So, I have a new tutorial to share with you today, it is sort of like a 2-for-1 deal, because not only do you get to make some cloth dinner napkins that are simultaneously functional, cute and eco-friendly, but you get to learn how to make mitered corners too! If you have made my Double hem perfectly sized tea towels before, you can apply the mitered corner technique found here to the tea towel too.
I gotta admit that I used to hate mitering corners. I guess I just never found instructions, or a diagram that made a lot of sense to me. So, one day, I sat there, and went to work to figure out a method that made sense to me, and I came up with the method below, which is probaly how everyone makes mitered corners, but hopefully my way of thinking about them, and explaining them will really make sense to you too.
I think of these napkins as being casual because they have a wide hem, and the overall finished size is 15" x 15". I think I read somewhere that this measurement for a dinner napkin places it into the "casual" category. I am not sure who comes up with these rules, but that is perfectly fine with me, because having 3 small children in my house means that we do not do any fine dining around here.
My overall intention with making some cloth napkins has been to hopefully cut back on the amount of paper towel that we go through around here. I have been able to cut back on the amount we use for cleaning by investing in some of those microfiber wash cloths, and by cutting old kitchen towels in half with pinking shears, but we still use a lot of paper towel for wiping hands and faces, and even in lieu of plates for snacks when Mommy gets behind on dishes. So, I have set about making a bunch of napkins using fabric that I have had sitting around for a while, and am not in love with anymore, or bought too much of in the first place.
The "Satisfied Sentiment" part of this tutorial comes from the optional hand embroidery that you can do. I am not supplying any embroidery pattern for this, because your own hand writing is perfect for this project. Just use a water soluble marker, or even a pencil and write some sort of satisfied sentiment, and then hand embroider over your "pattern". I wrote "mmm ... good", because it reminds me of my dad. He is famous for saying "mmm....good" after he eats a big cheeseburger, or a big piece of pie.
Let's get Started!
Satisfied Sentiment Casual Dinner Napkin Tutorial + How To: Make Mitered Corners
Apx. Finished Size: 15" x 15"
Supply List (to make one napkin):
- 17" x 17" piece of quilting weight cotton
- Water Soluble Pen (or similar)
- Basic Sewing Supplies: Sewing machine, iron, 70/10 universal needle, quality all purpose thread
- Optional: Embroidery floss + Hand embroidery Needle
Metric Conversion: 1" =2.54cm
Abbreviations: RS= Right Side, WS = Wrong Side
Prewash your fabric first.
1. Take your piece of cotton and fold in each side 1/2" and press.
Note: My fabric does not have a RS or a WS, but if yours does, you will be folding the fabric over towards the WS.
2. Fold up each side of your cotton another 1/2" and press.
3. Unfold all of the folding you just did.
4. Now the way to make mitered corners easily is to allow the creases you just made by pressing your fabric be your "pattern". I suggest that for your first napkin or two you trace over all of the crease lines on the front and back (at the corners only), as I did below. I do not trace the crease lines anymore, because I have made so many, but when you are first starting out, it can really help to visualize everything.
So go ahead, trace the crease lines on what will be the back of your napkin (the WS of your fabric if you have one).
Now do the same on what will be the front.
5. Flip your napkin back over so that the "back" (i.e. WS) is facing up. See how your tracing formed a little square in the corner? Cut diagonally right across that little square as shown below.
6. Now you are going to fold up your corner so that your traced lines on the front and back meet. See how they appear to form a corner?
7. Okay, we are going to fold again. This time we are going to fold in each side 1/2" as we did in the first step. Your raw edges will meet your drawn lines.
8. Fold up each side again 1/2", and look ... a mitered corner!
9. Place a pin across the corner.
10. Repeat the preceding steps for the remaining 3 corners.
11. Take your napkin to your machine and sew a row of topstitching that is close to the inner edge of the hem. Continue sewing as many rows of top-stitching as you desire ... I like to use 3 or 4. You can make the lines really straight ... or just "straight-ish" for a true casual feel. Pivot at each corner, and be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end to secure your thread. Once you are finished top-stitching, press your napkin.
12. This last step is optional ... take a water soluble marker (or similar), and write your own satisfied sentiment on one corner. Hand embroider over what you just wrote.
13. And that is it! Easy, right? Now go on, and make a whole bunch of them.
I would love to see your satisfied sentiments and/or napkins in the Split Stitch Flickr Pool ... post them there, and I will share them here on the split stitch too!