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How to Make Your Own Cloth Napkins

Tutorial by Heather from Life in God’s Country

Materials needed:

  • For 12-12″ napkins and 2-20″ bread basket napkins:
  • 2 1/3 yards fabric (44/45″ wide)
  • Thread to match fabric
  • Rotary cutter & mat (not required, but very helpful)


Wash your fabric then iron it.

For the breadbasket napkins, cut a strip 22″ wide by the width of the fabric (44/45″). Cut this in half. You should have 2-22″ squares. (Trim to make it square, if necessary.)

For the napkins, cut the remaining fabric into strips 14″ wide by the width of the fabric (44/45″). Then, cut each strip into 3 equal pieces. You should have 12-14″ squares. (Trim to make it square, if necessary.)

To create the hemmed edges:
On each piece of fabric, using a straight stitch, sew a 1/4″ seam on all 4 sides. Trim the corners so when you fold in the sides, you’ll reduce the bulk of fabric.

Fold the fabric (wrong sides together) on the stitching line then fold it in again. Iron the hem to hold it together before you stitch it.

Using a straight stitch (or decorative stitch, if you prefer), sew the folded edges down.

Fold each piece in quarters and you have a nice gift set of napkins.

Heather and her husband, Phillip, own Bogie’s Deli in downtown Abilene, TX. Heather is a stay-at-home mom to their two girls, ages 3 and 10 months, and is actively involved in MOPS. Visit her blog, Life in God’s Country.

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  • This is so clever and looks easy enough to do. I am a wannabe DIY mama so I need crafts that are not to challenging 🙂

  • Rose says:

    I got a fabric bread basket from a friend for Christmas one year and still use it all the time…. make a quilted square and sew a ribbon about 2″ from each corner on each side and tie up to make a basket shape…. very easy and washable and looks cute on the table…

  • Scott says:

    A lot easier than I thought it would be, awesome!

  • Tabitha says:

    Thanks so much for this great tutorial…GREAT to have some easy projects to pass the time this winter.
    Happy Holidays to all!

  • Robin says:

    I like making mine reversible also.

  • Kimberly says:

    I love this! A great gift to make for Christmas. Do you prefer to use cotton or a blend? I have a ton of quilt fabric that would seem to do well for napkins, I just wonder if the fabric would be ‘sturdy’ enough to hold up.

    • Lana says:

      Either one wil be fine as long as the polyester content isn’t more than the cotton. Cotton feels best on the face but I make them out of whatever I find clearance. Flannel napkins are awesome for everyday use because they are so soft and absorbent. I have sets of napkins 15 years old that are just now getting threadbare and we use cloth everyday. They hold up amazingly well.

  • Melanie says:

    I love cloth napkins and have quite a collection. I’ve been making napkins for years and I prefer to serge the edges with a rolled hem. If you have a serger it’s less work and napkins with rolled hems tend not to curl and need ironing as much as hemmed ones do.

  • Lucky says:

    One of my goals for next year is to learn to sew — this might be my first project. Thanks!

  • Judith says:

    My aunt has some pretty Thanksgiving tablecloths she purchased some years back. She purchased an extra one and made her napkins out of it, so the napkins match the tablecloth.

  • Lana says:

    We like really large napkins so I make 8 napkins out of 2 1/4 yards of fabric for napkins that are 21 inches square. I have purchased fabric after every holiday of the year and have many sets of napkins for every holiday. It took me years to find a fabric for birthday napkins but I finally did and they are birthday tradition. I have many sets of napkins made of Christmas fabrics and we use them everyday throughout December.

  • Amanda says:

    What kind of fabic is used for these?

  • Annie says:

    In an effort to save more money by eliminating paper napkin purchases, I’ve been thinking about cutting up one of my tablecloths to make more cloth napkins. THank you for the template shown here. My thought has been confirmed. A nice christmas break project.

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