I prefer cloth napkins to paper ones any day. Not just that they look better, and make your party look more festive, but they are also eco-friendlier and come less expensive in the long run. Cloth napkins can get expensive though, especially if you are buying for large parties and want a different look every time.
My solution: I often sew them myself.
When you are picking fabric for napkins you want it to be heavier and thicker so the napkins will be easy to fold and they’ll look better and also will stay looking good wash after wash. A few times I’ve been buying too thin fabric, and it just doesn’t work as well. For my backyard makeover I found this beautiful sheet set, that almost looks like hand printed, and I wanted to create napkins that would continue the “hand made” look with fringe edges.
I bought a full size sheet set for $29 and saved the flat sheet and pillow case and only used the fitted sheet for the napkins. Usually flat sheets are the easiest to work with, but I needed them for other things in the backyard makeover, and didn’t want the fitted sheet to go wasted so I made these napkins out of them.
Usually I make sure I cut every piece of fabric the exact same size and spend a lot of time making sure I sew straight – this time I used a piece of heavy cardboard and drew the sewing lines to each napkin and used starch to stick two pieces of fabric together making it super easy project.
DIY EASY FRINGE NAPKIN TUTORIAL
Needle, scissors, sewing machine, 13″ square piece of cardboard
1. Cut the sheet in approximately 17 inch wide squares. It’s ok if they are cut by free hand or not perfectly 17 inch wide. Cut two squares per one napkin. For examples, if you want to make 8 napkins, cut 16 squares.
2. Match two squares together and make sure the direction of the fabric is the same in both, and the back sides of the fabric together so you will see the right side and the print on both sides.
3. Iron the two squares together using heavy starch. You want the fabric squares to be nice and crispy and sticking to each others. That way you don’t have to hand sew nor use pins to keep them together when you are sewing them together.
4. Cut a 13″ square piece of cardboard.
5. Place the cardboard in the middle of each square fabric pair and draw the lines with a pencil or chalk. These will be your lines to sew on.
6. Sew the two fabric squares together on the line you drew on.
7. After you have done all of your napkins, throw them in a washer or spray them wet and throw them in a dryer. The edges will start fringing and you will get the nice look for your napkins.
8. Cut the extra fringes off and even the sides of the napkin. It’s OK if they are sort of wide, they will get shorter on each wash and you will need to trim them after each wash. (I didn’t make mine wide enough)
9. Pick a contrasting color yard (I used needlepoint yarn, you want yarn that won’t bleed into fabric when you wash it) and stitch the napkins along the sewn line to give the napkins the hand made last touch.
10. You can still trim them the last time and iron them well to get them nice and crispy!