Friday, November 2, 2012

The Mission – Project #5 - Cloth Napkins

Okay Tiffany, I did it! 

About a month or so ago Tiffany at Don’t WasteThe Crumbs challenged me to take the leap and give up paper and go with cloth napkins.  She had written a great post about how she had bought some wash cloths at Target to use as napkins for her family and I thought it was a great idea. 

I have hesitated to go with cloth because one, I’m busy (isn’t everybody) and two, I didn’t have any and they are expensive to buy so I really didn’t want to make the big investment.  With everything else going on in my life I felt that making cloth napkins was not in the cards.  I thought her wash cloth idea was brilliant. 

However, I have a ton of fabric in this house and I’m trying to get rid of things and pare down so buying a bunch of wash cloths didn’t seem practical for me.  Instead I just sat down and started making them.  I had a ball making these and guess what?  They would make great gifts too.

I made my napkins in sets of six since there are three of us and I made 24 of them!  Super easy too.  It only took me half an hour to make my pattern, a 12½” X 12½” square made out of copy paper, and cut out the first set.  Another hour and I had all six of them sewn up. 

I cut two squares, placed right sides together and pinned the corners.  I stitched around the edge making a ¼” seam and leaving a 2” opening.  I clipped the corners and turned inside out pressing with an iron.  Then I topstitched along the edge 1/8” to close the opening and finish the edges. 

Once I got started I was on a roll and in one afternoon I was able to make two dozen napkins.  I also cut out a set of four in a harvest print to make up for our Thanksgiving table.  I probably could have finished them much faster but I am a relatively slow sewer and I change my thread a lot to match my fabrics.  I have a thing about my thread matching.  As I kept going though I got faster and pretty soon was able to get a set done in 45 minutes. 

When I showed the girls the finished napkins they were thrilled and could hardly wait to use them.  My youngest immediately went in and set the table for dinner.  How about that? 

Youngest daughter just had to sew one!

I used fabrics I already had on hand and had no idea what to do with.  The Hawaiian fabric came from a something someone had started and didn’t finish.  I couldn’t even tell you what it was supposed to be. 

We have been using these napkins for almost three weeks now and we are enjoying them immensely. Because I wash more dark loads than light I chose darker fabrics plus I figured this would help conceal any stains too.  I just throw them in with our regular wash and so far we have yet to run out of napkins. 

This project cost me nothing but my time and will save us considerably in our paper napkin consumption.  More importantly we just added some classiness to our dinner table.  I’d say we are getting pretty fancy around here. 

Do you use cloth or paper at your house?


  1. I love cloth napkins!

  2. I have made my cloth napkins for many years. I never thought to double the fabric. I'll bet that makes your napkins much more durable.

  3. We are a cloth napkin family. I first made them about 20 years ago when we were just flat poor. I used mismatched fabric scraps that I had. My husband likes fabric napkins so much, he almost cannot stand to use paper ones anymore.
    For people that don't sew, I often see fabric napkins at yard sales and thrift stores.

    1. When we first moved into our RV we when back to paper napkins and we didn't like them. Once we got our washing machine we immediately went back to cloth. We are spoiled now. Great idea about looking for them at yard sales and thrift stores.


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