Make Your Own - Cloth Napkins
I have found that one of the best ways to use my money wisely is to not spend it on things that are just going to be thrown away. Paper napkins, paper towels, plates, etc. are all items that you use once and then toss. These are items that if you use them, you will need to buy them on a very regular basis. That means that every week or so you are spending some of your hard earned money on something that is going to be thrown away. Using cloth napkins is a great way to save money each and every week.
Making your own napkins is not hard. I just made 12 of them this weekend. The total cost to me was about the same as two large packs of paper napkins - $8. It did require my time; however it will save me money for years to come. As far as making something yourself goes, making cloth napkins is incredibly easy to do.
The items you need are fabric (the 2 yards I got made 12 napkins), thread to match the fabric, scissors, yard stick, fabric pencil and stick pins. A sewing machine makes this job go extremely fast, however the napkins can be hand sewn. I have found that thicker upholstery fabric works very well for cloth napkins. You do need to wash and dry your fabric before starting.
Step 1 - Cut your fabric into 17 inch squares. If you have a mat and fabric cutter this will make it even easier, however scissors also work well. I took the yard stick and fabric pencil to draw the lines right on the fabric, making the cutting go much faster.
Step 2 - Lay your fabric right side down and fold the first edge up 1/4 inch. Crease with your finger all the way across. Fold the fabric again another 1/4 inch and pin as you go. When the first side is done, fold the opposite side, then proceed to the last two sides.
Step 3 - Stitch down the edges, backstitching at both ends. Stitch one edge, then the opposite edge and finally the last two edges.
The napkins should be ready to use at this point. It really doesn't take long. Some people might say that having to wash them would increase your energy and water bills, however they take up so little space and throwing a few in each load doesn't change anything.