Making cloth napkins - 7 finishes & Best fabrics to make them - Sew Guide (2022)

A fabric napkin is amulti-tasker in my home – it does recurrent duty at the dinner table, with the lunchbox to school, sometimes drying plates over the kitchen sink, and at times over the washbasin sink as a towel and then when a hand towel is not visible (it is, to those who look) it even goes to the gymwhich iswhen I would have had enough and put my feet down. Give some respect to my napkin,puh-lease.

Yes, those fabric squares are really versatile. And they are so easy to make. Simply turn under the fabric edges of square pieces of fabric and stitch in place. Something a beginner sewist should be able to do easily enough. But I am not going to describe to you the easier version. I will tell you the more elaborate ways to make and finish your own homemade but store-bought look alike napkins

How to sew cloth napkins

  • How to sew cloth napkins
  • What is the size of a dinner napkin?
  • What is the best material for cloth napkins?
  • How do you finish the edges of a napkin?
  • 1.Turned under finish
  • 2. Rolled hem finish for the edges
  • 3. Reversible napkin
  • 4. Mitered corner
  • 5 Nun Stitched Edge
  • 6. Pin stitch
  • 7 Hemstitching (hand or machine)
  • My steps to making the cloth napkin

Making cloth napkins - 7 finishes & Best fabrics to make them - Sew Guide (1)

What is the size of a dinner napkin?

Usually, table napkins are cut in4 sizes : 10 inchsquare;12 inchsquare;18 inchsquare and22 inchsquare. In high end restaurants the dinner table napkins are around 20-21 inches ; even 24 inch napkins are used for big tables.

That is not to say that you cannot make them in between sizes. You can and you should. When you are making things yourself, that is the creativefreedom you have and you should enjoy it. I usually make a 17 inch square, which is neither too big nor too small, for my purposes.

What is the best material for cloth napkins?

Making cloth napkins - 7 finishes & Best fabrics to make them - Sew Guide (2)

If you have seen those vintage Linen Napkins with fine embroidery done on them, you would want to buy only linen to make your napkins. Linen looks elegant and when embroideryis doneonit, it turns exquisite. It gets softer with every wash and can last a long long time.

But linen wrinkles and is quite expensive. So I would make napkins in cotton for my everyday use. The regular printed cotton fabric for dressmakingcan beused tomake cloth napkins; just toss them in the machine and fold them fresh from the drying line –they aregood for many uses. Justensure that you buy good quality cotton, not the thin cotton which will wear fast and then tear. A gingham cotton cloth is a popular choice for making napkins

But if you find such athincotton in a beautiful print which you really want to make into a napkin you can make a reversible one so that you have double layers to yournapkin.This will make the fabric last longer.

Silk is beautiful and though it is high maintenance,it can elevate your dinner tablestatusto a much higher level. You can also usepolycottonfabric to makeyournapkins. I have seen some hotels using napkins inthis fabric. It has the qualities ofpolyester– slight shine, no wrinkles and the qualities of cotton – absorbent to a degree.

Making cloth napkins - 7 finishes & Best fabrics to make them - Sew Guide (3)

(Video) How To Make Cloth Napkins with Mitered Corners

Some people like using home decor fabric for making their napkins. If you have a particular theme in mind this is good. But you will haveto be aware that most of the home decor fabrics have a loose weave and may not last machine washing. For festive purposes, to match the decor you can use these novelty fabrics.

I love pastel colours and tone on tone fine embroidery work on my napkins. Agreed that it is difficult to maintain. Imagine a drop or several of sauce or worse turmeric on the finely worked monogrammed white linen napkin with hand done entredeux embellishment. I will throw a hissy fit (at least in my mind). Back to simple printed, safe, stain resistant (stain invisible, more like) printed or dark coloured napkins.

Making cloth napkins - 7 finishes & Best fabrics to make them - Sew Guide (4)

Synthetic fabrics are not preferred for making napkins for the simple reason that they do not absorb water as the natural fabrics do. Blends are alright if they absorb well.

How to cut fabric for a napkin?

