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DIY Fabric Napkins

fabric napkins

Do you ever get stumped on something and rather than deal with it, you put it off and make excuses to not do it?  And then once you put it off a couple times, it becomes easier to continue avoiding and daunting to even think about tackling.  That’s this blog post.  I’ve had the fabric napkins pics ready to go for at least two weeks, but I wasn’t sure what to write about.  So I procrastinated.  Again and again.  This was easy for me to justify, what with wrapping up the holidays and getting back into our regular routine (packing lunches! sweaty workouts! playdates!), but it was procrastinating none the less.  For shame.

All that to say, I’m back and excited about all the things I have planned in the next weeks and months.  I have a bunch of yummy paleo recipes, sewing and woodworking projects, and a new blog design to share that I think you’ll really like.

fabric napkins

And now for the focus of this post . . . I want to show you how to make your own fabric napkins.  I originally got on the kick of making fabric napkins because I was cleaning out my linens closet and noticed that I had a lot of napkins still wrapped in tissue from our wedding.  Almost nine years ago.  While part of me wanted them to stay nice and clean, another (practical) part realized that it’s a waste of space to store something I’m not using, so I came up with a compromise.  I am saving the really nice fabric napkins for special occasions and using the everyday napkins for, well, everyday.  To make sure I had enough fabric napkins for each of us for a week, I made a couple more sets in fun fabrics that will appeal to the boys (and hopefully hide stains).

Let’s start the project:

1.  Round-up a sewing machine and related supplies, in addition to (pre-shrunk) fabric and coordinating thread.  Cut your fabric into equal-sided squares into as many pieces as you can get out of your fabric.  My purchased napkins range in size from 10 x 10 inches to 16 x 16 inches and I find that for everyday use, a 12-13 inch napkin is just the right size.  Cut squares one inch larger than the size of napkin you want, i.e. cut a 14-inch square to get a 13-inch napkin.

2.  Press a hem on all edges of each square.  With the wrong side facing you, fold over 1/2 inch on one edge and press in place, then fold over the 1/2 inch again so the raw edge is enclosed.  Repeat all the way around each square.

3.  Now you’re ready to stitch.  The easiest way is to stitch the first side with edge folded in place and just before you get to the end of the edge, fold the next edge over just as you pressed it and sew to the corner.  This sounds a little confusing, so check the pictures if it doesn’t make sense.  To make a fancier mitered corner on your napkins, you will essentially single fold the edges according to your press marks, then fold the corner toward the center of the napkin with the outer edge of the fold stopping at the inner corner you pressed, and then fold the edges in.  Again, check out the pictures to get a better idea.

fabric napkins
fabric napkins

A side note on the environmental impact of napkins.  We were using basic paper napkins from Costco that biodegrade reasonably well, but are not made of recycled fibers and are bleached white.  Using fabric napkins means no garbage, but does mean more laundry and the use of stain-fighters.  Overall, it seems like the cost and “green-ness” of both napkins is about the same.  If you have input or information on this, comment below, I would be interested to hear it.

fabric napkins

I’m not as much a resolution setter as I am an implementer of new things–I find that if I don’t take specific action, then I never make any progress.  So I want to know, is there anything new you’re trying this year?



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