Monday, February 6, 2012

How To: Sew Napkins!!

Since Lee bought me a new sewing machine for my birthday (in November), I've been sewing like a crazy old lady making outfits for her cats (that just means a lot!).
I started with our recovered ottoman, moved on to some curtains, made a couple dozen bar mops, sewed some table runners for Chinese New Year, and now I'm making napkins!

I Love Napkins . . . They're the more eco friendly choice over paper towel, they come in great fabric, and they make the dinner table look AMAZING!!!

In the words of Montell Jordan "This is how we do it"
  • I use quilting fabric (usually from Jo-Ann Fabrics)
  • It takes 1 yard of Fabric to make 4 napkins. (That's 1 'fat quarter' for each napkin). There is NO wasted fabric!
  • And your iron is almost as important as your sewing machine.
1) Lay the fabric out flat and cut in half, then cut each half in half (so that you'll roughly have the size of napkin you want!!)

2)Iron you fabric, then fold a 1/2 inch seam down one side and iron into place, fold a 1/2" seam down the opposite side and iron into place.

3) Now fold over and iron 1/2" seams on to the other two sides.

 4) Now, I do a double fold because I like a nice finished edge, yes it's the back of the napkin, yes nobodies going to see it . . . but I still like the nice edge!
So if you're like me and still want a nice finished edge, repeat step 2 and 3, and fold those edges over on more time, in the same order.

5) For the corners I like them to look like a little miter corner, so I fold under the top fabric in each of the 4 corners Fold back over and Iron in to place!

5) Start sewing in a corner, and work your way around, when you get to a corner leave the needle in and turn the fabric, making sure those mitered corners are lined up before you sew them down!

End result:

Napkin making might be my new obsession, there are so many fabrics and so many different combinations.

So far I've created Yellow ones (my personal favorite):

A set 4 of Chocolate Cloud Napkins:

Chocolate Brown Paisley a set of 6:

Leafy multicolored ones with a red polka dot stripe running through them. To do these ones I just followed all the steps I listed above, then I took a strip of fabric and sewed it to the napkin just like I did with the Bar Mops I made a couple of weeks ago.

I also sewed in a little M :)

Making your own napkins is super affordable!! A yard of quilting fabric will cost you about $7. The Yellow fabric was $7 for 4 napkins.
The Chocolate Brown paisley was free because it was leftover from a recent pillow project!
And the red/multicolored napkins were $5 for a set of 4!

I think Napkins are the best part of a table! So what do ya think . . . planning on sewing some anytime soon??!!


  1. Very well done Ashli - love your fabric choices too!

  2. Cute!

    We switched to cloth napkins years ago and had a hard time finding napkins that weren't fancy-pants and/or just-for-looks-and-don't-actully-work. It's getting easier now, but you've inspired me to make my own! Is there a material that you find works better? Is quilting fabric 100% cotton?

  3. I love these napkins and will be making some immediately! Also... new ring??

  4. I love the idea of making your own napkins, so cute! I switched to cloth napkins and have found basic, nice versions at Ikea at Pier 1 for the non sewers out there.

  5. Love! Such beautiful fabrics. I need to check out the quilting section at our JoAnns. Love the little monogram too.

  6. Cuuuute! I've been meaning to try. So quilt fabric is the fabric you'd suggest using?

  7. Those look terrific...once again, you've inspired me:). I made the towels a little while back and they turned great. Thanks for the tutorial and idea!

  8. I wish I had a sewing machine! Also, I LOVE your ring!

  9. You've made me believe I could almost do this. I'm going to pin the post and give it a try someday.

  10. I really need to practice sewing straight lines. I know that is sad. This could be a great project for it.

  11. Wow! Love them all, but especially the chocolate cloud, and brown paisley! You are a sewing super star! You have inspired me to take my new machine out of it's box, and go take a refresher sewing course! I wanna make napkins too! Oh, and pillows, and curtains, and....

    Happy Monday!

  12. Thanks for the great tutorial. I really like the mitred corners, I must try with some fabric I have hanging around.

  13. I know, have you ever thought about giving them as gifts or put your beautiful sewing projects on Etsy? There are people such as myself that will never see but love the creations you make.

