You know what the perfect project is to practice straight-line sewing on the machine?
Making some fancy schmancy cloth napkins!
You get to practice sewing around the edge with a nice, straight, 1/4 inch seam allowance, and then you get to go around the edge again with a topstitch.
So here’s a free pattern for you.
What You’ll Need
- Two squares of fabric. I use 12-inch squares but you could go a little larger or smaller if you like. The two fabrics can match, can coordinate, or can be completely random – it’s all up to you. I usually use a print and a solid that I think looks good with it.
- Matching thread
- Sewing machine
You read the part about this being good for practicing sewing straight lines, right? This is definitely for beginners.
If you want to get really fancy you can embroider on one of the squares of fabric before you sew them together. Maybe an initial? Or a flower? Or a small beetle? Draw whatever you like right on the fabric and then choose an outline stitch from the embroidery lessons and stitch over your drawing. You can also choose an embroidery pattern from here.
Iron your fabric so it’s nice and smooth.
Stack the two squares of fabric with their right sides together and their edges lined up. The napkin should be “inside-out.”
Pin the two layers together around the edges.
Leave an opening of at least 3 inches so you can turn the napkin right-side-out after stitching.
I like to mark the beginning and end of my opening with double pins so I remember not to sew it closed.
Using 1/4 inch seam allowance, stitch all around the edge of the napkin – except for the part you’re leaving open.
Remember to backstitch a few stitches at the beginning and end of your stitching.
The opening should look like this.
And the corners should look like this.
If you need help with your seam allowance or turning corners, watch this video.
Trim away excess fabric at each corner. This will help make your corners nice and flat when you turn the napkin right-side-out.
Be careful not to cut through your stitches – your cut should be just a little bit out from the corner of your stitching.
Turn your napkin right side out. Use a chopstick (or some other pointy, but not too pointy tool) to help pop the corners all the way out.
Smooth everything out and carefully press all the seams. Take your time and make the sides as square as possible.
The unstitched edges of your opening should fold in pretty perfectly all by themselves, but give them some help if you need to. They should look like this before pressing. . .
Now you have two options. You can use ladder stitch to sew up the opening. It’s invisible, but some people don’t like hand stitching.
If you want to do the whole thing by machine, just stitch all the way around the edge, very close to the edge of the napkin. This is called topstitching and there’s a video here showing how to do it.
Every corner should be nice and square and this stitching will seal up the opening you used for turning. Easy peasy!
Trim your threads and press your napkin one more time. That last pressing will help the threads of your topstitching sink down into the fabric and look nice and finished.
Now – have a snack!
We have a big stack of colorful napkins in our house and everyone has their own favorites. This is a great way to use up random bits of favorite fabrics.