Friday, December 6, 2013

Basic Cloth Napkins - a tutorial

Cloth Napkin 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).

Cloth Napkin Tutorial

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.

Cloth Napkin Tutorial

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.

Cloth Napkin Tutorial

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.

Cloth Napkin Tutorial

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.

Cloth Napkin Tutorial

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.

Cloth Napkin Tutorial

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.

Cloth Napkin Tutorial

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.

Cloth Napkin Tutorial

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.




Debbie said...

Thanks, Leanne! These are lovely and I appreciate the tutorial!

Svetlana said...

these are wonderful, and so easy to make. Now I have no excuse. Thanks for the tutorial.

Michelle said...

Awesome! Thanks!

Maryse said...

Lovely!...I want to make these! said...

Simple and elegant! Thank you!

Tamie said...

Thank you for the lesson. I might try some of these for my SIL for Christmas- might be my only handmade gift. Sad, I know...

Sarah said...

Beautifully explained and such a nice gift idea!

Linda B said...

Thanks! I'm going to make some in Christmas fabric for a co-worker who I couldn't decide what to do for. Thanks for the inspiration!

M-R Charbonneau said...

These are great. Thanks for the tutorial, Leanne. Napkins are now on my making Christmas list. :)

Di said...

Thank you for the tutorial. I would like to make some for Christmas if I have time. Di x

Lucy | Charm About You said...

Fabulous and I think I have some Essex Linen left over from something else that I could use for napkins! They would make a lovely housewarming gift too. Thanks for the tutorial.

barbara woods said...

i love the way you teach, with instructions for correcting

Lorrie said...

Love the fabrics you chose.

Gooses Bags and Gifts said...

Why do you use the Quilters Linen (or whichever linen blend it is)?
Why not just quilters cotton on both sides?

SewPsyched! said...

so sweet!!!

Catherine said...

Fabulous, thanks for the tute. I think I will make some Christmas ones

dutchcomfort said...

Thanks for a very clear tutorial!
I’ve made napkins before, but with one layer of fabric and a folded seam, but yours look wonderful!

Katy Cameron said...

Nice, quick project :o) said...

this is a great stash buster. I could seriously get rid of a lot of fabric if I made some napkins. Thanks for the gentle nudge to do so.

Heather said...

Of course, double sided, I've always made single layer with a hem, but it's so tedious. Thanks for the tutorial.

Lisa C said...

I needed a quick homemade present for a friend tomorrow. Thanks for the reminder!

OPQuilt said...

I'm writing this comment for two posts--this one for the tute on the napkins, and also for the previous one, with the giveaway (but I thought my comment would be lost).

Wow!! on the Sunset finish. It is absolutely gorgeous and I love the texture that the matchstick quilting gives to your top. Beautiful, Leanne.

And thanks for this tutorial. We use cloth napkins at our house too, and I've been buying them at the Crate and Barrel outlet, but alas--they closed it and moved away, so I'll probably be making good use of this in the future. Thank you!

Pip said...

Thank you! I'm just doing a pile from my fat quarter stash (I have a, ahem, fabric collecting 'problem') to distribute to family and friends for Christmas.

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Suze said...

I'm a follower via Bloglovin' and found this tutorial for table napkins. I'd love to make some for my daughter and her family. She has a beautiful dining room table and they always eat at the kitchen table, which is beautiful, too. My grandsons will be 4 and 9 as of this month and next. I think a large napkin can help with a multitude of spills, too. They are used to large napkins as families tend to eat out more these days. I'd love to make some blacks and red as those were there wedding colors and those tend to be the colors she uses most in the dining room. Maybe that would inspire her to use the dining room from time to time. The only thing she asks me to make are knitted dishcloths. I'm thrilled she still likes anything at all I make. I take that back - she has asked me to make a T-shirt quilt from her college sorority T-shirts. It's taken 4 years to get permission to even start on it. We cannot agree on a design and have agreed to let it evolve at least.