Monday, November 18, 2013

Make your own cloth napkins....for the feast, of course!

cloth napkins pocket
Something I love about holidays, is the chance to class things up a bit, just for one day.  Fresh flowers decorating the front room, new soap in the bathrooms, specifically made for whatever holiday you're celebrating (pumpkin spice latte or cranberry pine) and your finest silver and china on display.  

If you've got all of the above, what else do you need for a really classy affair?  Cloth napkins.
It is so not me to just buy cloth napkins, so of course I am going to make them myself.  I wanted them to be fun and have a splash of color to add some festiveness.  It came to me that it would be so convenient if there were a silverware pocket in the napkin itself.  That way Uncle Boris doesn't take my fork when the pickle and cheese dish passes by and I'm distracted by the selections.
I did a bit of research on how big a formal cloth napkin should be.  They are approximately 20" x 20".  That is too huge.  So, I battled.  There was my need to be classy with my need to not use a hundred yards of fabric.  I met somewhere in the middle.
Supplies needed for Feast Napkins...
1. Enough white cotton and enough patterned cotton for as many napkins as you want to make.  I can get 9 napkins, measured 13 x 13 in a yard of white fabric.  So if you only need to make 9 napkins, you would need 1 yard of white and 1 yard of patterned.  White fabric on the front, a pretty pattern on the back.
2.  A selection of jewel-toned fabric cut in 1/4" lengths.  Whatever colors you like.  I have magenta, plum, turquoise, pumpkin and lime green.

Measure out your cutlery.  As you can see, mine came to 3 inches wide.  So, I cut my jewel-toned fabric 3.5 inches by 4.5 inches.
Fold each side over approximately 1/4".  This is something I just eye-balled, but you can be more accurate.  Iron it down so that the seem holds the crease.
 Do a scant stitch across the top of the pocket.   This is so there are no raw edges at the top.  Straggly, stringy raw edges= not classy.
Now, to get your pocket to line up evenly, I drew a line 2" from the bottom of the 13 x 13 inch square of white fabric with an erasable pen.  Then I drew a line straight down in the middle of the white fabric.
Draw a line straight down your pocket, directly in the middle.  Now line things up.  Put the bottom of the pocket on the line that goes across.  Make sure the line down the middle of the pocket lines up at the top and the bottom.  Pin it down.   This will ensure that all your napkins are exactly the same.
Starting at the top of one side, stitch a scant seam around the remaining 3 un-sewn sides of the pocket.  Make sure you've got your seam allowance tucked behind the pocket before you sew it down.  Backstitch at the beginning and the end.  Do not sew across the top!  First of all, you've already sewn it and are making a pocket, after all.  You need someplace for the silver to go.  So don't sew it shut.
Take your back piece of fabric, and lay it on the white fabric.  Front sides together.  Pin securely all the way around.
You are going to leave an unsewn space of about 3".  The reason for this is because you need to flip your napkin right side out.  So, to mark where I am going to leave the gap, I just do an X with pins.  I start at one X and sew all the way around and stop at the second X.  Make sure to backspace at the beginning and end so you don't rip out stitches.
Sew around the edges using a 1/4" seam allowance.
Flip it inside out.  Make sure to poke out your corners with the blunt tip of scissors or something.  Press the seams, making sure to press the un-sewn space matching what has already been sewn.  You don't want this part to stick out funny so match it up with the sewn bits.   Do a scant stitch around the entire edge of the napkin.  This does two things, it gives you a decorative edge of stitching, but it also closes up the space that's left where you flipped the napkins right-side out.
Done.  If you think this looks like too much work, don't worry, it's actually a very snappy project.  Once you get going, you'll be surprised how quickly you get these completed.
See how nicely they fit.  See how straight the lines are on your pocket!!

Get creative.  I tied my napkins with a gold ribbon, placed them on top of the plates and called them gorgeous.
Try cloth napkins this year...classy!  Even if your cheese and pickle plate includes sliced Velveeta. 

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Oh heather they're so pretty what a great idea.

  2. Your posts always make me smile. I am oddly intrigued that you have an uncle named Boris. Your custom napkins turned out beautifully. How many did you have to make? I love the cutlery pocket you added. Such a great idea.

  3. Velveeta...YUM! :P Will you remind me about this again next year? I just might be able to have people over by then. :)


  4. Still as beautiful as ever Heather! I hope to be eating my Thanksgiving dinner outdoors on a picnic table this year!

  5. I agree, one of the best parts of holding a holiday party is the sprucing up you get to do around the house. Your napkins are so cute and clever, and sure to deter the Boris's of the world from stealing your cutlery ;)

  6. I love them! Pinning this one cuz I am definitely going to make these. Good job Heather.

  7. You talented lady, you! Very smart, functional and pretty. You really went out of your way, looking up how big "real" cloth napkins are. I'm glad you were realistic in what size you needed though, because I'm sure everyone that uses your pattern will feels that way, too.
    Who doesn't offer Velveeta at family gatherings?


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