How to Sew Dinner Napkins


How to Sew Dinner Napkins
The Halloween decorations have been taken down and stored for next year…except the sticky eyeballs that seem to be permanently affixed to my foyer ceiling from one very exciting hour of eyeball throwing by the children.  thanks kids.  Regardless of that eyesore (haha!), I’m cozying up the house for the colder weather and beginning to think about Thanksgiving.  I spent a little time last week making a stack of dinner napkins.  Today I’m going to show you how to sew dinner napkins that require simple folding and pressing to create neatly mitered corners before stitching around the perimeter of the napkin.  I think this technique makes them a simple, straightforward sewing project, easy for anyone.

How to Sew Dinner Napkins

Step 1:  Prewash your fabric and iron it well.  Cut the fabric into 18″ squares (or larger).  On the wrong side of the fabric, make a mark with a disappearing fabric marker in each corner where 1″ up and 1″ out intersects.  You can also draw a light diagonal line from the corner up through the circle mark – this will help you to see where the folded fabric will meet to form the mitered corner (see step 5)

Easy sew dinner napkins

Step 2:  Fold each corner up to meet the circle mark you made in Step 1.

Easy sew dinner napkins

Step 3:  Fold each corner again, bringing the first fold line up to meet the circle mark.

Easy sew dinner napkins

Step 4:  Fold and press up each edge about 1/2″.  Repeat for all for sides of the napkin.

Easy sew dinner napkins

Step 5:  Fold and press each edge up another 1/2″ so that the corner lines up at a diagonal with the line you drew in Step 1.

Easy sew dinner napkins

Adjust the sides and press well so that the corners align with one another.  Pin the edges in place if you wish.

Easy sew dinner napkins

Step 6:  Working on the right side of the napkin, place the napkin in the sewing machine and topstitch 1/4″ from the edge of the napkin all the way around.  Begin stitching 1/4″ from the first corner and stop stitching 1/4″ before you reach the other edge. Leaving the needle in the napkin, lift the presser foot and rotate the napkin.  Continue stitching until you reach 1/4″ from the next corner and so on.  This will result in a neat square of stitching, all 1/4″ from the outer edge of the napkin.

Easy sew dinner napkins

Easy sew dinner napkins

That’s all there is to it.  Once you get the hang of the folding, you should be able to make a stack of custom cloth napkins in no time.  I used some autumn colored quilting cotton from Jo-Ann for my napkins.

Dinner Napkins - easy to sew

Dinner Napkins - easy to sew

How to Sew Dinner Napkins

I’ve also shared how to make these beautiful autumn acorn napkin rings, so be sure to check them out!  So fun, huh?
Autumn Acorn Napkin Rings #DIY #turkeytablescapes

Both projects were created as part of the #turkeytablescapes campaign for Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores.  You can find more holiday crafting ideas in their weekly catalog.  I was provided with compensation to purchase the supplies for this project.

Jo-Ann Coupon #turkeytablescapes

Easy sew dinner napkins

Linking up at the Link Party Palooza


    • girlinspired says

      Thanks, Stacey. I’m kind of obsessed with that mustard fabric – it reminds me of the upholstery in our 70s VW bus when I was a kid. haha!

    • girlinspired says

      Hi Celina! Thanks so much! Yes, I made the tablecloth – the fabric was from Jo-Anns, also. Isn’t it pretty? I found the candles at BelAir (grocery store) – totally random, I know, but they were too awesome to pass up. I already tossed the packaging so I don’t have a brand for you, but I’ll try to look the next time I’m in the grocery store if they still sell them!

  1. Karen says

    Hi, The napkins are just beautiful. Thank you for the tutorial. I would like to make them. Looking forward to the napkin ring how to.

  2. says

    Oh wow! What a gorgeous color combination! I am simply in LOVE with that aqua/teal fabric, and your contrasting thread is the perfect compliment!! I just got some amazing brownish/gold antiqued-wood-looking plate chargers and these would look fantastic with that. I’m going to have to run to my local JoAnn’s to see if I can nab some! :)

    I can’t wait to see the acorn/leaf napkin ring tutorial, but admit I’m highly nervous that it will be a project that is way out of my comfort zone… But you explain things so well, so we’ll see! :)

  3. says

    By the way~
    I don’t think I would have stopped to look at that aqua/teal floral fabric if I’d seen it on its own– it’s the way you’ve paired it that is just magic, and along with the other colors and accent pieces pulls the whole table together.

  4. sorahart says

    Thanks for the tutorial! I just bought some John Deere fabric and wanted to make something for my farmer dad out of it…he has just about everything, but not custom-made dinner napkins featuring his beloved tractors. Woo hoo!

  5. Celina says

    Hello Again!

    Your table cloth fabric was it from there seasonal fabric? Also where did you find the brown with black stitches ribbon. I just love your napkin rings.

    • girlinspired says

      Hi Celina, The tablecloth fabric was in their new section of quilting cottons – maybe more of the premium cottons? And I wish I could be more helpful with the ribbon, but I dug it out of my stash – I think I probably bought it from Jo-Ann five plus years ago. I hoard a LOT of ribbon. 😉

  6. says

    Did you buy that teal/aqua fabric at JoAnns also? I have aqua dinner plates and those napkins would be perfect for my tablesetting.

    • girlinspired says

      Yes! All of the fabric was from JoAnns just recently! I love that the aqua has the dark brown in it, makes it perfect for incorporating a fresh color into an autumn feel! Your dishes sound amazing!

  7. Sandy Wootten says

    Love your site. What kind of material did you use for your napkins? They look heavier than plain cotton fabric. Thanks for your inspiration.

    • girlinspired says

      Hi Sandy, thank you for stopping by! They are just a regular quilting weight cotton. I think the crisp print and a good press gives them a little more structure.

  8. says

    Great tutorial! And I love the acorn napkin rings you made! Those are so cute! I did a napkin project as well (also participating in Jo-Ann’s #turkeytablescapes) and I linked to you! :)

  9. Debbie Melton says

    I really think this is a great tutorial and inspiration. Very well done. Thanks for sharing. I’ll look for more ideas from GirlInspired.

  10. Alicia says

    I’m now making my second set of napkins using this tutorial. Very helpful and easy to do!

    I’ve had one problem: the measurements didn’t work for me. Either the dots need to be marked 1.5″ from the edge and then the edges folded 1/2″ each time for the hem OR dots marked 1″ from edge and edges folded 3/8″ each time. (I’m doing the latter, because I like a narrower hem.)

    Other than that, awesome.

  11. Ursula Carter says

    have always wanted make napkins thatnks for the easy to follow directions. when do we get them for the napkin rings?


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