How to Make Table Napkins

Written by ehow hobbies, games & toys editor
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Cloth table napkins are easy to make. Sew them for your own table, or sew them as gifts for others.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Cardboard
  • Dressmaker Pins
  • Fabric Chalks
  • Fabric Cutting Boards
  • Fabric-marking Pens
  • Fabrics
  • Ironing Boards
  • Irons
  • Sergers
  • Sewing Machine
  • Sewing Needles
  • Threads
  • Scissors
  • Pencil Or Pens
  • Poster Boards
  • Yardsticks

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  1. 1

    Choose a cotton or cotton-polyester blend fabric in the color or print of your choice. Purchase 1 yard of 45-inch-wide fabric for every four napkins.

  2. 2

    Prewash the fabric and press it with an iron.

  3. 3

    Make a template or pattern for your napkins out of any stiff poster board or cardboard. Your template should be square and should be 1/2 inch larger than your finished napkin size. For example, make a 16 1/2-inch-square template for a 16-inch-square napkin.

  4. 4

    Place the template on the wrong side of your fabric, and trace around the template with a fabric marking pen or fabric chalk.

  5. 5

    Repeat for each napkin.

  6. 6

    Cut out each fabric square along traced marking line.

  7. 7

    Press each raw fabric edge under 1/4 inch.

  8. 8

    Press that edge under once more.

  9. 9

    Pin the fabric edges into place so that the pins are perpendicular to the edges of the fabric. Use a sewing machine to stitch the napkin hem. When you reach a corner, lift the presser foot of the sewing machine and swivel the fabric so that your stitching line remains straight. Keep the needle inserted in the fabric as you reposition it.

  10. 10

    Hand sew the napkin hem in place with a backstitch if you do not have access to a sewing machine.

  11. 11

    Add a decorative touch to the finished napkins by sewing a decorative hand or machine stitch on the right side of the fabric along the edge of the napkin.

Tips and warnings

  • Choose holiday prints and complementary, solid colors if you are making napkins as a gift or will be using them to set your own holiday table.
  • Use a fabric cutting board and a yardstick or ruler to make a square template. The board has measuring guides printed on it.
  • Finish raw fabric edges before pressing the hem if the fabric looks like it will ravel easily. Finish the edges with one of the methods used in "How to Keep Raw Fabric Edges From Fraying" (see Related eHows).
  • Do a backstitch by bringing the needle up from the underside of the fabric and making a short backstitch. Bring the needle up again one stitch ahead. Put the needle in through the end of the first stitch and out a stitch ahead. Repeat as needed.
  • You can finish the edges of napkins with your sewing machine's overcast stitch or with a serger instead of hemming them. Use a contrasting color thread.

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