If it is a cotton fabric the easiest you would think to make a square cut is to tear the fabric. But that is wrong – it will most probably never give you a square. This is because the grain is mostly ‘off’ in fabric bolts, though it is supposedto be straight. You can start marking from the selvage as it is always straight and then cut off the selvage. If you have one of those big transparent plastic scales you can mark the napkin squares easily.

How do you finish the edges of a napkin?

1.Turned under finish

This is the most commonly used finish for the edges of a cloth napkin. Simply turn under 1/4 inches of the fabric edges twice to the back of the fabric. Stitch in place. You have a simple and easy napkin.

Making cloth napkins - 7 finishes & Best fabrics to make them - Sew Guide (5)

2. Rolled hem finish for the edges

This is the easiest way to finish the edges of your napkin. You can use the rolled hem foot available with most sewing machines and a zig zag or straight stitch to sew this edge finish.

3. Reversible napkin

This is another easy way. On either side of the napkin you use two fabrics. This method gives your napkin more wearand if you have a twocolourtheme this method is the best –showcasea special print on one side while maintaining the otherplain .

To make this reversible cloth napkin You have to keep two pieces of fabric squares of the same dimensions ( and the same fabric types preferably, definitelyprewashed) right sides together and stitch all around with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Leave 2inchunstitched of course for turning the napkin inside out.

Press the seam allowances.Turnthe napkin right side out. Press again. Get the corners sharp with a sharp tool (poking in the corners ) Use a hand sewing needle to sew the opening closed. Use a ladder stitch. You have the napkin ready. Stitch all around 1/2 inches from the edge. You can finish the edges with apicotfinish if you want a decorative edging

(Video) Perfect Mitered Corners for Cloth Napkins | Paige Handmade

4. Mitered corner

This is the easiest and the mostprofessionallookingedge finishfor your napkin. You cancheckoutthe tutorial to make a mitered cornerhere . This edge finish gives you a corner which is without the bulk.

5 Nun Stitched Edge

This is an edge finish for your napkin with a frayed edge. It is most suitable to be used on fabrics which have countable weave, as it is a counted stitch. This is not a very sturdy edge for an often used, machine washed napkin. But if you want a novelty edging for your napkin you can use this edging. This will give the frayed look , which is so popular, along the edges.

Making cloth napkins - 7 finishes & Best fabrics to make them - Sew Guide (7)

Apulledstitchis madealong the edge with a tapestry needle and embroidery thread.The nun stitch (individually )looks like alphabet C madebackwards(blanket stitch in reverse). The nun stitchis madeso that when you fray the edges of the napkin it will not advance further than the nun stitch you have made

How to get the frayed look with a nun stitch – Mark the edge of the napkin. Mark some 15 threads inside of this, parallel to the edge. This is where you will be making the nun stitch. Pull the fifteenth thread along this marking parallel from the edge . You have a space along the edge where you will be making the nun stitch. After the nun stitch is done pull out the long threads parallel to the nun stitched edge. The stitch is made over two threads.

6. Pin stitch

Making cloth napkins - 7 finishes & Best fabrics to make them - Sew Guide (8)

This simple hand hemming stitch creates a decorative stitch with apulled thread effect. This is afavouritehemstitchfornapkins for this very reason. You turn under the edges and stitch the edges with a thick enough needle in a special stitch whichcreatesbeautifullacelikesmall holes along the stitching line.

Making cloth napkins - 7 finishes & Best fabrics to make them - Sew Guide (9)

7 Hemstitching (hand or machine)

This is a decorative sewing machine stitch made with a wide needle, which can resemble a pin stitch – itcan be calledhem stitching in sewist vocabulary.

You need a wing needle to make this beautiful stitch or as analternativeyou can use a wide universal needle – Size16/100 .A wing needle is a very wide needle – the needle will create theholes alongthe stitching line which looks close enough to what you would make with ahandsewnpinstitch .

