The Best Fabric to Use to Make Cloth Napkins

Cloth napkins are easy to make, and after your initial purchase of supplies to make them, they can save you money long term. There are no rules as to the type of fabric you should use for cloth napkins, but some fabrics are better than others. Generally, you want to look for fabrics that are wrinkle resistant, easy to fold, smooth in texture and aesthetically pleasing.


Cotton fabric is a popular choice for cloth napkins because it is easy to launder and sew. Cotton is also preferred because it comes in a variety of colours, prints and textures. Cotton may shrink when exposed to heat, so it is advisable to select a fabric that is a blend of cotton and polyester.


Linen is a natural fibre that is commonly chosen for napkins because it is both luxurious and durable. Linen is also absorbent and strong. Linen napkins are often handed down in families as an heirloom. One drawback to using linen for fabric napkins is the fact that it is not a wrinkle-resistant fabric. Linen napkins often need to be ironed before use.


Hemp is another fabric made from a natural fibre that is used to make fabric napkins. Hemp is made from the stems of the marijuana plant, but it contains no illegal drugs. It is an extremely strong, absorbent and durable fabric that looks similar to linen.

Silk and Satin

Silk and satin are often used to make fabric napkins for formal occasions such as weddings and other formal dinners. Brocades woven from silk or satin along with taffeta are also used to make formal napkins. However, other than the aesthetic appeal, these fabrics are not ideal for cloth napkins because they are not typically absorbent and they do not launder easily.

Terry Cloth

Terry cloth is made from a blend of fibres. When it is woven on the loom, loops are formed to make a plush pile on top of the fabric base. Some of the fibres that might be used to make terry cloth might include cotton, linen, polyester, spandex, rayon, silk and nylon. Terry cloth is most commonly used to make towels, but it can also be used to make cloth napkins.

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About the Author

Hillary Marshall has been writing professionally since 2006. Before writing instructional articles online, she worked as a copywriter and has been published in "Ideal Living" "Sass" "Science Edge" and "Shopping Cents" magazines along with countless websites including Gadling a blog by the Huffington post. Marshall studied early childhood education at the Stratford Career Institute.