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Thread: Making Napkins

  1. #1
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    Making Napkins

    We are going green this year and I have decided to make my own cloth napkins for everyday use. What is the best fabric to use that is durable and easy to care for...and does anyone have a good pattern? I realize it's only a square but how would you finish them off?Thanks!!! MA

  2. #2
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    Don't know the answer but..........how many would you be making? Clean ones every meal, everyday? Laundering, I would think would cancel out the " green" I think paper napkins are made from recycled something, and when returned to recycling bin are again " recycled" into something?...JMHO

  3. #3
    Super Member quiltedsunshine's Avatar
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    I made a set that are 13" square, and finished them with a rolled hem on my serger. The fabric is 2 layers of 100% cotton, and they seem to wear pretty well.

    You could also cut your squares and sew them right sides together. Then turn them and top-stitch.

    Makes me wonder what those heavier restaurant napkins are made out of. Those just have a narrow hem all the way around.

    Good for you, for going green!
    Annette in Utah

  4. #4
    Super Member Jeanne S's Avatar
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    I make mine 16" square. I use regular cotton fabric, usually a print which helps disguise stains. I just use a single thickness with a simple rolled hem so there are no raw edges to unravel.

  5. #5
    Super Member RainyBC's Avatar
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    My DDIL requested pretty Christmas Napkins which will not be used everyday. I sewed 2 squares 18 inches together, turned them and stop stitched. She wanted the backs and fronts in different fabrics and since I aim to please that's what I did. The quilting cotton I used will need to be pressed when laundered. She was pleased with them.

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  6. #6
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    If you belong to Sam's club, they have poly/cotton blend napkins for 8 or 9 dollars a dozen, so less than $1 each. for that amount of money, I wouldn't make them myself. They actually are pretty nice, hemmed not serged. I always have a dozen or so on hand so if I need a quick gift, I just embroider an initial or small motif in the corner. I also use them and they wash up nicely.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  7. #7
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    I have some poly-cotton for everyday and they are not very absorbent/useful. We much prefer our heavy linen/cotton ones (white). So I would go for a natural fabric. I did have a pattern saved, but can't locate it just now. If it turns up I will post a link.

  8. #8
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    I've made napkins from both a poly-cotton blend, and pure cotton. For sure, I much prefer the 100% cotton napkins--they feel much nicer to the touch, and they are absorbent, whereas the poly-cotton ones are not absorbent. Some of my napkins are over 20 years old, and they are very dear to me, stains and all. I also prefer double sided napkins that are made from two fabrics, but that is just a personal preference. Have fun with them. Don't agonize over the decision--just make them and enjoy them. They don't even need ironing unless you are having a dinner party; and sometimes, even then, they don't need ironing--just depends on who the guests are.

  9. #9
    Super Member IrishgalfromNJ's Avatar
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    I found this tutorial on a blog on how to make nice mitered corners on napkins. She also talks about linen fabric in her post.

    http://www.nicoleathome.com/2013/05/...-two-ways.html

  10. #10
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    Antique and resale shops always have stacks of linen table napkins for sale.........or linen tableclothes to cut into napkins.......

  11. #11
    Super Member juliea9967's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link. That is a great tutorial. I am off to my stash to find some fabric for napkins!

    Quote Originally Posted by IrishgalfromNJ View Post
    I found this tutorial on a blog on how to make nice mitered corners on napkins. She also talks about linen fabric in her post.

    http://www.nicoleathome.com/2013/05/...-two-ways.html

  12. #12
    Super Member kuntryquilter's Avatar
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    I make them with cotton fabric, have bought cheap cotton sheets and made them. Also left over cotton fabric from a quilt or table runner. I don't hem mine, just serge.

    I like large napkins that cover my lap, so they are 18" square
    Last edited by kuntryquilter; 01-04-2015 at 04:44 AM. Reason: Needed to add a line.

  13. #13
    Super Member KenmoreGal2's Avatar
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    My family of 5 has been using cloth napkins everyday for over 15 years now. I've acquired them in many ways - at yard sales, thrift stores and I've also made them from fabric scraps and used sheets (washed of course!) I also prefer cotton, it's more absorbent. I like my napkins 22" square but that's my personal thing. When I make them, I hem the edges and don't worry too much about how perfect my corners are.

    You definitely don't have to wash your napkins after every meal!! Many meals they hardly get touched. The important thing in my mind is to make sure every family member uses the same napkin every night. To be swapping napkins is a bit yucky. When they get dirty, I wash them but I find that can sometimes stretch out to a week or longer depending on what we are eating. When we have a really messy meal like ribs, I use paper napkins.

