Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quilt Guild Demo - Cloth Napkin Tute

First off, just let me say; I love cloth napkins made from cotton, linen and even silk. Having 4 children in the house made cloth napkins very useful. They sopped up spills, doubled as bibs and aprons, kept rolls warm, and generally looked prettier than paper and certainly are not as wasteful in resources.

I have napkins made by this method for nearly all holidays and also to match the quilted table runners I have made. Another benefit of cloth napkins is that they tend to stay were you place them and not slide off your lap onto the floor.

My biggest frustration with making my own cloth napkins was getting the hems done to my satisfaction. Sergers and me do not agree on what constitutes a nicely turned corner. I also don't have the proper foot for my sewing machine to make a rolled hem and again in the past I have had issues with turning those corners. What to do? What to do? I wanted to make my own napkins, but how to resolve the hem issue?

Enter a subscription to Martha Stewart's Living Magazine as a gift from the Dear Daughter, Erin. Without fail, if I wanted to do something like, oh say, make pierced tin can lanterns or make my own soft pretzels, the next issue of the magazine would have the instructions, sigh. It is a running joke in our household as it happened so often.

The basic instructions for making these napkins came from an issue of Living magazine, probably 10 years ago or more as my Christmas napkins are at least that old. Of course, Martha's team made them in linen and hand hem stitched them. Not for me, that hand-stitching business, if I can help it.

Basic instructions are as follows:

Step 1. Choose fabric(s) Squares can be as little as 10 x 10 up to 22 x 22 inches (I like big napkins, I did make a 4 x 4 finished just to see if I could, BTW)

Step 2. Press 1/4 inch fold on all four sides

Step 3. Press another 1 inch fold on all four sides (Get a good hard crease here, shot of steam helps)

Step 4. Open the 1 inch fold and fold corners into a point with the 1/4 inch folds aligned

Step 5. Measure for the 45 degree angle from the junction of the the crease marks

Step 6. Draw sewing line, repeat for the other 3 corners.

Step 7. Stitch on sewing line

Step 8. Flip corner to right side to check your angle (Ask me how important this step is)

Step 9. Flip back and trim point seam allowances on all 4 corners to 1/8 inch.

Step 10. Flip all corners and press, stitch hem. (this can be a straight stitch, hem stitch, decorative stitch or even done by hand)

Voila, you have made a napkin!

FYI: I just lay the cotton ones flat to dry and rarely have to press them. Be sure to make them from a good quality cotton.


sapphireblue said...

Awesome job!! I have some cloth napkins that I really need to pull out again, especially since I'm on my work's Green committee.

Kathy said...

I'm feeling wonderfully inspired by your napkins! Thanks for your awesome tutorial. (I pasted it to my Evernote. ;))

Margi said...

Love your easy how-to for the napkins Leslie. I so hate using paper towels at the table but the cost of good cloth napkins are kind of crazy,,,,,going to have to make my own now!

Diana Troldahl said...

I am definitely going to use this method. Not only for napkins, but for my art quilts.

Carole said...

Thank you for the comment on my Purple Apple .. should have been Onion?? haha.
It is a neat technique and I want to thank you,too, for sharing this napkin technique, it is one I struggle with!

Frewen said...

How did you know that I needed to know how to do this?

Leslie said...

So, I want to see your results everyone... Thanks for all the kind comments. Let me see what else I have in my bag of tricks for you all...

SleepyEyes said...

Very pretty napkins! I may just try those myself!