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How to Make Cloth Napkins

Cloth napkins are relatively inexpensive to purchase. However, making your own allows you to customize material and pattern to precise events, dinnerware, or interior decorating motif. The key to making beautiful, durable napkins is to be very picky about the material and like everything else in life, paying attention to the details.

Fold and press lines at about the one-centimeter and two-centimeter mark on all four sides of the napkin, and cut corners.
Fold corners to meet second press line.
Fold edges at first press line.
Fold along last press line, and stitch hem.

Learning how to Make custom cloth napkins is actually fairly easy for anyone who has wielded a sewing needle or threaded the bobbin on a sewing machine. Follow these step-by-step instructions:

  • Create a pattern. This is as simple as cutting a piece of cardboard to the desired size. For table napkins they should be 12 to 24 inches square.
  • Select the appropriate material. If you are making your own napkins, you probably already have a specific bolt of cloth in mind. Nevertheless, the best material for homemade napkins is cotton or a cotton blend. If you feel like splurging, try linen.
  • When squares have been cut to the appropriate size, fold and press each side by 1/4 to a half-inch (about 1 centimeter). Then fold and press again. Unfold the sides.
  • Cut off each corner of the napkin diagonally so that the corner square is removed. Now fold the corner to meet the second press line.
  • Fold the edges at the first press line. Then fold at the final press line. (See images for details of this procedure.) This should produce a neat mitered corner.
  • Finally, stitch the hem into place. The napkin is now ready for folding and use at the table.

Once you have learned to make your own napkins, the sky is the limit. You could have a set of linen for every day of the week and for each holiday as well. Do you have a special set of dishes for Christmas? Making napkins to complement them can provide a festive touch.

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