everyday napkins

Here is another project I just finished.  I wanted to make simple, functional and beautiful cloth napkins to use in our home.  I wanted to make them really just to save some money, so we wouldn’t have to continue buying paper products over and over.  It felt like we were using them up all too quickly.  But this is a great project if you simply want to have a nice set of cloth napkins for dinner parties or holidays.

I knew we’d be using these napkins often, for our faces and hands and near our food, which is why I chose organic cotton fabric for material.  Cotton is known to use the most insecticides of any crop in the world, and there is reason to believe residues remain on the cotton even after processing.

(http://www.ota.com/organic/environment/cotton_environment.html)

Here is the fabric I chose- an undyed organic cotton fabric (from nearseanaturals.com)

undyed organic cotton fabric

The subtle pattern of lines matched with the light earthy tones made it perfect for every day use, and perfect for matching any decor I thought we might have.  One yard yielded 8 napkins.  I found napkin patterns throughout the internet, some of them being as large as 16″ by 16″.  Here’s my opinion- make them whatever size you want.  If you only have one yard, get as much use out of that one yard as you can.  I cut mine at about 14 1/2″ by 14 1/2″ with a little fabric leftover.  The final napkin ended up measuring about 13- 13 1/2″ on each side.  Again I firmly believe sewing projects do not have to be perfect in order to be functional and beautiful.  I would not be doing this today if I believed I had to be perfect in all my measurements.

The basic idea of the napkin is easy, it was however a little tedious.  Press one side of the napkin in 1/4″.  Press that over again about another 1/4″.  At that point I would sew that side and then move on the next side of that napkin.  Three steps to each side, 4 sides to the napkin.  Simple, but takes a little time.  There is the possibility of folding all the sides then sewing all 4 sides at once, but I found that was more difficult for me and opted to sew one side at a time.  Here is what my corners look like finished:

finished corner

Although sewing napkins could be somewhat tedious if you had a lot of napkins to make, overall I found mine turned out better than I imagined.  The organic fabric is soft and perfectly functional.  Even my husband thought they turned out great!  Here is one last tip for caring for cloth napkins.  To keep cloth napkins always looking great, treat stains immediately after you are done using the napkin.  Not necessarily in the middle of dinner, but after dinner is over.  I have since done this and found the napkin looking brand new.

Here are a couple more pictures to inspire.

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