Making fabric napkins is a great way to use leftover fabric. Napkins are a great sewing project, even for beginners. There’s almost no way to go wrong.
My aim with these napkins was to develop the quickest AND easiest method. I didn’t want anything complicated, like a mitered corner. These reversible simple cloth napkins just use straight seams. they are about as basic as you can get. So let’s get started with this easy sewing tutorial!
Supplies Needed for Napkins
- Cotton Fabric – I used a Riley Blake blue cotton fabric and a Red cotton ticking
- Scissors or a rotary cutter
- Yard stick or non-slip quilting ruler
- Pen or pencil
- Sewing machine
- Sewing thread
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The best part about this project is that you have a way to use up leftover fabric. Choose different patterns that coordinate, like a stripe with a floral. Try combining different fabrics, just like you would if you were choosing throw pillows for your couch.
Easy Steps to Make Reversible Cute Cloth Napkins
- Each napkin requires two squares of fabric. Cut each square 19 1/2 inches, for good size square napkins. If you are trying to use fat quarters because they are already cut, you CAN use these, but your napkins will only be about 17-inch squares or rectangles. I used a quilting ruler because it’s easier to see the fabric and make sure you are getting a straight line
- To sew, place fabric flat with right sides together, wrong sides facing out.
- Sew a seam around all four edges of the fabric. Leave a 2-inch gap one side in the middle. I did a 1/2 seam allowance which lines up pretty closely with the edge of presser foot.
- Turn the napkin right side out and press flat with an iron, making sure you get the edges of the napkin nice and crisp. A simple way to make sure the corners are nice and sharp is to use a pen, seam ripper or chop stick.
- If you are pretty good with a sewing machine you can sew the 2-inch opening closed with your machine. Otherwise, you can hand stitch the hole closed. I used a machine, because I wanted the fastest solution, since these are 10-minute napkins.
- Sew a straight stitch border seam 1/2 inch around all four sides after you’ve got it flat and the opening closed.
It’s as simple as that. Now you have your very own cloth napkins. Once you see how easy it is you’re going to want to make napkins for every holiday. They are so much cuter than the ones you can buy and you could make one for any special occasion, dog birthday, St. Patrick’s, the options are limitless.
What Kind of Fabric Works Best?
I love beautiful linen napkins, but I don’t use linen fabric for my own napkins because they require so much ironing. Cotton irons up so nicely that I think high-quality 100% cotton fabric is a good choice for dinner napkins.
If you want tips on the best places to buy fabric online, I’ve done lots of shopping. You can find so many beautiful fabrics on line, but be advised you usually have to buy a yard of fabric, unless you are buying pre-cuts such as fat quarters (this is a fat quarter of fabric or a generous 1/4 yard and they usually come in bundles with coordinating prints and colors)
Should you Use a Rotary Cutter?
The reason I like a rotary cutter for home decor projects is that you are mostly cutting straight lines and you can roll the cutter right along a ruler. I’m terrible with scissors and even if there’s a line I have a hard time cutting a straight edge.
If you invest in a rotary cutter it’s best to keep the guard on at ALL times except for when you are making the cut. The blade is VERY sharp. It’s best to cut away from your body instead of toward your body.
I am thrilled with how these napkins turned out and they were easy peasy. They are much nicer than paper napkins for a fancy table setting at my next dinner party or just for everyday use. The Best part is that rather than throw them away you just throw them in the washing machine. These reusable cloth napkins lay nice and flat so they are easy to store. I guarantee I will be making more napkins in the future for all sorts of occasions. These would make great gifts as well, especially paired with a cute table runner. Happy Sewing!