DIY Cloth Napkins

In a world where stockpiling and wearing masks are becoming the norm, it can be hard to come across paper products. Therefore, I thought I’d share how to make cloth napkins. They are really quite easy to make.

What about fabric? If you don’t have scrap fabric lying around at home, you may find it is out of stock in stores. No worries, you can buy cheap flat sheets for the bed! At times I do this for projects anyhow, because buying a flat sheet can sometimes be cheaper than buying a few yards of fabric!

There are real benefits to using cloth napkins. You will likely use less napkins, especially when cleaning up a messy toddler or eating wings. One should do the trick. Technically, you never run out of napkins. Running low?…run a load of towels with your napkins and your all set again. Not to mention, they’re better for the environment.

Once you try cloth napkins, there’s a good chance you will never go back to paper, even if they become easier to find at the store. That’s been the case with my family.

About 9 years ago when my son was a toddler, I decided to give cloth napkins a try. We had been trying to do our part with using cloth diapers, so why I figured why not cloth napkins. However, buying cloth napkins was not in the budget. Therefore, I looked into making my own. I was very fortunate that a friend of mine is a quilter, a quilter who loves to collect fabric. She so kindly gave me a bunch of fun, kid friendly prints from her leftovers. I made a weeks worth of napkins that we are still using today (9 years later)! A few of them are in need of replacement now but the others are holding on strong.

The kids love picking the perfect napkin for each person when setting the table.

So not only do the cloth napkins last for years, but they are wonderful. Cleaning up after my son and my two daughters that followed was so much easier with the cloth. Now that everyone is older they all prefer the cloth and complain when we have to use paper (because I am behind on the laundry 😁). So yes, we still have paper napkins in the house, but they are only for backup. A big stack of paper napkins will last months at our house.

Give cloth napkins a try with your family. They are simple to make and could even become a sewing projects for your children. It was a great project for my daughter as she learned how to use the sewing machine.

Worried about the laundry? The key is to have enough cloth napkins to last your family a week. This way you are not needing to wash napkins all the time.

Let’s Get Started

Make pattern 11″x 11″

1. First you will need to create your pattern. Using a ruler, measure out an 11″x 11″ square. You can draw this on paper. Or, my favorite thing, you can draw it on an old cereal box. Then cut it out.

2 squares for one napkin

2. Next, take your pattern and trace it onto your fabric. For this you can use fabric markers or I’ve even used colored pencils. Then cut your fabric out. You will need 2 squares of fabric for one napkin.

Pin squares together with the right sides facing each other

3. Now take your two squares and place them together with the right sides facing each other. Pin the squares together. Note, leave a 1 inch gap between the start and end. You can mark these with pins so you don’t forget.

Leave a one inch opening

4. Stitch about 1/4″ from the edge. Remember to get started, lay 4 or 5 stitches then reverse (backstitch) 4 or 5 stitches before moving forward. This acts as your knot so it won’t unravel.

5. Stop stitching when you are 1″ from the starting point. Backstitch again to secure your stitches.

6. Remove from sewing machine. Now it’s time to right-side-out your fabric. Push the corners out with a tool or even the end of a paint brush.

After turning the napkin right side out, close the hole.

7. It’s time to close the gap. Fold the fabric at the gap in to line up with the edge. Stitch this area shut. These stitches are visible which is why we don’t want the gap too large. Just large enough to get the fabric through.

8. Press your napkin with an iron to flatten it out.

9. The final touch is to place a 1/4″ stitch to make a border. And there you have it!

Finished napkin
My daughter made this napkin rings from a real pine cone.

Published by Home Study from the Grateful Heart

Welcome new friends. I'm Heather, a homeschooling mama raising three children alongside my husband. I love to walk our two dogs, photograph nature, and write poetry. As a family, we love reading together, creating art, sports and all things nature. We also enjoy sharing our learning experiences with friends and creating co-op opportunities. I enjoy writing about our homeschool adventures, as well as nature and sharing recipes. My heart is grateful for my family, our homeschool, our friends and homeschool community, as well as the nature around us. In addition to following my blog, you can find me on Facebook at Home Study from the Grateful Heart.

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