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In this post: Pretty cotton napkins can be such a stunning addition to a table setting. We show you how to make cloth napkins in a few easy steps!

Like we mentioned in last week’s post, we’ve been working on the dining room. It’s actually finished – except for the floor which will come soon (check #projectlaminate on twitter and instagram for updates). We just can’t show you yet. Yeah, bummer. But it’s gorgeous!!! And we can hardly stand waiting to share it with you! We did share our re-purposed hutch/step back cupboard last week. And today we’re going to show you the napkins we made for the dining room reveal. You know, just to tease you a little more!

How To Make Cloth Napkins

how to make cloth napkins



Video Tutorial


Step-by-Step Tutorial

1. Decide on napkin size. Ours are of the smaller dinner napkin size. Then measure and cut out as many as you need from your cotton fabric. We chose to make 8, even though our new table only seats 6. Just in case.

first corner fold

2. With the cut napkin face down, fold and iron the corners in, as shown above.

second corner fold

3. Now fold in and iron about a half-inch all the way around (started in the photo above).

corner folded and pinned

4. Repeat with a second fold, making the corners meeting all neat and tidy (as shown above). Pin all four corners.

corner folded pinned and snipped

5. Trim off the little piece of excess fabric.

corner sewn

6. Using a sewing machine, sew around the napkin near the outside edge and then again near the inside edge of the hem.

That’s it! Easy peasy! Now go set a pretty table!

how to make cloth napkins placesetting

Do you prefer paper or cloth napkins? Have you ever made your own cloth napkins? Do you have a favorite spot to purchase pretty napkins – cloth or paper?

PS. We made smaller inexpensive linen napkins here, but I like size and the corners on these cotton ones much better!

shannon sign off

home made lovely book on table with get it now text button

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  1. Oh the napkins look so beautiful, love that fabric! Thanks for the handy size chart (I didn’t know that…) and looking forward to seeing your dining room reveal – I’m sure it will look gorgeous!

  2. That napkin template is such a good idea! Could I ask where you got your material from? (I really like the little bursts of colour).

    1. I wish! No, Bonnie, I bought the napkin rings from Chapters. They were originally $4.95 each – which I wasn’t about to pay. However when they went on sale for $2.50 each – I bought a bunch!

    1. Hi Janelle! We use paper more frequently too – three kids times three meals a day is a lot of napkin washing!

  3. I love cloth napkins, but am afraid I wouldn’t have the patience to make my own. If I did I probably wouldn’t let anyone use them for fear they got stained! Yours, however, are lovely! The colour is awesome and summery.

    1. It was a little boring to sew 8 identical napkins…I’m not much good with production jobs! But they are so adorable in the end. Absolutely worth it!

  4. Cloth napkins add such an elegant touch to everyday meals. Love how simple projects can have such a big impact. 🙂

  5. Thanks for the tutorial! I appreciated the graph showing napkin sizes, too. I recently bought a lovely set of monogrammed napkins ( estate sale) that measure 26 x 26. I had never seen any so large! Barbara

    1. I was so happy to find the fabric at our local fabric shoppe – usually only ugly fabrics or kids prints!

  6. I was wondering – the 2 yards requirement was enough to make your 8 napkins (the 22″x22″)? I’ve got a request to make 20 for my girlfriend who does a lot of entertaining and I’m trying to estimate yardage!

    1. It was, yes. But it depends on the width of your fabric. Just make sure whatever fabric you choose is wide enough.

  7. I’m confused about the fabric requirements. Eight 22″ napkins would require a width of 66″ – where did you find this width?

    1. You would need extra wide fabric like decorating fabric or you would need a little more than 2 yards/meters of fabric. If you want extra wide fabric do a google search for “extra wide fabric.”