How to Sew Cloth Napkins – the regular method and the speed method

Learn how to sew cloth napkins with fat quarters! I love cloth napkins. They are classy and impressive for any meal, and your friends don’t have to know that you simply ran out of paper napkins. Or stopped buying them because you have a drawerful of beautiful cloth napkins that you made yourself, right?

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There really is no difference in the way that the cloth napkins turn out. But the speed method (lol) will make them much faster.

For each cloth napkin, cut a square of fabric at least 15” x 15”. Restaurant napkins are sometimes bigger, but I think this is a good size, especially if kids will be using them.

90% of the work for cloth napkins is done at the ironing board. First press a 1/4” hem on each side of the napkin. I like to use the straight side of my Dritz Ezy-Hem to make it nice and even.

Unfold each corner. I drew a red arrow pointing to the inside corner where you will fold it in. But first trim away 1/2”.

Fold the straight edge (cut off corner) in by 1/4” and re-fold the sides. This can be done without glue, but using the SuperStik from Thermoweb makes the corner stay put until you sew it.


And for the last 10% of this project, zip around the hems with your sewing machine. All done!

So, I was enjoying my afternoon, pressing and gluing and listening to Pandora, when suddenly I looked at the clock and sheesh! I had a huge pile of cloth napkin squares left to press and sew, and not very long before the kids came home from school. That’s when this speed method came to me.


And guess what? The ‘speed sewn’ napkins look exactly the same as the ‘slow method’ napkins. Maybe they are even neater! Check it out…

Begin with the same 15” squares. Then cut 1/2” off each corner. From the picture, you can see that I measured 1/2” from the tip of the corner toward the center of the square.

To make this really speedy, I stacked and cut the corners off 4 cloth napkins at a time.

At the ironing board, first press in the corner edges 1/4”. Then press 1/4” hems just like the previous method. See? Just as neat. Finish sewing them the same way as the first method.

And we are ready to eat!

Happy Sewing!


Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. πŸ™‚

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  1. Tea's Quilts says:

    love your napkins. Cost effective too. Try using a 1/4 rolled hem foot for a faster way. Or use a serger with decorative threads for the fastest way. Now you have fast, faster, and fastest way to make your napkins.

    Sew to make someone happy!

  2. What type of fabric and is the sweet siesta? Would love to make some as Christmas gifts

  3. Mary Chevalier says:

    Enjoyed the tout.Would like to know what foot you are using ?

    1. Thanks! That’s the straight stitch foot on my Juki TL2010Q – it only sews straight. πŸ™‚

      Your standard sewing machine foot should work just fine. xoxo

  4. I was wondering if anyone had suggestions on TYPE of fabric to use for napkins. I love the soft, natural feel of cotton, but I won’t ever iron them. Any suggestions on blends? Fabric makers? I’ve looked at Joann’s but after using good quilting fabric, everything just seems so ‘cheap’.

    1. I agree with you there – I love using high quality fabrics too! If you can find a polyester blend fabric that you like, it will probably require less ironing. Good luck!

  5. Tracy King says:

    I tried to nominate you but when I click on the craftsy icon the link is broken πŸ˜”. Thought you should know.

  6. michelle linhoff says:

    Love this speed method! Thanks for your daily emails πŸ˜‰ Always a good start to the day to come with my cup of tea! Thanks for inspiring us all!

  7. Rae Quintana says:

    I really like thia idea especially when it saves money. I did not see a reply as to what type fabric is best. Can you give your opinion on this?

  8. These are wonderful! The instructions are perfect. Thank you!

  9. Thank you for all the wonderful patterns! I enjoy your designs so much! They are easy to follow.

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