Make these DIY cloth dinner napkins from budget-friendly linen, and give your table a classic and upscale vibe. The more these napkins are washed, the better they look!
These DIY cloth napkins, which I promise are super easy, give your table settings a tremendous bang for your buck. Linen napkins are the best. The more they are washed, the softer they get!
This post was originally published in 2018. I am still using that first set of cloth napkins, and I still love them. For the purpose of updating, I purchased linen, and made another set of napkins. The second set is featured in this post.
- Decide what size you want your napkins to be, and then cut squares one inch larger. I cut my squares 20 inches on each side, so my napkins are about 19 inches square.
- DO NOT PREWASH THE LINEN.
- Starting on one side of the first square, start pulling threads along the edge. Linen ravels quite easily, so it won’t be hard.
- Pull the threads until you get one continuous thread that runs along the entire side. At this point you will need to trim your fringe so it is even.
- Pull enough complete threads so your fringe is at least 1/4 inch wide. I pulled 10 threads per side.
- This isn’t an exact thing…and don’t worry if every napkin isn’t the same. Remember…these are handmade!
- When all the sides on each napkin are fringed, it’s time to wash and dry them. When they come out of the washer, there will be a lot of stray strings. This is normal, and actually what you want! Just trim them off with scissors.
- After drying, use a hot iron to press the freshly laundered cloth napkins, but don’t be too particular. Linen has incredible texture, so let it shine.
- After pressing, trim the fringe again if needed.
How much fabric to buy?
This is a hard one! There are many factors that go into determining how much fabric you will need to make these cloth dinner napkins. Let’s start here…
To make six 20 inch squares, I recommend that you purchase 2.5 yards of fabric. The fabric needs to be at least 45 inches wide. I had a little left over after I cut out six napkins.
Source for Linen
Now it’s time to share my linen source, so you can make your own custom DIY cloth napkins. Many years ago, when I opened my Etsy shop, I looked and looked for 100% linen that I could afford. Believe me, it was not easy to find. I started out buying on eBay, but that soon turned into an unpredictable situation. I knew I needed a dependable place where I could get the same linen on a consistent basis.
JoAnn Fabric turned out to be the answer. This Sew Classic linen comes in 3 colors. Natural, White and Black. The natural is a darker, flax color and is my favorite. The white is actually a soft ivory, and not a bright white. I have never purchased the black, but I’ve seen it in the store, and it’s just as nice as the other colors. This linen currently sells at full price for $21.99 per yard, but I never pay that. I always buy it when it’s on sale, or I have a coupon. It’s very affordable and excellent quality.
When I bought the linen for this second set of napkins, I noticed that it was quite different than what I had purchased in the past. As you can see in the image above, the weave is looser, and the color is darker. I love the way this second set turned out. They’re bigger, the fringe is beautiful, and after washing, the napkins are very soft. They will, of course, soften even more every time they are laundered.
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