Do you love the look of natural linen? I like the rumpled casual feel. This year for the holidays I thought I’d make linen napkins. As you might expect, purchasing the material is a lot cheaper than buying the napkins outright, but you do have to prep the fabric, cut, and finish the edges. Today I’ll show you three ways to finish your edges when making linen napkins.
How to Make Linen Napkins
For this project I purchased 100% linen from The Fabric Store. This particular fabric was a little over $10/yard. I ended up with nine napkins which was a little over 1.5 yards of fabric. I ordered 2 yards of fabric so there is some left over if I want to make a few more.
When I received the linen through the mail, it was very stiff. After running it through the washer and dryer it came out nice and soft but pretty wrinkled, with lot of threads and frayed edges.
To make the napkins you first need to trim off the excess threads and iron the fabric. Then cut it to your desired size. Standard napkins are 18 inches square, so that’s what I used here. Since the fabric I purchased was 58 inches wide I was able to cut three napkins per width. Then all you have to do is finish the edges. Actually, you really don’t have to finish the edges, but if you do, here are three ways to accomplish this task.
The first technique is done by folding over 1/4 inch of the edge and then folding it over again so that the raw edge does not show. You may want to use an iron to press the hem first. Then sew a top-stitch around all four sides. This looks really nice from the top but not as nice underneath. (see image above)
The second, and easiest technique, is using pinking shears to finish the edges. I’m not sure how these will launder but they are a great way to achieve a finished edge if you are short on time.
The third technique is a serge or overcast stitch. This is a special setting on the sewing machine. It requires a good deal of thread and requires a little patience to run through all four sides, but I think it looks the best. You may want to use a thread that is close to the same color as the fabric so that the stitching blends in well. I used a lighter thread so you can easily see the stitches in this article.
The best part of this linen fabric is that it looks great in all kinds of settings.
A causal party, or an elegant dinner, either setting looks great with natural linen.
Use the napkins to line bread baskets, trays, or place mats in a pinch.
All 3 finishing techniques work well on this beautiful linen fabric. You can also use the same techniques on a variety of other fabric, especially cottons and cotton blends which, like linen, have enough weight to make them easy to work with, and at $3 a piece they may be worth the effort.
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