Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tutorial: Hand-stitched dinner napkins

I've been itching to put together a tutorial for a while, but my problem is that I make up almost none of the projects that I do. Mostly I just steal other people's ideas.

This idea I at least came up with independently, though it's simple enough I'm sure it's been done many times before. I've decided it's time to step into grown-up land with some real napkins. Setting a wash cloth at each place setting gets me weird looks from dinner guests, and I refuse to buy anything paper napkin/towel-like. I was able to finish 20 of these before my interest waned, which should see us through even our larger BBQs this summer.

So here is my first (ridiculously common sense) tutorial:


~ 1 thrifted cotton bedsheet
~ Needle
~ Cotton thread
~ Pins
~ Pizza box lid (approximately 12" x 12")
~ Scissors

1. Using the pizza box lid as a template, cut out as many squares from the sheet as you'd like napkins.

2. Fold each napkin edge over twice, pinning the hem in place.

3. Hand stitch around the hem in a simple running stitch. Don't back-stitch (that makes it ugly), just make your stitches as tiny as possible to keep the hem strong. I put extra stitches in each corner to reinforce them.

4. Admire your handiwork. Then read this article and congratulate yourself for being all Continental.

My grandmother hassled me a bit for doing these by hand, and said she couldn't see why anyone would prefer hand-stitching to whipping them out on the machine. It's true the machine is definitely faster, and the hems it makes are crazy-durable. But if you're willing to take the extra time, I think there's something very sweet about the look of a hand-stitched hem. And I like that the project is portable this way - a nice little something to work on while you watch The Daily Show or visit with friends.

Love, J

1 comment:

  1. Nice tut!

    I love love thrifted pillow cases and sheets...Glad to see I am not the only one! I make all sorts of things with them, but I had never thought of napkins :D