Monday, February 20, 2012

Sewing Cloth Napkins

One of the first items that I stopped buying once I decided that I was "getting back to the basics" was paper napkins! The cost can really add up over a year and where do all those napkins go? I decided that since I have to wash clothes anyway I told my husband that we would be using cloth napkins, effective immediately! I wash my napkins with my towels. We use a new napkin for each meal. I have my favorite every day napkins and I save my "fancy" set of 12 for entertaining the family! For some reason, everyone (even the kids) love using cloth napkins!

Here are some simple ways you can make this happen:
  1. I found some vintage napkins (they belonged to my Great-Aunt) packed away so my first step was to wash them then I started using them. I really have no idea why I was "saving them!"  
  2. If you do not have any napkins packed away, shop for them at the thrift store or garage sales. Many of the napkins you find are brand new and some even still have the price tags on them!
  3. Shop shop shop! At the end of each season you can buy some very expensive, beautiful napkins on clearance for cheap, cheap, cheap. I found a package of 4 yesterday for $1.89.  
  4. Request them as gifts - my sister, daughter, and mom do this and I'm thrilled with that!
         ** If you don't like to sew...stop your cloth napkins!
  1. If none of these suggestions appeal to you and you are a do-it-yourself person, sew your own napkins. You can use any material that you like, cut them to any size, use your favorite colors and the best thing is they don't even have to match! 
  2. You will need material. If I have to buy material I always shop for remnants and material on clearance. You can also find great deals on tablecloths or sheets on clearance - just cut these up and use them for napkins. I have even been known to repurpose an old dress. Garage sales are also a great place to find material remnants. Use your imagination!
  3. Decide the size of your napkins. Mine range from 12 inches x 12 inches to 17 inches x 17 inches. You don't have to make them square - I just like them that way. I fold my material in half and measure 1/2 of the size of my napkin plus one inch. So if I want a 12 inch napkin, I measure from the fold 7 inches going up (the sides). Then I measure the top - this will be 13 inches (the full length of your napkin). You can use another napkin folded for the pattern, card stock, or cardboard (just make sure it is the correct measurement). Then cut your material. Repeat until you have the number of napkins you want to make.

    • Once you have cut your material, fold the edges once (up to 1/2 inch) and iron them toward the inside of the napkin. 
    • Fold them once more and iron them so you have a clean, finished edge. 
    • You are now ready to sew them! It doesn't really matter the order you sew, but it's easier for me to decide the top, I sew the top first then the bottom. I sew the sides last. This way the edges at the corners will be finished the same. 
    • If you can sew a straight (or somewhat straight stitch, you can do this!)
    • It takes about an hour to make 8 napkins and your friends and family will love love love them!

    your new napkin - done!

    Almost done!
Love and peace,
~ Simply Tammi


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! Tammi made some for me from a sheet a year ago and they still look great and we use them everyday!

    2. Thanks! Tammi made some for me from a sheet a year ago and they still look great and we use them everyday!