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Friday, December 6, 2013
Basic Cloth Napkins - a tutorial
Last night I made more napkins. So, I also took photos to write a tutorial for those of you who asked, and those of you who need an easy and quick last minute Christmas, Birthday or Hostess Gift, and for the rest of you too.
To make these you need some fabrics for tops and backs of the napkins - the amount will depend on the size of your napkins. I used some prints from the Legacy line of fabrics and Essex Linen (it is a 50/50 linen cotton blend).
Cut squares (or rectangles if you prefer) of your top and bottom fabrics that are the same size. I cut 14.5" squares this time. If you use fat quarters, you can cut one side from each fat quarter and have some nice size pieces left over for another project.
Here is the thing, larger napkins are nicer on the lap but take up more fabric and fill the washing machine up faster, so I try to find the right balance between useful for those who will be using them and not too big. As my kids have grown up, our standard napkin size has also grown.
This is a great assembly line style of project - cut a bunch of fabrics and then do each step on the lot before you move to the next step - it is far faster than making one napkin at a time.
Put a front piece on a back piece right sides together. I don't bother to pin this, I just hold them carefully, but pin all around if you prefer.
Sew around all four sides, leaving about 3" unstitched to turn it right side out. I used a 1/4" seam allowance but if you want a larger seam allowance that works too.
Snip off the excess corner fabric, being careful to not snip your corner threads. If you do snip the corner thread, do not despair. Just resew the seam with a larger seam allowance.
Turn the napkin right side out through the hole. Use a pointy thing to make your corners nice but do try not to push your turning implement right through. If you do, turn it back and resew.
Carefully press all round making sure that your seams are fully opened. When you get to the unstitched turning hole, press the seam allowances under so that you cannot notice the spot (well, if you look carefully, you will see my turning spot in this picture, that is good enough). Neatness at this point makes a difference so press it nicely.
Top stitch all around the edge. Make sure that you topstitch with just a little less seam allowance than the inside seam allowance so that you fully close your turning hole with this step. I just eyeball this to about a 1/8" seam allowance.
Press again, stack them up and admire your beautiful napkins.
You can add quilting lines, use quilt blocks, piece in accent fabrics, whatever you like for these too. But in the end, I actually love the simplicity of the basic cloth napkin.
I will try to update you tomorrow with my sewing progress, what little there is.