How to Make Reversible Cloth Table Napkins: Easy-to-Sew, Double-Sided Fabric Napkins Dress up Home Table Decor


Handmade, reversible fabric napkins give a colorful touch to any home’s table décor. Even better, they can be used over and over again. Switching from paper to cloth napkins can make a sizable reduction in the amount of garbage that goes from your house to the landfill. A complete set of napkins takes just an hour or two to sew. Use seasonal fabrics to make special table settings for holidays or special occasions.

Sizes for Dinner Napkins, Luncheon Napkins, and Cocktail Napkins

Table napkins are usually made as squares. This makes it easy to fold them into interesting shapes. Dinner napkins are the largest. Luncheon napkins are somewhat smaller, and cocktail napkins are the smallest. Napkin sizes are flexible. Here are some suggested sizes for various types of napkins:

  • Dinner Napkin: 16”, 18”, 20, or 22” square

  • Luncheon Napkin: 12” or 14” square

  • Cocktail Napkin: 6” or 8” square

Supplies and Tools for Making Reversible Fabric Napkins

Here’s what you will need to make decorative table napkins:

  • (Optional) poster board or template plastic to cut out     templates for the napkins.

  • Two coordinating cotton or linen fabrics. Quilting     fabric is available in lots of wonderful colors and patterns. Avoid     synthetic fabrics, because they are not as absorbent as natural fabrics.

  • All-purpose or quilting thread in a coordinating color.

  • (Optional) decorative thread for top-stitching the     napkins.

  • Sewing machine.

  • Rotary cutter.

  • Rotary cutting ruler.

  • Sewing machine.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Sewing Cloth Napkins

See the photos at the bottom of the article for a visual guide to making a cloth table napkin. Click on any of the photos to enlarge it. Here’s how to make a napkin:

  1. (Optional) Cut a poster board or plastic template     square for the napkins, adding a 1/4″ seam allowance on all sides.     (For an 18” x 18” finished napkin size, cut the fabric squares 18½” x     18½”.) Using a template makes it easier to cut out a whole set of napkins     at once. A template also makes it easy to estimate if a piece of fabric is     large enough to make the number of napkins you would like to make, without     fussy calculations or measurements.

  2. Cut out squares of the two fabrics, fabric. Cut the     squares 1/2″ larger than the finished size to allow for a 1/4″     seam allowance on all four sides.

  3. Layer two coordinating fabric squares with right sides     facing each other.

  4. Stitch all around the outer edge of the squares, using     a ¼” seam allowance. Leave an opening on one side large enough to turn the     napkin right side out — three or four inches for dinner-sized napkins.

  5. Turn the napkin right side out and press, taking     special care to fold under and press the raw edges of the open area.

  6. Top stitch around the whole napkin to secure the layers     together. Make sure the stitches catch the opening where the napkin was     turned right side out. If your sewing machine has decorative stitches,     this is a good time to use them.

The completed fabric napkin is now ready to use to make a special table setting. Why not make a complete set the next time you are invited to a party, or when you throw a party yourself?

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