This tutorial teaching how to sew beautiful fabric napkins will show you to take an everyday necessity and elevate it. I love to make the utilitarian items in my home pleasing to the eye.
Repurposing To Sew Beautiful Fabric Napkins
Our family has been using fabric napkins for many years now. Previously, we just used paper towels. I wanted to use our grocery money for better food, and every dollar helps. These days, I use paper towels for window cleaning or really bad messes.
I also wanted to raise our family standards. I want my children to choose the authentic and timeless options for their lives when they are grown. They are far more likely to do that if I set an example for them.
I started out finding fabric napkins at thrift stores and yard sales. I like certain fabrics, though, and I like for them to be pretty. Through the years I have collected various linen and cotton twill fabrics and these fabrics work really well for napkins. They are often a very substantial weight and make for durable napkins.
Then, I started to find great fabric remnants at thrift shops, too. Even if the size allowed me enough fabric for just a few napkins, it’s worth it to me. I just keep to fabrics I like and look good together and it’s fine if they don’t match.
When I choose to repurpose fabric that I think is beautiful and worth using, I am living authentically. I am connecting myself with good aspects of the past.
Mix the fabric to keep it casual, and use colors that you like to see together. I like to keep colors muted for my home, serene colors make me happy.
Things to gather
Linen or cotton fabric of your choice-I had about 1 1/2 yard piece of linen for this project, I bought it here.
iron and surface to iron on- ironing board or table covered with a towel
- It is best to start your project with well ironed fabric. Linen and cotton fabric can handle a lot of heat, so you can turn the heat high on these fabrics.
- Crisp ironing will make the fabric easier to pin and sew.
- Lightly spritzing your fabric with water before you iron will help to flatten out any deep creases.
- Putting a drop of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle of water for your iron makes the task more enjoyable!
- When preparing linen fabric for a project with straight seams, like napkins, there is a good way to ensure they are really straight. A very straight edge will make for a very straight hem along the edges. This will help the hems to stay more flat after laundering, instead of bunching up around the edges.
Why I love To Sew Beautiful Fabric Napkins From Linen
Linen is a sturdy and durable fabric for heavy household use. It has thousands of years of history, it has been well loved throughout time. I love linen’s timeless charm. It has a beautiful, casual rumpled look after it has been laundered, or linen can be ironed to look very formal. I prefer the rumpled, comfortable , non ironed appearance of linen in my home. However, I do iron linen shirts, I like them to be crisp and neat.
To sew with linen, it is best that you iron the fabric really well to get the wrinkles out and help the edges lie flat.
Once you have your beautiful fabric of choice all ready, it’s time to begin!
Straightening the edge of linen fabric
With fabrics that have a complicated weave, as well as non linen fabrics, this method of straightening an edge will not work. But if you are using linen fabric this method makes a wonderful cutting line that you can follow. This makes a perfect line that will make all your hems much more exact.
So, I straightened the edge where the fabric was originally cut from the bolt.
At the top or bottom selvedge edge, if you are careful to pull gently, you can pull this thread out. Doing this makes a gap in the fabric which forms a perfect cutting line to cut along!
I wanted my napkins to be 16″ square, so to add seam allowances, I made my squares 17″.
Then, I made a tiny snip in the fabric to be able to pull out a thread of the linen.
I want my fabric napkins to be 16″ squares, so I allowed a half inch hem on each of the four sides. I folded down 1/4 inch and pressed it flat with the iron.
On the same edge of the napkin, I folded down another 1/4 inch and pressed that flat.
Next, I pinned this hem in place. I then sewed this seam, staying fairly close to the inner edge of the hem with the seam.
Next, I repeated that process on the next side. I tried to be careful to keep the fabric fold from sticking out of the corner. Finish up your beautiful fabric napkin by sewing the final two hems.
Finally, press your hems with a hot iron. You have sewn a fabric napkin!
I was able to get six 16″ napkins from my piece of linen that was about 1 1/2 yards.
While I was at it, I found a piece of polka dot and floral cotton twill. I made two napkins from that as well, I made those a little bigger to use up most of the fabric. They ended up as 23″ napkins, quite a lot bigger.
Find a place to display your handiwork, good job learning how to sew beautiful fabric napkins!
What projects do you enjoy sewing for your home, tell me in the comments!
If you like are learning the basics of sewing, here is a beginner’s tutorial to help you.
We also switched over to cloth napkins a few years back to save money and I’m never going back! I love picking out pretty fabric and napkins at the thrift store. I have been meaning to make some of my own from a few swaddle blankets that I love, but no longer need for that purpose. Excited to try out your directions!
That’s a great idea to use your children’s swaddling blankets! What a nice reminder each time they are used!
I love this! I’ve been wanting to switch to cloth napkins and this may be the nudge I need!
That’s great, I hope you enjoy making your own cloth napkins. Sometimes we find the drive and nudge in a little inspiration.
Love the photos that go along with the steps!
Lovely project! I love linen fabrics as well. It has such a beautiful texture.
Thank you! Yes linen is the best fabric! It’s beautiful crisp and ironed, and when it’s just natural and rumpled!
We also try to stick with cloth napkins for environmental reasons. But I haven’t made my own yet. However, I now have your tutorial to get me started! Thanks for the wonderful idea and helpful instructions.
You’re welcome, I hope the instructions help. I love having a big stack of napkins around, it is such an easy alternative to paper!