There’s so much to love about DIY cloth napkins. They are quick and easy to make, eco-friendly, and a beautiful addition to your table.
With the right fabric, handmade napkins can add color and style to your dining room to make every meal feel extra special.
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How to Make Cloth Napkins
- Soft, absorbent fabric (like cotton, linen or a mix of both)
- Measuring tape
- Iron and ironing board
- Sewing pins
- Sewing machine (or needle and thread)
Step 1: Cut Fabric
Wash and dry your fabric so it won’t shrink later on. Then cut it into squares one inch bigger than you want your finished napkins to be.
For example, if you want standard 20×20-inch dinner napkins, cut 21-inch squares. If you want 18×18-inch napkins, cut 19-inch squares.
Since I had one yard (36 inches) of the rainbow grid fabric, I cut 18-inch squares to make the most napkins.
Step 2: Fold and Iron Edges
Next, with the back of the fabric facing up toward you, fold over the edges by a quarter-inch and iron them in place all the way around each napkin.
If you can’t tell which side is the front or back, it probably doesn’t matter. I just picked a side before cutting the fabric to keep all the napkins consistent. 🙂
Step 3: Fold and Iron Edges Again
Now fold those edges over by another quarter-inch, so that the frayed edges of the fabric will be hidden under the seams. Iron the edges all the way around each square.
Step 4: Create Mitered Corners
At this point, you could skip ahead and sew your napkins with the corners folded over twice. But the corners can be pretty bulky that way, so I prefer to miter them.
To do that, just unfold each napkin corner and cut off a triangle (a quarter-inch above where the final corner of your napkin will be) to remove some of the extra fabric.
Then fold that diagonal fabric section over by a quarter-inch, and fold the adjacent sides of your fabric over twice like before. Iron each mitered corner to secure it in place.
You can see this process in action in my video.
Step 5: Pin and Sew Your Napkins!
Finally, pin the sides and corners of your napkins to help hold the edges down. Then sew a simple seam around the border of each napkin.
Finish off the stitching, and your napkins are ready to hit the dinner table!
Cloth Napkins to Save the Trees
It’s easy to cut back on disposable napkins and paper towels when you have handmade cloth napkins. I’ve been making bunches so we always have some available.
They make any meal feel fancy, and you can embellish them with your favorite accessories to dress up the table.