Wednesday, April 20, 2011

napkin fever and a feeler

Option number two is exactly what I was looking for, although the others are good as as well.

napkin fever

However, several of you asked for directions on how I sew my cloth napkins so I thought that might be a better post instead. And besides, if you're inside during a blizzard it will help you pass the time. (two birds with one stone!) Here are 3 quick ways to whip up your own set of cloth napkins.

For all the versions, You will need cotton or linen fabric. Your should be something easy to launder and something you'd want on your table. You can cut your fabric to the size that works for you and your family. Standard cloth napkins come in a variety of sizes...12, 14 or 16 inch square seem to be the most popular.

Version one:
This is the one I use almost exclusively. You'll use one piece of fabric for each napkin. Cut your fabric to the size you prefer and iron under all edges 1/4 of an inch.
Then go back and iron them all again folding them over another 1/4 of an inch. (This hides your raw edge inside the seam.).
Using your sewing machine sew all the way around; pivoting at each corner.
(If you want a really sharp, professional mitered corner then follow the directions on this tutorial.) Press and enjoy.

Version two:
This version yields a thicker, reversible napkin. This is how Larissa made the napkins that she sent me. Cut two pieces of fabric the same size. You'll be using two pieces for each napkin. With right sides together, pin around the edges. Sew 1/4 inch seam all the way around leaving an opening for turning.
Clip your corners and turn right side out. Press, rolling your seams to get them flat. Now, topstitch around the edges closing your opening as you go.
Press and enjoy.

Version three:
This version is the one my mom made and used when I was growing up. It takes a bit more time but it looks really nice once you've finished. For this version, a woven fabric such as a homespun works really well.
In order to tell if you have a woven fabric look at both should look the same on both sides. Most cotton prints have one side that is the obvious right side. With homespuns, both sides are identical because the design is in the color of the thread so both sides are the same. Homespuns are also woven more loosely and they fray better. Cut your fabric for the size napkin that you desire. You'll only be using one piece for each napkin.
Sew all the way around your piece about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch with a straight stitch. The bigger the seam allowance, the more fringe you'll get.
Now, using a straight pin, start fraying the edges removing the horizontal threads. (Grab a comfy seat...this part takes a while) Fray until all four edges are done...this results in a great edge that won't come undone because your stitching holds the remaining fibers in place.
Now that you're done, use those beautiful napkins!!! I just throw mine in the wash with my towels and fold them when they come out of the dryer. I don't even bother with pressing them...we just load them back in the drawer for the next meal.
So here's where I want to see what you guys think...there's been some interest in doing a cloth napkin swap. Courtney and I've been talking about it so, I'm putting a feeler out there to see who else is interested. I'm thinking that swapping sets of 6 handmade cloth napkins would be pretty practical. Let me know what your thoughts are...are you interested? Once I see what the interest is, I'll post that here and we'll go from there....sound good?

And enjoy your week...however snowy or clear it turns out to be.

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