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Make Your Own Cloth Napkins to Match Your Kitchen Décor

Updated on March 13, 2017

Cloth Napkins for French Country Kitchen

Source

Nothing Could Be Easier

We use cloth napkins at most of our meals. It's one way to reduce paper napkins going into the landfill; and it adds a special touch to a table setting. I like for the napkins to match or coordinate with the décor of the kitchen, but sometimes have difficulty finding just the right colors. I usually make my own draperies and curtain toppers, so I often buy extra fabric to use for making napkins. In this lens, I will show you how to make cloth napkins.

The plaid napkin you see in this photo is made from left over fabric from a tablecloth I made for our patio table. All these fabrics are 100% cotton. I prefer cotton fabrics because they are easier to clean. Surprisingly, they don't require ironing. I would have to draw the line there!

Coordinate Your Everyday Napkins to Your Kitchen's Décor

I also bought about 1/2 yard each of solid yellow and solid blue fabric for making more napkins of coordinating colors. That plaid tablecloth will soon be part of a tent-flap style drapery topper for my kitchen. Some small scraps of it were used as the lining for a cascade-style valance in our family room. The cascade valance is shown in the photo below. Farther below, I have shown black and white toile and gingham fabrics I previously used in the kitchen of our former home near Charlotte, NC.

The toile and larger gingham (top right) were used for draperies and upholstery. The tiny gingham (foreground)  was used for napkins.
The toile and larger gingham (top right) were used for draperies and upholstery. The tiny gingham (foreground) was used for napkins. | Source

Getting Started

What Type Fabric to Use?

It is better if you have a fabric that looks the same on both sides. It is not required, but having the same appearance on both sides makes the napkins reversible. We usually use our cloth napkins twice before washing them. We first use the "right side" then, at the next meal, we use the reverse side.

This photo is of the drapery fabrics in black and white toile and gingham for balloon shades and bar stool cushions at our home in Charlotte, NC, where we lived for many years. Drapery fabric, of course, will have a front and a back, and only one side is pretty. For my coordinating napkins, seen in the foreground of this photo, I used regular cotton gingham in order to get a reversible napkin. But for the drapery trim, I used the heavier screen-printed gingham drapery fabric. As you can see in this photo, the drapery fabric is very pale on its reverse side.

After choosing your fabric, it's time to cut and sew. Let's get started.

Photo Guide to the Steps to Making Your Own Cloth Napkins

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cut out a square of cloth about 1 and 1/2 inches wider and longer than you want the finished napkin to be. With the wrong side up,  fold over 1/4 inch of fabric. Iron to hold it in place.Next, fold the same amount over again so that the raw edge of fabric is turned under, pressing as you go. Pin this into place.Turn the square of cloth, and pin the next side, folding over the corner at a right angle, and pin into place.Stitch all the way around the square of cloth, using a medium-sized stitch, or even a machine basting stitch. Small stitches will cause the fabric to pucker, especially after being washed. This photo shows the under side of the finished napkin.This photo is of the right side of the finished napkin.
Cut out a square of cloth about 1 and 1/2 inches wider and longer than you want the finished napkin to be. With the wrong side up,  fold over 1/4 inch of fabric. Iron to hold it in place.
Cut out a square of cloth about 1 and 1/2 inches wider and longer than you want the finished napkin to be. With the wrong side up, fold over 1/4 inch of fabric. Iron to hold it in place.
Next, fold the same amount over again so that the raw edge of fabric is turned under, pressing as you go. Pin this into place.
Next, fold the same amount over again so that the raw edge of fabric is turned under, pressing as you go. Pin this into place.
Turn the square of cloth, and pin the next side, folding over the corner at a right angle, and pin into place.
Turn the square of cloth, and pin the next side, folding over the corner at a right angle, and pin into place.
Stitch all the way around the square of cloth, using a medium-sized stitch, or even a machine basting stitch. Small stitches will cause the fabric to pucker, especially after being washed. This photo shows the under side of the finished napkin.
Stitch all the way around the square of cloth, using a medium-sized stitch, or even a machine basting stitch. Small stitches will cause the fabric to pucker, especially after being washed. This photo shows the under side of the finished napkin.
This photo is of the right side of the finished napkin.
This photo is of the right side of the finished napkin.
Gingher 8-Inch Knife Edge Dressmaker's Shears
Gingher 8-Inch Knife Edge Dressmaker's Shears

I do use rotary cutters, but sometimes only scissors will do. I have these scissors, and really enjoy using them. They are very sharp, and hold the edge very well. I have used many different brands and types of scissors, but I like these the best.

 

Cascade-Style Valance Using Plaid Fabric as Lining

Cascade-Style Valance Using Plaid Fabric as Lining
Cascade-Style Valance Using Plaid Fabric as Lining | Source

Colonies of Bacteria Multiply Faster than Rabbits

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A Word About Re-using Cloth Napkins

Keep in mind that any food or grease on the napkins will grow bacteria and viruses, so do not use them multiple times before washing them. If you have a cold or other infection, use them only once, then launder them.

Here's That Plaid Tablecloth I Turned Into a Drapery Valance

I love finding new uses for old things. The plaid part of this valance was once a rectangular tablecloth for our patio table.
I love finding new uses for old things. The plaid part of this valance was once a rectangular tablecloth for our patio table. | Source

Cloth Napkin Survey

Do you use cloth napkins at most meals?

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Some of My "Homemade" Cloth Napkins

Some of My "Homemade" Cloth Napkins
Some of My "Homemade" Cloth Napkins

If you sew, do you make your own cloth napkins. Or do you think you may try it now?

© 2013 MariaMontgomery

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