The Best Kind Of Napkins {And A Tutorial}




I don’t know about you, but I love cloth napkins.  I even like to use them for our every day meals.

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  1. Connie Hester says:

    Great idea! Will be doing this from now on. I too, love cloth napkins. I purchased some recently from a well known name brand store (online). They advertised them as 100% cotton, but they feel more like rayon. I returned them immediately. Looks like I will be heading to the fabric store tomorrow. 🙂

  2. Kim Rice says:

    As usual you make me want to run to my machine and make beautiful napkins!! And buy more Fiesta ware!!
    Your porch meals will be ones to remember!!

  3. Cyndie Gray says:

    Your napkins are gorgeous!! I am going to have to try this after we get moved. My sewing craft stuff is all packed right now. You make it look so easy!!!

  4. Pat says:

    Dori do you make to sell. You the potholders.and wash cloths. And if you do what is.the price. Thanks you are so talented. Pat Mitchell From Virgina

  5. Susan says:

    Love this idea! My sister has Fiesta Ware and I see a present coming up! Thx!
    I have mixed pottery I have collected so….Boy am I into this to come up with the ideas…
    I’m a Quilter and thinking of my “stash” as a source of awesome napkins…even if I pieced to get the 18 inch squares….(suggestion to sewers-shorten your stitch length on pieces to make them less inclined to come apart!)

  6. I have a few cotton napkins that I use everyday. You have a great idea to line them. I have yardage left from making quilts so that would be easy to come up with contrasting fabrics. I will certainly be making some of these

  7. Monica says:

    Love these- thankyou!!!

  8. Pamela Warren says:

    Fabulous job and great job on your instructions.
    A little tip to make the corners even sharper when turned is one extra stitch.
    Sew as illustrated to your corner. Instead of rotating the needle 90 degrees rotate 45 degrees and take one or even two small stitches. Then rotate needle 90degrees and take off for the next corner.
    This was taught to me years ago by national sewing educators. I
    try to pass the tip on when teaching. It works because it provides room for the fabric to spread out a bit. Give it a try!


    Hi Dori,
    I too use cloth napkins for every meal. Many years ago, I made placemats and napkins to match and have been using them since then.
    I use 1 yard of main fabric and 1 yard of lining fabric and get 4 lined napkins. I cut them the same measurements and make them exactly like you do.
    It’s a joy to pass the shelf with napkins on it every time I go to the grocery store.

  10. SUZANNE QUALLS says:

    Forgot to tell you, I have gathered up several new fabrics and am ready to make me some new ones. The old ones have been used so long, they are wearing pretty thin.

  11. MargaretMy Rohn says:

    I’ve been making cloth napkins for over 35 years now and still using some that long too. Batiks also make nice napkins with just a single ply and basic hem. I’ve never made 2 ply ones like this before but I think I will now. I raised my children with cloth napkins so they would always know how to handle formal situationa with ease. They still use them now in their homes. Plus they are so much fun to fold into fancy designs or into fans and put into glasses. Thanks for the additional ideas . Margaret

  12. Linda Kohn says:

    This is a great idea. Thanks for the how to!

  13. Lorita says:

    Hi Dori, well that’s funny. I don’t know what got into me but last week I made cloth napkins! Yup, it’s true. And then I cut up some old t-shirts for our two bathrooms for cleaning clothes that are absolutely dedicated to the bathrooms. Life is sometimes so serendipitous. Thank you for your post. Small changes by many to help the planet (therefore its inhabitants) equal big changes. Blessings to all, Lorita

  14. Maxine Schartner says:

    I love cloth napkins! I’ve made lots of them but never doubled ones like these. When winter is feeling long way up here in the north, this is northern Alberta I’m talking about, like close to the Northwest Territories border, then I like to sew some springy looking napkins and dream of meals outside on the deck! I’m going to try some like this!

  15. Marilyn says:

    The napkins are lovely. Thanks for the information.

  16. Dianna Hauf says:

    Oh my heavens those are gorgeous!!! I totally agree with making your own and I can not wait to make me and several others a set for spring/summer!!! So inspirational and I am sure with a happy table setting the food sure goes down better too! Lol! Thank you Dori for sharing!!

  17. Mary Rauch says:

    Your articles are such a bright spot in my reading. Thanks for being “YOU”. It’s a treat to follow your ideas and listen to your dreams and creative endeavors.

  18. Kerrie H says:

    Hi Dori– Love to use cloth, too. Your first instruction says your purchased 1/4 yd of each fabric then cut them into 18″ squares…..did you purchase fat quarters? Just checking….. since you can’t an 18″ square out of a regular 1/4 yd. Your colors are fabulous. I am going to go to my stash right now !! Thanks.

  19. Rebecca says:

    I use feistaware dishes and use cloth napkins too so we are farmgirl sisters for sure! I have made some of mine but get many at thrift stores. I’m going to look for fabric to go with the dishes and make more,they will be perfect for summer. Thanks for the tutorial!

  20. Mary Jo Koca says:

    I’m a quilter and hoarder of fabric. I’ve been trying to clean out some of my stash and this is the perfect project for some of my fabric pieces that I don’t know what to do with.
    They will make wonderful gifts, too. Thank You.

