Friday, December 26, 2008


I love cloth napkins - we've used them all the years we've been married (44 and counting) and the current ones are beginning to show their age - some are over 20 years old. Sharyn also has been making some new napkins - hers are different from mine - and she gives a great tutorial for hemming napkins.

I go to thrift stores a lot and recently I've been buying woven plaid tablecloths - usually for 2.99 each - and a couple weeks ago I began cutting them up into squares for napkins.

Then I zigzag about 1" in from the edge of the napkins - a very close zigzag. I try to coordinate the thread with the main color in the napkin. Next is the fringing - pulling the threads out on the area past the zigzagging stitch.

The pile of threads I pulled to fringe the napkins! It weighs almost a whole pound!

This takes time, and a couple sore fingers, but is sure worth it when you have a nice stack of fringed napkins. This only works with even weave fabrics - or if you tear the fabric if it is a regular cotton, to get an even edge for the fringing. I really like the woven plaids that I use. I search for them whenever I am at thrift shops or yard sales.

All stacked up and ready to be stitched.

These are the only napkins that were made from purchased fabric. I got this at JoAnn Fabrics about a year ago - I have two tablecloths with hearts in the corners - they match these napkins perfectly.

Great napkins for a picnic.

I bought two tablecloths at Goodwill in this fabric - I cut up the smaller one for napkins - got 8 napkins out of it - and can use the second tablecloth on the picnic table in the summer, or on the indoors table if it rains on our picnic.

These napkins were made from a Martha Stewart tablecloth. I loved the cloth - except that it has a hideous turquoisey green stripe running all around the edge - with another border of stripes in this red color. So ugly - but the main part of the tablecloth made super neat napkins.

These are smaller napkins in a similar design that were Don's grandparent's everyday napkins. They are getting so old that we prefer to not use them anymore - and these will be a great replacement. We will think of the old napkins when we use the new ones.

Traditionally napkins were used over and over before they were washed. Each person had a napkin ring with their initial on it and after a meal they would put their napkin back in the ring, to be used the next meal. Two of Don's grandparents' napkins are exceptionally worn and faded, and we figure that those were the two that were used the most, while the others were for when company came.

This is probably my favorite - and it goes perfectly with our everyday Corelle "Chutney" design dishes. All of them will go with the dishes, but this green is the perfect match.

I'm just crazy about these dishes. They were a gift from our kids two christmases ago. I think they are perfect as "Washington" dishes.

Here are the finished napkins - one of each kind - I just love them.

I have two of these napkins and a tablecloth to match-and am considering cutting up the tablecloth to make more napkins. I got the tablecloth and two napkins at the Salvation Army store. They have an annoying practice of splitting up sets of things and sending some of the set to several stores. They seem to think it is better to spread all the good stuff around - but it is not so good an idea in my opinion, especially when you have no idea where the other napkins might be - and if you did know - the store if probably too far away to travel to. Since I use napkins a lot more than tablecloths I will probably end up cutting up that fall colors tablecloth too.

I've certainly had a grand time making the napkins - and can't wait to be using them every day. I will still look for woven plaid tablecloths at the thrift stores just in case our daughters or son need new napkins too. I just can't resist them. And they would certainly make great gifts.

Every year I give the house a complete cleaning after taking down the christmas decorations and that way the house is clean and fresh for the new year. I am going to be doing some rearranging of furniture - starting tomorrow - to begin the winter housecleaning. I will replace all the holiday napkins in the drawer with the brand new ones. I plan to iron all the tablelcoths too and get them back on their shelf in the linen closet. I really enjoy this time between christmas and New Years.


goddess in the groove said...

How wonderful! I love this, this is a great project for the kids and I, especially including the napkin ring for each person. It fits perfectly into our "recycled art" theme for the New Year. I thank you for always adding all the pictures, I am so visual, I need them :).
Sending you Blessings for the New Year!

JoyceAnn said...

Great idea , I love the fringed look too. I buy cloth napkins at the thrift stores , since I can't sew. These look easy though ~~~ if I only had a sewing machine.

I need to buy some napkin rings , using them more than once is something we've never did , but plan to start now.

~ Many Blessings ~

JoyceAnn said...
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Lindsay Jean said...

What a neat project! Definitely not something I would have thought to do, but they turned out beautifully.

Teresa said...

I too love the idea of cloth napkins but never though of using tablecloths to make them. I am going to be hitting the Goodwill soon to see if I can find some nice plaids. Now that cleaning between Christmas and New Years - sounds like a great idea, but that is usually my time to be very lazy as I have a whole week off work. Not too sure I will take up your tradition but it would be grand to have a newly cleaned house on New Years Day!