Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Making Cloth Napkins

I’ve talked about no sew napkins here before. I’ve made some myself, which weren’t as cute as those, but just an old pillowcloth cut into squares. They are definitely frayed and not necessarily fit for company but serve just fine as multipurpose rags/napkins. But now, my new roommate (who is also my best friend – yay) has a sewing machine, which means I can finally try sewing projects like cloth napkins.

I went to Mood Fabric, and was disappointed to see that despite being what I understand is New York’s premier fabric store, their organic section was limited to ten solid print colors of cotton twill. The clothing industry needs to catch up with the food industry and keep working toward the Sustainable Apparel Index.

It was probably the first time I’d used a sewing machine since home ec in middle school. The sewing itself wasn’t too hard, and I didn’t care that my stitches weren’t straight, because they are just napkins after all. But the time intensive part was all the pinning. First, I washed the fabric and ironed it. Then I laid out an existing cloth napkin I had as a pattern to cut pieces around. Then for each napkin, I folded over the edge, pinned it into place, sewed the seam, ironed it to hold the stitch, and then folded over the edge again and pinned, sewed and ironed again. According to The Kitchn, you could get away with just ironing over the first seam and only pinning and sewing the second seam, which I will try next time. I would also do some actual measuring because they came out as uneven rectangles.

I bought two yards and was able to make two large restaurant-size napkins and four smaller half-size napkins, which someone got for his birthday, with a jar of my pickled banana peppers. I still have almost a yard of fabric leftover so I can make some more napkins for my own apartment when I have enough time for all that pinning.


  1. VERY cool! although I don`t have a sewing machine, I might try to hand stitch some... (haha, maybe, probably only get one done and then realize that a sewing machine is ideal).

    Lisa (EcoYogini)

  2. I think my project for this Sunday will be to make some napkins and pepper jelly (with my daughter) Thank you