  21. Rebecca West says:

    Love this, thanks for the tutorial. Very easy to make.

  22. Ann says:

    Your napkins are lovely. I store cloth napkins also and have been making them for years. I don’t line mine. I want mine to be oversized and have a variety for all seasons and for various types of dishes. And you’re right about the quality of fabric. I’ve had many of mine for 10 years or longer. Thanks, Dori, for sharing these lovely napkins.

  23. Cindi Johnson says:

    Funny how easy it is to forget that we don’t need to by buy everything. All of the things we now purchase ready made from stores were first created at home and are really so very simple to make ~ and they are so much nicer. Now I can’t wait for my machine to get out of the spa. I have some napkins to make!

  24. Wayve Dennison says:

    Thank you, Dori. Now I know how to sew one thing; your directions made it dound do-able, even for me. I did not inherit my Grandma Mildred’s sewing gene! I can just imagine happy ladies chasing lovely napkins down your hill in the spring breeze. New game! Tee hee.

  25. Suzanne Keefe says:

    Had never thought of lining a serviette. Love the linen ones I have as they are so much more absorbent. Will be adding these to my “Must make” list.
    Thank you

  26. Gail Foster says:

    These are beautiful and so easy to make. I’m going to look for fabric . Thank you

  27. Katherine says:

    This article could not have come at a better time.
    I had a dinner party for eight last night and went to great lengths to plan and cook the meal. When I went to set the table, I pulled out my well worn ‘go to’ napkins. They were clean and pressed but looked worn and lacked the appeal to go with the enthusiasm I had put into this meal.
    I am so excited about the possibilities of design and texture, I’m going to the fabric store Monday and shop for ‘good cotton’
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  28. Bonnie B says:

    Dori, I’m not seeing how you can purchase 1/4 yd (which is only 9 inches) of 2 different fabrics and be able to cut 18″ x 18″ square from each. If you purchased 1/2 yd of two different fabrics wouldn’t you be able to get 2 lined napkins from that?

  29. Sandi King says:

    Dori, i love this idea. I have some cloth napkins that I used once and had to throw away or put away and not use them. They bled colors when I washed them and shrunk also. So after I get my mini quilt done I will start making some napkins for my dinnerware. I also have Fiesta Ware dishes but have not used them on a daily basis, only for special meals and company. I love colors in my kitchen which is mostly black and white so I like my cookware in colors; bought the blue diamond pan set from Macy’s and I love them; they are blue. I also have Revere Ware cookware that have lasted for over 40 years and I will never get rid of them. Cloth napkins are so nice to use. Paper ones stick or fall apart and are a waste of money. So glad you posted this and I will be saving this post in a separate folder from my folder of MaryJane’s FarmGirl Bloggers so I can refer back to how you made yours. Thanks so much.

  30. Maureen says:

    Too fun!! Thanks Dori, awesome as always. A great and conscientious way to use some favorite fabrics.

  31. Mary Palmer Nowland says:

    Sewing is like cooking and baking; it is the way to show my love for family and friends. My mother was a seamstress as part of her many jobs on the homestead and she taught us girls how to create as well as mend. I made my sisters and daughters some table runners and napkins this past year. It made me immeasurably happy to make them happy.

  32. Deb Bosworth says:

    Great post, Dori! And just in time for Spring! I couldn’t agree more about the lack of quality in cloth napkins ( and so many other things, these days). There is nothing like homemade when you want quality and something that compliments your own personal style! I love that your napkins are double sided! Well done!
    Happy Spring, my friend!
    xo Deb

  33. Vivian Monroe says:

    Hi Dori, thanks so much for always sharing your projects with us. I love it. Your instructions are so easy to follow. Cant wait to make some napkins, I have always used cloth napkins. And true, some you buy are horrible. Thanks for all your tips. Be Blessed. Neta

  34. Nancy says:


    Thank you for sharing. I think I can even make these with your tutorial. So easy!

  35. Lydia Martinez says:

    I love this idea! I too use brightly colored cloth napkins everyday with my bright multi colored Fiestaware. It is so happy!

  36. Judi davis says:

    So pretty I love hand made stuff and I love to make aprons

  37. L says:

    Thank you for sharing this tutorial. With just the top stitch, do your napkins bunch up after multiple washing? I have not tried a lined napkin. I don’t think I want to iron napkins when I take them off the clothesline!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      They don’t exactly bunch up, but I will admit that I love ironing cloth napkins… so yes I do iron them. However, I have folded them right out of the dryer and they were perfectly fine.

      ~ Dori ~

    • SUZANNE QUALLS says:

      Hi there,
      I use ONLY cloth napkins for everyday use and for special dinners. I have made both lined and unlined napkins. I’ve not had any problem with “bunching at the top stitch line. I’ve found that if I use a small amount of fabric softener or a softener sheet in the dryer, it helps.
      The only time I would consider ironing a napking would be for the more “special” napkins that are used for “special” dinners.
      What I do when removing the napkins from the dryer, is to flatten them on a hard surface, (table) while they are still warm and then while folding them, “hand press” then after each fold. They could easily pass for “ironed napkins”.
      Good luck to you and enjoy those cloth napkins.

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