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Easy Cloth Napkins Sewing Tutorial

Easy DIY custom cloth napkins tutorial

We use cloth napkins for meals, and I send them in the kids’ lunches. You can buy polyester napkins very cheaply, but it can be surprisingly hard to buy cotton napkins with reasonably attractive designs. I recently discovered that fat quarters make great generously sized cloth napkins. You save time cutting fabric (not that it is very hard to cut out napkins, but with four kids I appreciate all time savers), but it’s also a fun way to get a wide variety of cloth napkins that suit different children’s personalities, or make for engaging dinner conversations. I let my kids pick out the prints above at JoAnn’s, and we used our 40% off coupon to make them even more affordable. I also made some more boring adult napkins with cotton fabric I bought by the yard, but these are more interesting to look at.

Easy Cloth Napkins Sewing Tutorial

cloth napkins sewing tutorial

Clover Wonder Clips* are the secret to easy napkin hemming! I discovered these only recently, and they are my favorite sewing tool (apart from my sewing machine*). Since these clips hold the fabric securely in place and are easy to remove, you can painlessly create a nice rolled hem without having to touch your iron!

Pick one side of the napkin to begin. First, roll the raw edge under, then roll the fabric one more time to hide the raw edge completely. Pin (or clip – it really is much easier) in place and stitch.

*This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.

Clover wonder clips are the secret to easy napkin hemming

Once you have stitched one side, stitch one of the adjacent sides. I prefer to work my way around the napkin clockwise, but that may be a right-handed thing. If you are careful about folding under your raw edge at the corner, it will be completely hidden:

cloth napkin with rolled hem - easy sewing tutorial

Repeat until all four sides are hemmed, and you are set! I hem them before washing, and so long as I pull them straight out of the dryer they only have small wrinkles like in the top photo. That’s good enough for my very non-perfectionist self, but you are welcome to iron yours until they are perfect!

What household projects are you working on?

MaryAnne at Mama Smiles
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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

19 thoughts on “Easy Cloth Napkins Sewing Tutorial”

  1. We switched to cloth napkins a few years ago to help cut down on waste and my friend suggested a different pattern for each person to avoid washing the napkins daily. What a great idea to sew your own!! When kids get to make their own napkins and pick out their own fabric, it makes them so special!!!

  2. We use cloth napkins, too. Even when I was a kid before it was the “green” thing to do, we used them. Since my mom has amassed so many of them over the years, she keeps sending me more and more so I haven’t had to make my own yet!

  3. Elisa | blissful E

    Fat quarters! Brilliant! They have the prettiest fabrics and so much variety! I made my cloth napkins using sheets from a charity shop and pinking shears, but I might attempt rolled hems if I got some of those clips…

  4. But, but, but…. ironing, you must iron your projects for flat seams. I have a foot that’s supposed to roll hems, but I’ve never been good at using it.
    I’ll admit I tend to be the ultimate in lazy and do a very narrow zig zag stitch that imitates serging it, and then I’m done.
    Okay, I need to go to bed before I ramble on some more in my head with various other comments. I’ve started a new sewing project, so my brain is in overdrive right now.

    1. Yes, but napkins only have rolled edges, not seams. Ironing seams also helps to set them, I learned the summer I was 18 when I took a couple sewing classes.

  5. I always tell myself I’m going to use up a lot of my leftover quilting fabric for napkins but never get around to it. Maybe this winter I finally will! I did use your weighted blanket tutorial to make a blanket for Parker for Christmas, and I think he has been sleeping better now that his covers aren’t sliding off in the middle of the night!

  6. I don’t do household projects but what a great idea to turn different cloths into napkins! We use napkins but they were from our wedding registry and by now are filthy and stained lol.

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