  14. These are so cute! We have been using cloth napkins for a couple of years now and are loving that we aren't throwing anything away - its an easy way to reduce our trash. But it can be difficult to find colors and patterns we love. I will definitely try this soon! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  15. They definately make the table...and you can personalize them which is great. Might have to get on to some of those myself some time soon.

  16. Please please please start selling your bar clothes and dish towel on etsy. I LOVE them all! :o)

  17. Ok, I love your ring in the photos. Please share where it's from!

  18. Thank you for the napkin LOVE everyone!!!
    To answer a couple of the questions that poped up:
    1) Not all quilting fabric is 100% cotton but you can read the label on the bolt and it will tell you!!
    2) My ring was an anniversary gift from LEE for our 5th Anniversary last year! One of the draw backs to having a 6+ carat wedding ring is that it gets caught on a lot and is a bit difficult to wear daily (something I didn't think about when designing it :S) So for our anniversary Lee bought me this simpler ring. It's white gold and has tiny diamonds and it's usually the one I wear everyday!! I love the different simplicity of it, I hope to get a matching band made for it in the near future!!
    I'm so glad you all liked it as much as I do!!!

  19. And
    3) THANK YOU SO MUCH for loving the mops and napkins!!! I would definitely consider opening an etsy store some day!! I'll definitely give it a talk over with Lee and see!!!
    Lots of Love

  20. And
    YES quilting fabric is the type I usually use!!! I find that it works well, it's easy to use, it's not too expensive and it come in sooooo many colors and patterns and textures!!!
    Definitely Quilting Fabric all the way!!! :)

  21. ohmygosh love this! I always want to buy new napkins but cant bust out the money for them -- now I just need.... a sewing machine! lol

    pinned this!

    so happy to have found your blog today =)

  22. I grew up using real/cloth napkins but hardly use them anymore. This has got to change because I definitely prefer them!! Thanks for the inspiration post, Ashli :-)

  23. Could you tell us where you found that lovely yellow fabric? Is that from JoAnn's, too? And do you have JoAnn's in BC or do you order online? I'm in Canada, too but we don't have any JoAnns in our area.

    Love the tute- I've never tried to sew napkins but you make it look so simple. Nice job!

  24. OMG your ring was 6+ carats!!! Holy moly! You'll have to show us a picture!

  25. Hi Cred,
    The yellow fabric is from Jo Ann Fabrics!!
    We don't have one in Canada but we live fairly close to the US border so once and a while I'll pop down for Jo Ann Fabric, target and trader Joe's ;)

    It is 6 Carats but it's A green Amethyst not a Diamond!! haha
    I have a picture of it in our FAQ section . . . here's the link:

    Lots of Love


    You need a rolled hem foot for your sewing machine. It will change your life!

  27. You so make me want to break out my sewing machine already. Not to make cat clothes (smile), but I do have a puppy who needs a few more sweaters.

    Your pillow and napkin tutorials are super easy looking.

  28. Suzanne,
    I MUST have one now!!!!!
    Thank you I didn't even know these existed!!!
    You're Awesome!!!

  29. I just might have to dust off my 'ol sewing machine :) Thanks for sharing ...all of your napkins are fab!

  30. Just curious where you got the fabric for your ironing board. I saw a comforter awhile back from target in that exact print and loved it but it sold out. Thanks!

  31. Hi Jessica!
    So sorry it took me so long to reply I just saw this comment in my email!
    I didn't make the cover myself I bought the cover from Target.
    Here a link to the post we did on it:
    Hope that helps
    Sorry again!!

  32. Hi Ashli! I loved your napkins so much, I used them for a Pinterest challenge. Thanks so much for the great instructions and inspiration. Mine didn't come out quite as nice as yours, but thanks to your wonderful directions I'm so happy with them and plan to make more.
    Thank you so much!
    Brandy @ Home Sweet Here

  33. Hi Ashli - I just came across your blog just a few weeks ago! Came across this post and I love, love, love your ring? Would you mind sharing where you got it. Been looking for a right hand ring for a while now. Would appreciate if you could let me know...thanks C

    1. Hi Cece,
      I found my ring at a local jeweler here in Langley, BC. Although I've seen similar ones at Ben Moss and Kay jewelers!
      I love it too.
      If you are local let me know and I can tell you the name of the exact store!
      Lots of Love


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