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Citrus Holiday: Easy Napkins with Festive Trim

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Adding a simple fabric border kicks this napkin up a notch. Napkins are a great beginning project and a great way to practice hemming. We made all our napkins match for our Citrus Holiday table, but it would also be snazzy to do a different, coordinating trim on each person's napkin. Not only would it be a great way to use up fabric scraps, you could also keep track of which napkin belongs to which guest.

Our Citrus Holiday projects were made using Heather Bailey's delightful Pop Garden & Bijoux Collection. To learn more about how we created this non-traditional holiday palette, read our article: Citrus Holiday: Christmas Dining Room.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • Fabric for SIX napkins: 1¾ yards of 45" wide fabric: we used a cream colored cotton sateen fabric
  • Fabric for SIX napkin trim pieces: ½ yard of 45" wide fabric: we used Heather Bailey's Bijoux in Tiled Primrose Pink
    Note: you could squeak by with ¼ yard, but you'd have to cut very carefully. Having a ½ yard gives you a little breathing room; plus, many online fabric sources have a ½ yard minimum cut.
  • All purpose thread
  • Contrasting color thread for topstitching, slightly darker than napkin color
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Use your see-through ruler and pencil to draw six 21" x 21" squares onto the fabric you are using for the napkin. Cut along drawn lines.
  2. Use your see-through ruler and pencil to draw six rectangles 21" long and 3" wide onto the fabric you are using for the napkin trim. Cut along drawn lines.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Along ONE of the 21" lengthwise edges on EACH of the six napkin trim pieces, fold under ½" and press.
  2. Pin this trim piece to the bottom of the napkin, so the side and bottom raw edges line up, and the folded-in edge lays across the face of the napkin.
  3. Edgestitch around all 4 edges of the rectangular trim piece. This adheres the finished folded edge to the napkin's face and secures the raw edges so they will be easier to hem.
  4. Create a hem around all four edges of the napkin by folding the right side of the fabric under ¼" along all four sides, pressing, and then folding under another ¼" along all 4 sides and pressing again. This makes a clean, 'double-turn' edge all around. For more information on hemming, read our tutorial: How to Make a Simple Hem.
  5. Change your thread to the contrasting color and topstitch around all four sides. Stay just under ¼" from your folded edge. Sew slowly, making sure you catch the folded hem on the back. To keep your corners sharp, work with your needle in the down position and pivot. When you get to a corner and are about to turn to topstitch the next edge, stop with the needle down through the fabric, lift the presser foot, and turn the napkin to line up the next edge, using the needle as a pivot point.
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  6. You can make a simple square corner or for a cleaner finish, read our tutorial:
  7. Finished napkin will be 20" x 20" square.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation & Instructions: Gregory Dickson



Comments (10)

Patria Strambler said:
Patria Strambler's picture

Thanks very much for taking the time to write simple instructions. You muts love a pretty table setting, because it shows! And so do I!.. Your are awesome!

P.S Thanks for explaining the "sateen" fabric..

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hello "20980" -- thank you so much for your comment about your inspiration. Stories like this really do make it all worth while!
20980 said:
20980's picture
I do not sew, never did,so am trilled to find your site. Got a very simple machine for Christmas and these napkins will be my first attempt at mastering, or at least becoming friends with It.. Thank you billions for taking the time to do the simple items, write with such clarity, and then take the time to add pictures. I can do this thanks to you.
RKR said:
RKR's picture
Ok thank you so much we are getting ready to go get material now! thanks a million!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi RKR -- the cost will depend on the price of your fabric and how many napkins you make. If you make six in the same type of fabrics as we chose, your fabric cost should run about $22 - $30. That is figuring an average cost per yard of $9.50 - $10.00. you don't need a lot of fabric and so might be able to find something you like for less. Have fun!
RKR said:
RKR's picture
I am about to try these the instructions are pretty easy to understand...how much do you estimate that the end cost will be?smilies/smiley.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Nancy --

Cotton sateen is pretty easy to find both online and at your local craft store. One note, which you probably know, but for the benefit of others who don't, sateen is a tight cotton weave with a lovely smooth finish. It doesn't have anything to do with "satin" other than a similarity of name. Hancock Fabrics carries cotton sateen online in a number of shades:


On additional note... You certainly don't have to use a cotton sateen for this project. Any thick cotton would work great.

Hope that helps.

Nancy Harpster said:
Nancy Harpster's picture
Where do you find Sateen fabric for these napkins??

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Oh dear, Ambery -- that's no good that your napkins didn't turn out. At what point in the instructions did you feel you couldn't tell what you were doing? Maybe I can add some details.
Ambery said:
Ambery's picture
smilies/angry.gif Was not happy that you couldn't tell what you were doing. Mine didn't turn out like the picture.