Sunday, 21 November 2010

Winter table napkins

I made half a dozen red gingham napkins yesterday:

Red gingham has mildly festive connotations in our house because we have a red gingham christmas table runner. I've been meaning to make matching napkins for a while but couldn't find any red gingham of a suitable weight for table linen - I finally found some this year in IKEA. I also used three rolls of East of India craft ribbon which dd gave me last christmas. 

Gingham is a good choice for this ribbon-embellished style, as the lines on the gingham help you keep the ribbons straight.

I've written down the method and here it is, in case anyone else wants to make these vaguely festive napkins.

1 m of fabric, 1.5m wide.
6 m of patterned ribbon. I used 3 x 2m rolls in assorted designs.
(This amount is sufficient to make 6 napkins)

Finished dimension of napkins: approx. 40 cms square

Cutting list:
6 pieces each 42 cm square from the main fabric
12 lengths of ribbon each 43 cms approx.

  1. Line up a length of ribbon on one of the napkin pieces to your satisfaction - mine were placed approx 10 cms from the cut napkin edge. Pin ribbon in place. Using a sewing machine, stitch along one edge of the ribbon in coordinating thread. Pivot and turn at the end, sew along the short edge, then pivot again and sew along the other long edge.
  2. Line up another piece of ribbon to cross the first one at 90-degrees, as shown in the photo below. Pin in place. Repeat the sewing along the edges of the ribbon as previously.
  3. Cut off loose threads and trim the ribbon to lie at the napkin edge, if necessary. Turn over a narrow double hem at one edge; press into place and then pin. Repeat for the other three sides, so there is a pinned double hem round all four sides. Take care to pin securely at the corners.
  4. Use a straight sewing machine stitch to sew along all four hem edges, close to the hem edge, pivoting at each corner and backstitching at start and finish to secure. Press the completed napkin.


  1. Very nice, and I love your pincushion - my mother used to have one just like that.

  2. Nice napkins! Red gingham is my favourite too for anything kitchen related.