How to Sew a Simple Napkin

Sewing cloth napkins is a great way to practice your sewing machine skills. Here’s a quick tutorial that will have you dining in style in no time!

What you need:

  • Fabric (I'm using a simple muslin that I had on hand because I'll be embellishing my napkins later. For fabric calculation, a ‘luncheon’ napkin is usually 12" square whereas a ‘dinner’ napkin can be anywhere from 18" to 20" square.)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • A sewing machine

What you do:

Using your ruler, cut squares of fabric ONE INCH LARGER than what you want your final dimensions to be to accommodate for seam allowances. In my case, I’m cutting 13" inch squares because I’m making 12" napkins.

How to Sew a Simple Napkin

Next, fold over the right and left sides of the fabric 1/4". Press well.

Turn these edges in 1/4" once again and press.

Fold the corners over, forming a small right triangle, like so. You’re going to want to do this to all four corners. Press each well.

Now, fold over the top and bottom edges of the fabric 1/4". Press well.

Turn these edges over 1/4" once again; press and pin.

Pin the rest of your edges as necessary and then simply sew your seams with a straight or fancy machine stitch.

Press well, and you’re done! (Stay tuned for the embellishment part!!)

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DIY Maven on Feb 21, 2008:

No--I didn't embroider them ;)  You'll have to check back to see!

Yeah, the corner cut makes a great-looking fold, but I've found it a little tedious. The raw edges always seem to want to peek out for me--especially when making smaller seams. I've also made a few dozen napkins out of a poly blend. I just sewed 1/4" from my raw edges and then frayed the salvage. The non-natural fabric is great for everyday use, as it doesn't stain or wrinkle.

Chris Gardner on Feb 21, 2008:

Cool, I'ma make some this weekend.

I read something once about slitting the corners for a better fold. Any thoughts? 

ModHomeEcTeacher on Feb 21, 2008:

I Wanna know!!!!!  Are you going to embroider? 

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