Many of the decorative stitches in your sewing machinecan beused to finish your napkins in this way. You will have to experiment with the stretch stitches in your machine to know which works for you. The best fabric for doing a wingneedle stitchingiscottonbatiste. If you find that your needle plate is eating your machine you can try to keep some tissue paper or tear away stabilizer under the fabric and tear it away after the stitchingis done.

(Video) How to Make Cloth Napkins | A Shabby Fabrics Sewing Tutorial

Check out this post on hemstitching for the most preferred edge and hem finish for a cloth napkin

Making cloth napkins - 7 finishes & Best fabrics to make them - Sew Guide (10)

My steps to making the cloth napkin

Step 1

Accurately measure square dimensions on your chosen fabric for making the cloth napkins. Rememberthat you will need to add seam allowance extra to thefinalsize you want. For a rolled hem finish you only need 1/4 inch extra. For a mitered corner you need 1″ extra on all edges. For a simple turned under edge you needatleast1/2 inch extra on each edge.For making a reversible napkin add 1/4 orhalfinchalong the edges

If you are adding embroidery along the corner, leave some extra fabric along edges so that you can comfortably fit the fabric on a hoop – the embroidery is usually placed 2 inch from the corner.( After the embroidery is done cut out the extra)

Making cloth napkins - 7 finishes & Best fabrics to make them - Sew Guide (11)

Step 2

Making cloth napkins - 7 finishes & Best fabrics to make them - Sew Guide (12)

Work an embroidered monogram or some words embroidered or a small and cute embroidery design like one of these.

Step 3

Finish the edges. Choose any of the finishing mentioned above. You can combine them as well. For example, a reversible napkin with a mitered corner along with a machine stitched pin stitch finish along the edge. Or if you hate complicated, settle for anyone of these.

(Video) DIY Fabric Napkins | Holiday Fabric Napkins | The Sewing Room Channel

Making cloth napkins - 7 finishes & Best fabrics to make them - Sew Guide (14)

Cloth napkins make beautiful gifts. Make them in different interesting colours and then unify them with a single decoration, appliqueor monogram or go for the simple white one with delicate white work embroidery or small flower embroidery designs. You can soon exhaust all the fabric pieces in your stash, making these fabric napkins.

Related posts : Household linen dimensions; Make potholders ; Make coasters ; Make fabric baskets; Make fabric book cover.

Updated on July 26, 2022 by Sarina Tariq

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(Video) How to Sew Napkins with Mitered Corners - Learn to Sew Series

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What is the best fabric for making cloth napkins? ›

Note: It's best to use 100% cotton or linen as they will be most absorbent, but a blend with at least 80% natural fiber will work too and will require less ironing.

What material are cloth napkins made of? ›

Cloth napkins can be made from many different materials, but you'll usually see them made from cotton, polyester, or linen. All three materials are great, but they tend to feel a little different. (Cotton may feel soft, whereas polyester may feel smooth.)

How much fabric do I need to make 6 napkins? ›

Calculate yardage required: Napkins range in size with dinner 16"-18" square and luncheon 12"-14" square. One yard of 45" fabric will yield 4 dinner or 6 luncheon napkins.

What is the best fabric of four napkins? ›

Woven cotton is the classic choice for handmade DIY cloth napkins because it is durable, absorbent and provides a soft touch to the skin. You can also safely wash it with your laundry and will look great every time.

What are the types of napkins? ›

Disposable napkins usually come in 1-ply, 2-ply, or 3-ply, and the higher the ply-count, the more absorbent and high-quality they are. While 1-ply paper napkins might be more affordable, you will miss out on the soft, absorbent qualities of 2-ply or 3-ply napkins.

What are the raw materials for making table napkin? ›

Core Paper, Jumbo Reels, Wrapping Paper and Cello Phane are some of the raw materials that are used in the production of tissue napkin. The production process includes four basic steps: Pulp & Dye, Pressing, Creeping and Cutting. Paper pulp is prepared by mixing fibre with wood pulp and wash the mix with bleach.

How much material do I need to make napkins? ›

You'll need about 16.5-inches square for each napkin. Most lighter-weight fabrics like cotton are 44- or 45-inches wide, which would only accommodate two rows of napkins. If you were making 12-inch napkins you could get three rows.

