Think of how impressed your guests will be when you show them you know how to make napkins yourself! Create an elegant dinner setting with handmade linen napkins with mitered corners or simple reversible napkins. Best of all this project is fat quarter friendly so you will have an amazing choice of fabrics.
How to Make Napkins
This tutorial will show you how to make napkins 2 ways
- Reversible - These are the fastest type and the best for beginner sewers. Because they are 2 sided and reversible, they are great for adding a pop of color to your table.
- Mitered Corners - These traditional unlined napkins have hemmed edges and are usually made from linen.
How to Make Napkins that Are Reversible
You can sew these reversible napkins in under 5 minutes and they are fat quarter friendly.
The best fabrics to use for reversible napkins are pure cotton and linens that will absorb any mess. I like to use cotton quilting fabrics on one side and then absorbent fine linen for the other. Suitable fabrics for cloth napkins include:
- Fine linen
- Quilting Cotton (great for patterned napkins)
- Cotton Duck
Add ¼ inch (6mm) seam allowance around the size you require and cut 2 equal fabric squares.
Fabric napkin sizes can vary enormously in sizes starting at 9 inches (23cm) and going anywhere up to 26 inches (66cm) for large formal dinner napkins. I like to cut my squares 14 inches which means I can get 3 napkins across a 44 inch (112cm) wide fabric. You could also make dinner napkins from fat quarters of fabric.
What size should cloth napkins be? There is no right or wrong but generally the more formal the dinner, the larger the napkins.
Here are some common finished napkin sizes
- Cocktail - 6 to 9 inches square
- Tea Napkins - 12 inches square
- Lunch Napkins - 14 inches square
- Dinner Napkins - 18 to 20 inches square
- Formal Napkins - 22 to 26 inches square
Do napkins have to be square?
No! While they are often square you can make whatever you would like. Their purpose is to mop up spills and save your clothing from marks so you can make a square, rectangle or even circular if you like. The technique is the same regardless of the shape you sew.
FABRIC SAVING TIP: Plan ahead to get the maximum number of napkins from the width of your fabric.
How to Make Napkins - Video
Here is a YouTube video I made for you on how to make napkins if you would like to watch how it is done. Make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly sewing and craft videos.
How To Make Napkins - Instructions
STEP 1 - Put your two fabric squares with right sides together and stitch around the outside with a ¼ inch (6mm) seam and leaving a 2 inch (5cm) gap on one side.
STEP 2 - Clip the corners and turn the napkin to the right side through the gap in the side.
STEP 3 - Give the napkin a good press, making sure the corners are well poked out. Press the seam allowance at the gap to the inside.
STEP 4 - Topstitch all the way around close to the edge ⅛ inch (3mm)) from the edge. This will close your gap.
STEP 5 - Give it a final press with a steam iron and you are all set to start planning your dinner party. Have fun!
How to Make Napkins With MITERED CORNERS
I have made a dinner napkin using this technique but the below steps of mitering a corner can also be used on quilts, clothing and sewing projects.
One fat quarter of fabric for every napkin you wish to make. Use linen or any other absorbent fabric. Fabrics with natural fibers such as cotton or linen will always work best for napkins.
How to Make Napkins - Mitered Instructions
STEP 1 - Trim a fat quarter of fabric into an 18x18 inch (45.7x45.7cm) square. On the WRONG side of the fabric, press over one edge by ¼ inch (6mm) and ½ inch (12mm) again.
STEP 2 - Press the next edge over by the same amounts - ¼ inch (6mm) and ½ inch (12mm). It will be a little thick at the corner so use some steam to get it to sit as flat as possible.
STEP 3 - Open up the pressed edges and you will see that we have some interesting creases. I have marked the lines to make it easier for you to see.
STEP 4 - Mark a diagonal line through the corners of the center square as shown.
STEP 5 - Cut across your marked line.
STEP 6 - Mark a diagonal line through the inner crease point.
STEP 7 - Press a hem along the mark.
STEP 8 - Fold up your pressed edges again and pin the corner well. Repeat for the other 3 corners.
STEP 9 - Stitch all the way around the napkin along the hem edge.
How to Make Napkins - In Conclusion
All finished learning how to make napkins and ready for dinner! Now, what shall I cook? Share your suggestions below.
PIN FOR LATER 🙂
More Articles on How to Make Napkins
- DIY Napkins for Kids Lunchboxes
Thanks for this and also for the blog on mitering corners three ways.