    I've found 2 different ways to make sure each family member always has their own personal napkin. If you eat at a table which must be cleared off afterwards, you can buy a different color napkin ring for each family member and when they are not eating, their napkin is contained in that ring. We kept the napkins in a decorated basket on the table when they weren't in use. For the past 10+ years we've eaten our dinners in the dining room (not the kitchen) which helped with the napkins a lot. The table is always set and we always sit in the same place. So each of us has his own napkin at the ready all the time.

    A patterned fabric will hide stains better. When we ate in the kitchen we used a variety of solids and patterns. The kids actually enjoyed picking their own "napkin of the week". Since we moved to the dining room, I use patterned table cloths to hide the stains which means I had to switch to solid color napkins. I still use a variety of colors though, all coordinating with the tablecloth. (I must have a stash of 40 napkins). Sometimes they get stained with oils and look unsightly. At that point they become rags and I make some new ones. It's a very easy project.

    I commend you on wanting to switch to cloth. It's really not a big deal to maintain them and it saves a heck of a lot of trees.
    Last edited by KenmoreGal2; 01-04-2015 at 05:07 AM.

  14. #14
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    I've been using linen napkins for years, linen holds up well, a very tough fabric. I make mine 16" square, then they are large enough for the occasional fancy folding and linen comes in wider widths than regular cottons 56" - 60". I just press a narrow ( double fold1/4") hem around them & straight stitch.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  15. #15
    Super Member AnnT's Avatar
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    I use cotton and make mine ! 18 - 22" because I like a big napkin. We always used cloth napkins growing up ( 5 kids, 2 parents, 1 grandparent)and Momma washed them once a week. We each had a different napkin ring and put the napkin back in the ring after eating. We always knew which one was ours. We learned to be careful and neat!
    Last edited by AnnT; 01-04-2015 at 05:46 AM.
    Take time to recharge your batteries. Itís hard to see where youíre going when your lights are dim. Robert H. Connelly

  16. #16
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    I agree with PaperPrincess, Sams and Costco sell them cheaper than you can make them. They hold up well, we've been using them for years. We made personalized napkin rings and everyone just slides their napkin back in it and we can use them for a week. Then they are washed with colorfast bleach.

  17. #17
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    I like using pretty dish cloths. They are absorbent, and wash nicely. I have a small laundry basket in kitchen so when dishes go out there, so does our "napkins". We use nice dish towels as bibs when eating a messy food.

  18. #18
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    Why have 2 layers of material? I've have never seen any napkins anywhere with 2 layers. Just wondering.

  19. #19
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    I've always used a single layer of fabric and used a 1/4" hem on them. I turned the edges twice so there would be no unfinished edge.

  20. #20
    Senior Member leighway's Avatar
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    I made several hundred for my son's restaurant. I used natural colored lightweight cotton canvas, which will drape but will withstand the real test of time. I used my serger and made a rolled hem and made them each 19" square, which allowing for shrinkage still gives a good cover. Every time I use one (I kept some for myself) I get pleasure from the organic feel and the simplicity. Oh and I used Made in USA canvas. That was important to me.

  21. #21
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    I have a bunch of linen napkins from an estate sale. Few stains that will not come out. Haven't decided what to do with them but know I will try a couple designs for hand embroider. Or maybe just stuffed doggie beds. or extra for piecing for crazy quilt. Have washed them often because of odd odor. Even bleached them. They held up ok.

  22. #22
    Super Member tesspug's Avatar
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    I made some with homespun and just used a square and pulled out threads to make a fringe on all sides. This site has all kinds. http://www.babble.com/crafts-activit...next-slideshow
    I promise not to buy any more fabric until I see something I really like. Or it's on sale. Or I think it might match something.

  23. #23
    Power Poster lynnie's Avatar
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    I cut mine to fat quarter size. I buy a yard of fab and make four on the serger. love them soft and absorbent, I buy cute holiday fabs. now starting for everyday fabs.
    put off till tomorrow what you can do today, and if you procrastinate long enough, you may never have to do it.

  24. #24
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    I use only cloth napkins...I like good old cotton fabric for ware and the feel of it..

  25. #25
    Super Member clem55's Avatar
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    I bought several old tablecloths at a yard sale, didn't use them for napkins, but dishtowels! They work great!!

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