What size are cloth napkins? ›

So, what's a good size for a cloth napkin? Usually, diy cloth napkins are simple squares, and they come in a number of standard sizes: most popular are 16", 18", 20" or even 22" square.

What are cloth napkins called? ›

A napkin, serviette or face towelette is a square of cloth or paper tissue used at the table for wiping the mouth and fingers while eating. It is usually small and folded, sometimes in intricate designs and shapes.

What weight linen is best for napkins? ›

Weighing in at 8.5 ounces per square yard, European linen is a middle weight linen that can be used for clothing and upholstery. This fabric has body, but still flows well. Irish linen is another great lightweight linen that weighs 6.7 ounces. This fabric is popular for bedspreads, tablecloths, and napkins.

How many napkins can you make from a meter of fabric? ›

1 metre of fabric makes 4 napkins.

How do I calculate how much fabric I need? ›

Figure out how much fabric you need with this formula:
  1. Width of fabric divided by width of one piece equals the number of pieces that fit into width (rounded down to the whole number).
  2. Total number of pieces divided by number of pieces that fit into width equals number of rows you need.
13 Feb 2011

How many yards does it take to make 10 napkins? ›

Yardage Estimator: Napkins
82/3 yd1-1/4 yd
101 yd1-2/3 yd
121 yd1-2/3 yd
141-1/3 yd1-2/3 yd
6 more rows

How many napkins do I need for 50 people? ›

For the meal, normally cloth napkins are provided by the venue or you might want to order guest towels or dinner napkins, about 1 per person is sufficient.

Which type of napkin is best? ›

If you have a normal skin type, then cotton pads are good to go. But if you have sensitive skin, then choose the organic sanitary pads which are completely made out of herbal ingredients.

What is napkin in standard English? ›

(næpkɪn ) Word forms: plural napkins. countable noun. A napkin is a square of cloth or paper that you use when you are eating to protect your clothes, or to wipe your mouth or hands.

What is the best material for a table? ›

What is the most durable table top? Most materials used for making tables are durable due to the nature of the furniture, but there are some that are slightly more durable than others. Solid wood and quartz are two of the most durable materials to use when it comes to tabletops.

What are the materials used in making a table? ›

Marble, granite, wood, stainless steel, glass, quartz are just some of the options available – each with their own pros and cons. The modern table that you choose for your home will largely depend on the functions you need.

What are the materials needed in making table cloth? ›

Just about any fabric will work, but cotton, polyester blends, oilcloth, and linen are popular choices. If you'll be eating on this table, it's best to choose a washable fabric. The fabric used in this project's instructions is a mid-weight cotton that's affordable, has a casual look, and washes well.

What is best napkin size? ›

The normal and most popular napkin size is approx. 45 × 45 cm. It is suitable for high demands in everyday life and will do justice to any kind of occasion. The usually somewhat cheaper and less demanding alternative are cloth napkins measuring 40 x 40 cm and smaller.

What is the size of medium size napkin? ›

Paper napkin, medium green, 40x40 cm.

What is small size napkin called? ›

Shape and Size

Unlike dinner napkins, cocktail napkins are very small and typically measure 5” x 5” inches.

What are the 3 types of tablecloths? ›

Table cloths typically come in three shapes round, square, and rectangle. Table skirting, also known as a table runner, is a great way to jazz up a table and add style to a room.

When was the first napkin created? ›

The napkin has not always been a 'must have' item on the table. The historian Carlos Fisas explains in his book Bon appetite! that it was Leonardo da Vinci who invented the napkin in 1491.

What's another name for napkin? ›

What is another word for napkin?
moist towelettepaper towel
table linentable napkin
10 more rows

Which linen fabric is best? ›

Belgian Linen is widely regarded as the highest quality linen fabric globally. Linen fabrics carrying the Belgian linen quality label contain a minimum of 85% European flax fibre and are woven in Belgium.

