DIY Fabric Napkins

I love having a huge collection of cloth napkins to dress up my dinner table, they can add just enough punch to a place setting to keep it interesting.  But I really dislike how much fabric napkins can cost, especially the cute contemporary ones with the latest designer prints. So, I decided to pull out my sewing machine and make my own!  (The easy way!)


Ignore the complicated protocol that you usually think of when sewing, like ironing. I refuse to touch an iron, seriously! Forget the pinning too, all you will need for this project is the fabric, a pencil, a ruler, and a sewing machine.


Your fabric choices are all up to you! You are the napkin designer, the sky is the limit! I found a clearance sale at my local fabric shop and was able to buy 2 yards of fabric for $12. I purchased it in ½ yard cuts to make 8 patterned napkins. Every ½ yard will yield 2 napkins.


To begin, keep your fabric folded as it was cut off of the bolt. (2 layers) Use an existing napkin to trace a pattern, or measure out the size you desire. I used a 15 inch napkin as a guide.


With a straight edge ruler, mark your cutting lines, keeping in mind to leave slack for your seams.


Cut your lines, and then cut apart the layers at the fold. You will now have 2 napkins ready for the sewing machine.


Forget the iron! Fold the edge of your napkin under about ¼ inch, and set under the presser foot of your sewing machine. Guide your fabric while you sew, keeping the edge folded under and the seams straight.


Fold your edge over, and stitch again. Careful to keep your seams straight!


When you sew a corner, be mindful of the way you tuck your fabric in! You want your corners to look neat and tidy!


That’s it! Your napkin is complete! You can fold it flat and place it at the side of the plate, or fold it up fancy and add a little dimension to your place setting!


Homemade fabric napkins are so easy and they make the perfect gift for many occasions! You can make them as simple or as elaborate as you want! And, since you are the designer, they can match any décor or style! What are you waiting for? Dress up your table and make your own!

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  1. says

    This is so creative! I do not have much experience with a sewing machine, but I do love fabric napkins. Fabric napkins are all that I use..having a variety that I created would be cool. I think that this would be a project I could handle! Thank you for sharing!

  2. says

    Our family loves fabric napkins. They are so much more economical and home-made ones are very easy to create, even by a novice seamstress. Besides checking out the sale bin at the local fabric store, don’t forget to check out your local Salvation Army for tablecloths. Cotton shirts are also a good resource for making small cocktail napkins. Your choice of print can always be a conversation started at your next gathering.

    • Emily Louise says

      RasaR, you are so very right! I didn’t even think about cotton shirts or old tablecloths. What a fabulous idea. I am so impressed!

  3. says

    I adore cloth napkins but when the entire family is over (13), it’s not very economical. So glad I found this post. I must do this. I guess I need to buy a sewing machine. Wish I had been more attentive in home ec. all those years ago! Great post!

    • Emily Louise says

      Thanks Alli! I always use fabric napkins! In fact, I never buy paper napkins or paper towels. I find that they are so much softer to use at the table, and I have gotten use to the smaller bit more laundry that I have to tackle each week. Let me know if you made your own, I would love to hear about it!

    • Emily Louise says

      Anyone can craft Julia! Even those self proclaimed “lazy” moms! I don’t believe you are lazy one bit! Let me know if you made your own napkins. I would love to hear about it!

  4. says

    Lovely colors. I sew vicariously nowadays as I don’t have a sewing machine any more. I grudgingly paid a little more for 8 napkins that don’t look anywhere near as nice as yours!

    • Emily Louise says

      Oh, I know where you are coming from Lydia! I didn’t have a machine for years and sewed everything by hand. I finally got one that only sews straight lines (no fancy, dancy dials and switches for me!) and I love it!

  5. says

    I love when people embrace simple ideas and turn them into something glamorous. And that’s exactly what you did here. Love it!

    • Emily Louise says

      Thanks for appreciating the simplicity of a napkin! Simplicity is my greatest friend! 😀

    • Emily Louise says

      Thanks Vanessa! I don’t like things to get too fussy when it comes to sewing! Simple is best, and these napkins exemplify that!

    • Emily Louise says

      Thanks Kerri! Fabric napkins are so easy to make and fun to use. I love to dress my table up with mine!