Holiday Napkins

I finished these holiday napkins just in time for Thanksgiving!

5 holiday napkins

colorful holiday napkins

I love bright and cheery cloth napkins, and wanted a new set to brighten up our table this year. I’ve been collecting cotton remnants in solid colors for a while, with dreams of either making a quilt or making napkins. I decided to give the napkins a try first, thinking it would be a quick and easy project that I could squeeze in between the other sewing projects I’m working on now (like my Beignet skirt). I made a set of ten, two in each color.

pile of 10 napkins

I generally like how they turned out – love the bright colors – but the binding is a bit sloppy on some of them. I think I need a bit more practice on binding and boy-is-it slow! This project took quite a bit of time mostly because of the contrast binding. I think I made 2 napkins each evening (around 2 hours), so it took me about 10 hours to make these. Next time, I’m going for simple!

I tried out a few different techniques for the binding. To get those ‘mitered’ corners the best way I found was to sew the binding down one side of the napkin until I reached the end, then lock the stitches and cut the threads.

corner binding

I then folded the binding around the corner, pinned it down the second napkin edge and sewed it until I reached the next edge…and so on.

fold corner over

This method is nice because it keeps the corners nice and tight, but it’s pretty slow because you have to keep starting and stopping your stitching. I got lazy after the second napkin and just pinned the binding all the way around and sewed it down in one pass.

Finishing the binding (joining the two ends once you’ve gone all the way around) was also tricky and I experimented a bit with this. For some, I just took the laziest approach and overlapped the binding and stitched it down. But it looks a bit sloppy:

overlapped binding

I also tried tucking one end of the binding into the other, but that didn’t work very well. So then I decided to sew the binding ends together like you would do when bias binding a neckline. I left 3-4″ loose tails on both ends of my binding. Then you can pinch the loose ends together where you want them to join, mark that spot, then tuck the ends under and sew them right-sides-together. I tried both sewing a straight line across (pretty easy) and a diagonal line across (harder). Then just stitch down that last bit of loose binding. This technique looks the cleanest by far.

straight vs diagonal seam

The diagonal line is nice for the multi-colored binding because it blends right in with the other joins, but I think the straight line looks fine for the others.

Worth all the effort? not so sure…hmmm…maybe this means that I’m not cut out for quilting? Hats off to all you quilters out there:)

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving turkeys!



Fabric: Assorted cotton remnants; half a yard main fabric plus one third a yard of trim fabric makes 2 napkins.
Dimensions: 18″ squares [main]; 2-5/8″ wide x 72″ long [binding strips; fold each long edge under 1/4″, then fold in half to make a ~1″ wide binding strip]

5 thoughts on “Holiday Napkins

  1. The time and care you took with each napkin clearly shows — it’s almost a shame to use them — but I, for one, am grateful for your many gifts.


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