Sew Your Own Cloth Napkins–A Throwback

sew no-fuss cloth napkins with mitered hems

Sew these buttoning cloth napkins with no pinning


Throwback Thursday: A cheery basket of mismatched cloth napkins makes a nifty gift for newly-marrieds or sew your own cloth napkins with mitered corners as a solid upgrade for your own established household.

ttlogoBut if you have ever priced well-made cloth napkins, you know they are not a budget item…especially if you choose high quality cotton or linen cloth napkins that have a proper turned and mitered hem, and not their ubiquitous serged cousins, which I consider to have inferior life expectancies. When that serger thread catches and snags or breaks on something, you have a really ratty napkin on your hands that can’t really be mended.

Mismatching the napkins (in pairs at least) is important, because it encourages everyday use…instead of saving the napkins for holidays or dinner parties. While hoarded cloth napkins will brighten those affairs, they won’t provide the kind of eco-friendly day-to-day upgrade I’m talking about.

At right you see a graphic, Anatomy of a Napkin, that was a feature page on my website for many years. (Alongside Anatomy of a  Potholder, which I will cover here one day eventually.) In my booth I featured a paper copy on foam core, with an actual napkin riveted to it. Surprisingly, people would stop and read every word right in front of me! You are welcome to use any part of this sign as an inspiration for your own efforts at being crafty…


Back in the day – a revised page from my old website – click to enlarge

Note the key features of these cloth napkins:

  1. Prewashed 100% cotton fabric. I’m old school here and believe there is no real justification or good substitute for skipping this step if you want a square napkin.
  2. Turned hems–which are easily stitched perfectly from behind using an edger foot…
  3. Mitered corners–with my method, this is much easier than it sounds, I promise, and we do it without pinning, trimming, or separately sewing the corners. You will love your mitered corners.
  4. Optional Button and Loop

Cutting instructions: after washing, drying and pressing neatly, use your cutting mat to cut the napkins 20 x 20 inches square. This makes a generously sized napkin. To make 2 napkins, you’ll need 20 inches of 45-inch wide fabric after washing straightens the grain. To make a dozen napkins, round up 3-6 fabrics that you like. The button and loop are explained at length in the video.

My free video on YouTube, Hem Napkins Like a Pro with Pinless Mitered Corners covers the entire process. Click the graphic to open the video up in a separate window on YouTube.

This video will open in a separate window in YouTube

Please let me know how your napkins turn out! I would love to post your project on my new Viewer Projects page at the bottom of the Video Tutorial menu on this site.

As always, feel free to comment or ask any questions you may have. I will get back to you and I may even address them in a future post. Thanks again! Beth/Zazu


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