Simple Cloth Napkins

When my daughter was a baby she hated getting dirty.  Even the littlest bit of food on her hands had her shooting them into the air to get them as far from her as she could.  I recently realized, as I watched her adoring fiancé peel her shrimp for her because she didn’t want to get messy, she hasn’t changed one bit.

Because of my daughter’s aversion to mess, as well as the other people in our house who she may have inherited her issue from, napkins are a must at every meal.  When you use paper, that can turn into a lot of trash.  Fortunately, cloth napkins are an easy and pretty solution.

Simple Cloth Napkins - Crafty Staci 1
Simple Cloth Napkins - Crafty Staci 1

The key to good cloth napkins is the fabric used to make them.  Anything that is made from synthetic fibers, or even has synthetic mixed in, isn’t going to absorb as well as a natural fiber.  Cotton, hemp and bamboo all work well.  Because natural fibers tend to shrink when washed, you may want to prewash your fabric before you begin.  Otherwise, make your napkins a little larger to account for shrinkage.

Simple Cloth Napkins - Crafty Staci 2
Simple Cloth Napkins - Crafty Staci 2

You can make these napkins any size you like.  Simply cut the square one inch larger than you’d like your finished napkin to be.  For instance, I wanted to end up with 10 inch napkins, so I cut 11 inch squares.

Simple Cloth Napkins - Crafty Staci 3
Simple Cloth Napkins - Crafty Staci 3

Making fancy mitered corners on your napkins isn’t as difficult as you might think. 

  1. Fold both raw edges in 1/2” and press.
  2. Fold back out.
  3. Fold the corner up from where the two folds meet.
  4. Clip the corner off.
  5. Fold the two sides up again and press.
  6. Fold each side under 1/4” to meet the inner fold and press.
  7. Ready for stitching.

Here’s a little graphic to show the steps:

Simple Cloth Napkins - Mitered Corners - Crafty Staci 4
Simple Cloth Napkins - Mitered Corners - Crafty Staci 4

Turn the remaining raw edges in to match the corners, creating a 1/4” rolled hem.  Stitch all the way around, close to the inner fold.

Simple Cloth Napkins - Crafty Staci 5
Simple Cloth Napkins - Crafty Staci 5

Press the entire napkin well.  You could also fold it into quarters and press those folds in if you’d like.

Simple Cloth Napkins - Crafty Staci 6
Simple Cloth Napkins - Crafty Staci 6

They really are that easy.  This is a great project for fat quarters or to use up random small pieces of fabric.  These are also a quick, inexpensive but personal gift.

Simple Cloth Napkins - Crafty Staci 7
Simple Cloth Napkins - Crafty Staci 7

Now the trick will be to get everyone to use them.  I’ve got to go cook something messy.

Simple Cloth Napkins - Crafty Staci 8
Simple Cloth Napkins - Crafty Staci 8