For a few years now, our family has used cloth napkins. We’ve grown accustomed to it, and we don’t think twice anymore about pulling them out for meals. We still use paper napkins (usually) with guests. Ours are getting so old, they are a bit stained, but honestly, I’m surprised they don’t look worse than they do.
With kids, the cloth napkins work extra well. Sometimes they turn into washcloths. They are super absorbent (think baby food everywhere!). And, my 11 month old can’t eat them. (He gravitates toward any form of paper and chews it right off.)
My mom has commented a few times about our cloth napkins. She said she needed to make some for her and my dad to use. I wrote down a little note a long time ago to make her some for Christmas, and I followed through this year. (I hope you liked your gift, Mom!)
They were a super easy project and took a few hours one afternoon.
Here’s how I made them.
An old pair of jeans you don’t wear anymore
Terry cloth (This is my go to terry cloth. I tried switching back to the lower priced cloth, but I couldn’t do it after trying this plush micro-fiber kind. Especially if you are making a gift, the price is worth it!)
Basic sewing supplies (cutting mat, rotary cutter, pins, thread, etc.)
1. Cut your jeans into five inch by five inch squares. You are going to use four squares per napkin. Since I made four napkins, I needed sixteen squares.
2. Sew your five inch by five inch squares into pairs. I used a quarter of an inch seam allowance. While precision is always good, don’t be too concerned about it with this project. Relax and enjoy the sewing here. Next time you sew a quilt, worry about precision. 🙂
3. Iron your seams open and sew the pairs into sets of four. Once again, I recommend using a quarter of an inch seam allowance.
4. Using a set of four squares as a pattern, lay it on top of your terry cloth. Cut four pieces of terry cloth approximately the same size or a bit bigger than your napkin top.
Because of the texture of terry cloth, it may slip a bit while you are sewing. To allow for a bit of inaccuracy, I recommend cutting it liberally. Maybe cut the terry cloth about a quarter of an inch bigger than the denim.
5. After you have your terry cloth cut, lay the denim and terry cloth right sides together. Pin around the perimeter. Once again, since terry cloth can easily slip while sewing, I recommend using lots of pins.
6. Sew around the perimeter of your wrong sides out napkin leaving a three or four inch hole. You will eventually sew the hole closed, but you will first use it to flip your napkin right side out.
To avoid pulling too much at the threads when flipping it right side out, I always back stitch a few times on either side of the hole I leave.
7. Flip your napkin right side out using the hole you left.
8. Using the seams as a guide, quilt a quarter of an inch off each of the seams.
You don’t need to back stitch to secure your quilting lines. We will eventually sew around the entire perimeter. This will secure your threads.
9. Tuck the terry cloth and denim in where you left the hole.
Sometimes before flipping the napkin right side out, I will trim around the edges and trim off the corners. This often makes for a cleaner look when it’s finished. BUT, I don’t trim the terry cloth by the remaining hole. When I have a little more terry cloth to tuck in, it is easier to get a good clean fabric sandwich like the below picture.
10. Sew around the perimeter of your napkin. This will sew up the hole you left, and it will secure the stitches from the quilting on top of the napkin.
I rolled mine up, tied a ribbon around them, and wrapped them in a pretty box for Christmas. I paired them with some white cereal bowls from Anthropologie.
These would also make a very pretty house warming gift.
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