Learning how to make cloth napkins is fast and easy and can completely transform your table settings for that special occasion. Your stylish handmade cloth napkins will be the talk of your next dinner party or family get together.
You can sew these reversible napkins in under 5 minutes and they are fat quarter friendly.
How to Make Cloth Napkins
The best fabrics to use for cloth 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 1/4 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 mean 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 or Kids 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 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 Cloth Napkins | Video
Here is a YouTube video I made for you 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 Cloth Napkins
Put your two fabric squares with right sides together and stitch around the outside with a 1/4 inch (6mm) seam and leaving a 2 inch (5cm) gap on one side.
Clip the corners and turn the napkin to the right side through the gap in the side.
Give the napkin a good press, making sure the corners are well poked out. Press the seam allowance at the gap to the inside.
Topstitch all the way around close to the edge 1/8 inch (3mm)) from the edge. This will close your gap.
Give it a final press with a steam iron and you are all set to start planning your dinner party. Have fun!