Is cotton or linen better for napkins? ›

Cotton napkins, she adds, are typically less fussy (i.e., wrinkly) than linen ones, making the material a better choice for those who want cloth napkins that are easier to maintain.

Are cotton or polyester napkins better? ›

While cotton is favored for its soft texture and high absorbency, polyester blends are the standard in the foodservice industry. Cotton cannot hold up through many rounds of commercial washing; polyester is durable and holds color well.

How many Metres of fabric is 1kg? ›

Product Details. GSM (Gram / Sq meter) : 1 kg = 3 Mtr.

How much fabric do you need for napkins and placemats? ›

For each napkin, cut two squares of complementary fabric at 18” inches on all sides. For placemats, cut your fabric at 18” by 22” to form a rectangle.

How do you calculate material? ›

Calculate Quantity of Materials

It's easy to figure out – simply take the total amount of square feet that were measured for the project, then divide the total amount of square feet by the coverage rate of the material.

What is a fabric calculator? ›

The Fabric Calculator by Sailrite is a fabric estimator tool designed to quickly estimate how many yards of fabric you need for your cushion, throw pillow, rectangular tarp and sail shade projects.

What is fabric calculation? ›

As per above formula consumption of fabric for this style is. = {(L*C) + (B*SL)}*2*GSM/10000 grams. = [{(33*25) + (10*2*27.5)}*2*(2.54*2.54)*200]/10000 grams (Note: 2.54 is inch to cm conversion factor) = [{825+550}*400*6.45]/10000 grams. = 354.83 grams.

Is it cheaper to make or buy cloth napkins? ›

The cost per year of making your own cloth napkins and washing them with your regular laundry is essentially zero, whereas purchasing nicer cloth napkins and rags, and washing them separately, is comparable to purchasing paper products over the long term. The longer you use them, the lower the overall cost.

How many napkins do I need for 100 people? ›

If you aren't using cloth napkins at your meal tables, plan for 1.5 dinner or luncheon napkins per person. So if you have 100 guests, plan for 150 dinner napkins.

Is it cheaper to make your own napkins? ›

I love decorating our dinner table settings with beautiful linen napkins but with so many colours to choose from, the costs of buying multiple sets of napkins can really add up! This is when DIY can come in handy because napkins are actually really easy to make at home and it's cheaper to do so as well.

What is a 1/8 Fold napkin? ›

A 1/8 fold napkin saves table space, as it is folded to 1/8 of its original flat size. In contrast, flat pack napkins do not come pre-folded, but their wrinkle-free flat surface is easy to fold and roll around flatware for a clean presentation.

What is the best ply for napkins? ›

We find that 2-ply napkins are the most popular type of napkin because they provide good value for money and suit a wide variety of settings. 3-ply napkins are full dinner plate sized napkins, larger than 2-ply napkins.

What is a good size for cloth napkins? ›

Standard size cloth napkins vary in size; however, most include the following sizes: 16 x 16 inches, 18 x 18 inches, 20 x 20 inches. Larger napkins can include 20 x 20 inches and 21 x 21 inches, and can be often found in more formal occasions, including weddings and higher-end restaurants.

What size should fabric napkins be? ›

The best known and probably most popular size are the classic and proven 45x45cm cloth napkins. Neither too small nor too large, cloth napkins in this size can be folded into almost any shape.

What makes napkin strong? ›

A three-ply napkin has higher wet strength. It resists breaking better than its one-ply counterpart. More fibers = more strength. More strength = fewer tiny pieces of tissue to coat your sticky hands during a messy meal.

Which cloth is best linen or cotton? ›

Because linen is a stronger fabric, it will last longer. While cotton bedding and pillows feel smooth when new, they can lose their softness and begin to disintegrate with repeated use and washing. Linen, however, actually gets softer over time and improves as it ages.

Which is stronger linen or cotton? ›

Linen fabrics are heavier than their cotton counterparts, and they are approximately 30% stronger. They often feel more crisp initially, though through time and use, linen fabrics become soft and supple to the touch. Linen boasts longevity, luster, and lovely drape.


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