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Handmade cloth napkins are simple and quick to make. These DIY cloth napkins are a great way to use up excess material scraps. In my case, it was a great way use up a mistaken overbuy of material.
My two school aged boys have a bad habit of using a paper napkin only once then grabbing another one and another one and another one. Before I know it there are 6 napkins used in one meal. I hated throwing away those partially used napkins. I also hated buying something that I knew I could make and reuse.
I have been noticing more and more posts about creating a paperless kitchen. Living with a 4 year old boy and a 6 year old boy who both believe that it’s acceptable to lick the ranch dressing off their plates, this might be dicey. I wasn’t quite ready to toss out the paper toweling. Where would I drain the bacon? (we eat A LOT of bacon). Therefore I decided to try cloth napkins for my start at a less wasteful kitchen.
Big-C likes to be a part of daily chores and crafts, so when he can’t help with the actual crafting (iron and sewing machine are Mom’s only…for now) I try to set something up that is similar. Luckily his thoughtful cousin got him this ironing set for Christmas this year. He did a great such a great job, I may just have to teach him how to use the real iron!
Click on the images below to see other posts on how my kids are involved in daily chores and why it’s important for their development!
Cloth Napkins: a tutorial
First and foremost you will be washing and rewashing these cloth napkins after they are used. It is imperative that you pre-wash and dry the fabric. I try to wash my fabrics right after I buy them from the store. If I don’t wash them right away I will either forget if I pre-washed or be too impatient to wash them when all I want to do is create something. Try to pre-wash right when you purchase and they will be ready to go when you get your craftiness ON!
Cut your material for the cloth napkins into 12″ x 12″ squares. The napkins end up being 11″ x 11″ napkin squares, approximately. Let’s just say I am not accurate when I measure and cut material, in this case THAT IS OKAY!! They are napkins, it is not a dress you are making so if you cut one a little short and another a bit big, it’s fine. If you want larger napkins, by all means make them larger.
Using the presser foot of your sewing machine as a guide sew a straight stitch around the entire material. This will give you about a 1/4″ mark.
No Pinning Needed
Trim off the corner outside of the sew line to decrease the amount of fabric that will collect there as you iron and sew the open edges inside.
Press the edge of the material around the cloth napkin using the straight stitch you just made as a guide, there is no need for pinning. Using the edge of your presser foot as a guide sew around the edge of material a second time. The rough edge will then be folded over but still exposed.
Head back to your iron. Fold and press the edges again to tuck the open edge into the hem to leave a nice clean look. You will sew around the cloth napkins a third and final time to finish the craft. When sewing towards the corners it is easier to approach up the material as in the picture below.
If you fold the corners in the other direction your presser foot will not ride over the material smoothly, as shown in the photo below. As you approach your corner all you have to do is tuck it in the correct way and you will have no problems.
Viola you are done, enjoy your new cloth napkins! I just throw them into the wash with the rest of the clothes after we use them, and they come out great.
The playset Big-C is helping out with is the Melissa & Doug Laundry Basket Play Set.