounts of leftover fabric that aren't quite enough for a garment. If you don't have enough of one fabric for a set, try mixing and matching a set!
Choosing your fabric:
We recommend 100% cotton or linen for a luxe feel, but feel free to experiment with what you have! The goal of these projects is to turn your unused stash into something useful and sustainable.
Choosing a size:
Most commercially available cloth napkins range from 17" to 22" square. It really depends on the type of dining you intend them for. Keep in mind that cloth napkin sizes and paper napkin sizes have slightly different standard sizing.
- Napkins 20" or larger are more of a formal dinner size for decorative folding on a larger tablescape.
- Napkins between 16" and 19" inches are for dinner at a smaller table.
- Napkins between 13" and 15" are considered luncheon sized.
- A cocktail napkin is usually 10" square.
Sewing your napkins:
Select your desired napkin size and add two inches to your measurement- this is the size of the square you must cut. For example, I will be sewing a 14" finished napkin so I need to cut out a 16" x 16" square.
On the wrong side, turn up 1" on each side and iron.
Turn under 1/4" on each side and iron again.
Unfold all creases and mark the 4 corners created by the 1" creases on the wrong side of the napkin.
Leave the 1" creases unfolded but fold down the 1/4" seam allowance again.
Fold one corner with right sides together.
Starting at your corner mark, sew a 90 degree line from the fold. Repeat with all corners.
Trim corners, turn napkin hem right side out. Press.
Edge stitch hem.
Piecing napkins using flat felled seams:
If you don't have larger scraps for a full set of napkins or you want to incorporate narrow strips, flat felled seams can be an elegant solution. To sew a flat felled seam:
With wrong sides together, pin two fabric strips together. Stitch with 5/8"/16mm seam allowance.
Finger press the seams open and trim seam one side of seam allowance down to 1/4"
Fold longer seam allowance over trimmed seam allowance so the edge meets the stitch line and press flat so that all raw edges are enclosed.
On the right side of the napkin, pin hem in place and stitch down through all thicknesses.
If you plan to make several pieced napkins, you can cut your scraps into strips that are whatever width you would like to piece and the height of the square you need to cut. Sew all of your scraps together with flat felled seams into a long piece of fabric and cut apart into the widths you need for your napkins.