This project is so much easier than it is going to seem. Trying to describe it makes it seem crazy laborious, but it isn’t. It is easy and intuitive and you can do this. Yes, you without the sewing machine. Really!
The first thing you need to know is that Stitch Witchery is going to be your best friend. For life. I am here to tell you, once you discover this stuff you won’t want to live without it. Putting patches on Scout uniforms? Done. Hemming pants at the last minute? Done. Making cool dinner napkins in half the time it would take to sew them? Done.
Along with Stitch Witchery, you will need:
Fabric – amount depends on how big you want your napkins to be. I made 20″ squares, so I cut the fabric at 22″ to allow for seams. To make 4 napkins, I bought 1.25 yards for each side. If you use one fabric for both sides, you would need 2.5 yards.
I chose a beautiful home decorating fabric to compliment my Holiday Tablescape. I backed the fabric in a matching color of cotton muslin to give my dinner guests a softer place to politely dab their delicate lips as they are enjoying stimulating conversation and savoring good food. If you are more likely to be entertaining
children guests who are more prone to smearing their faces and hands with food and then wiping their grubby hands and faces on whatever is nearby, you might want to choose a different fabric. Or use paper napkins. Or ask the wolves raising your children to focus more on table manners.
Be sure to clean your fabric the way you plan to clean it later to get any shrikage out of the way.
Lay the fabric out on a flat surface and identify the selvages. Selvages are the woven edges which run the length of the fabric. Selvages are the only reliable straight line on fabric. Even printed fabric can be askew, so you really should only trust selvages. And your mother.
So that the napkins don’t turn out all lumpy and warped, we need to start with a true square. To get this, measure 22″ from the selvage and mark with a pen every few inches.
Cut along those marks for a length of at least 22″ then fold from the inner cut edge to the selvage to make a triangle. Let the cut edge overlap the selvage a bit. When the fabric is overlapped completely, measure 22″ from the bottom of the fold to the top of the cut edge. Cut along the edge.
Next flip the triangle over and cut off the excess which is overlapping the selvage. Now you should have a true square to use as a template in cutting the other squares.
Use the template by laying your square in top of the fabric with selvages lined up as best as you can. Again, in selvages we trust. You can use a pen to mark around the square or carefully cut the fabric using the template as a guide.
When you have all of your squares cut out, take 2 squares and face their “right sides” (the side with the design) together. Make sure all of the edges line up. Working on your ironing board, fold one edge back and place a strip of Stitch Witchery about 1/8 of an inch in from the edge. If the Stitch Witchery is hanging out from the fabric, it will stick to your iron and make a big, big mess. Get it close to the edge, but not over. Next carefully place the folded back fabric onto the Stitch Witchery, making sure you keep everything lined up and press. Working with about 5 inches of tape at a time seemed to be easiest for me.
When you place your hot steam iron on the section that has Stitch Witchery under it, just hold in place to the count of about 10. Do not slide your iron around. Just push down and let the hot steam do its magic. Be careful to keep your spool of Stitch Witchery away from the steam iron or you will find yourself with a little puck of fused together Stitch Witchery. I know this from experience. Trust me.
Go around the fabric fusing the edges together on 3 sides. Leave about an inch without fusing from the 4th side.
When you are done, turn the fabric over and press from the other side.
On the 4th edge, fold back fabric about an inch on both sides and press. (Do not use Stitch Witchery here yet. Still keep it away from the steam iron!)
Clip a triangle from each of the 2 fused corners. Be sure not to cut too deep because that will create a hole when we turn this puppy inside out as we are about to do.
Okay, now turn this pillowcase inside out so that the “right sides” are on the outside (where you can see them…because a napkin with pretty fabric on the inside would be dum. Yes, D U M, dum.).
Press out the seams and make the whole napkin flat. Use a pointy thing to gently, carefully push out the corners. A chopstick or really dull pencil works well. I use my scissors, but I am sort of reckless like that when it comes to sewing (or “fusing” as the case may be) and unless you have been trained in this method, I would not recommend you try this at home.
Put Stitch Witchery between the open seam, as close to the edge as you can, and press both sides as you did before.
So there – you are done before you know it! Now you have to plan your dinner party!