Do you remember the first cup of tea you had as a child? I do, and I recall how charmed I was by the little cups and saucers, how delighted I was with the tiny sandwiches and pretty cookies. What a wonderful world of grace and gentility. That's the world of our S4H Tea Time Collection. Today, we're making napkins, which are a perfect beginner project and a great way to practice hemming and corners. Our Tea Time set finishes at a generous 20" x 20" and includes both a lovely border accent and a sweet appliquéd teacup. We made just two napkins, but you could whip up a whole tea party's worth in an afternoon. It's fun to choose mix-and-match fabrics for the appliqués so each guest gets his/her own unique teacup and saucer.
Our beautiful natural linen was provided by America's Largest Fabric Store: Fabric Depot. We are so lucky to have this incredible resource right here in our hometown of Portland, Oregon, because they have such a wonderful selection of designer fabric, home décor options, traditional prints, specialty options and more. But, lucky for you, Fabric Depot also sells online and ships all over the world. Thanks also to our pals at Moda for providing our Layer Cake and Jelly Roll of Lily & Will by Bunny Hill Designs; it's simply one of the sweetest sets of delicate prints we've seen. Originally heralded as a nursery fabric, as you can see, it works wonderfully in this application as well.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
Supplies listed below are for TWO napkins; multiply as necessary for your tea party.
- Three Layer Cake squares (we used just three of the forty-two 10" x 10" squares in a standard pack; if you choose not to use a Layer Cake, you'll need to cut three 10" x 10" squares from your selected fabric - or at least find three scraps of fabric from which to cut your appliqué pieces): we used Lily & Will by Bunny Hill Designs for Moda Fabric in the Aqua and Brown colorway
- One Jelly Roll strip (we used just one of the forty-two 2½" x 42" strips in a standard roll; if you choose not to use a Jelly Roll, you'll need to cut two 2½" x 21" strips from your selected fabric - or at least find scraps of fabric from which to cut the borders): we used Lily & Will by Bunny Hill Designs for Moda Fabrics in the Aqua and Brown colorway
- ¾ yard of 44-45" wide linen: we used a medium weight natural linen from Fabric Depot
NOTE: Linen often comes in very wide widths. The linen currently available online from Fabric Depot is 55" wide.
- Fusible/transfer web: we used Wonder Under from Fabric Depot
- Pressing cloth
- All purpose thread to coordinate with fabrics: we used Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP #6110 Celedon for apron topstitching
- All purpose thread to accent fabrics for appliqué: we used Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP #8360 Summer Brown
- Freezer paper (optional)
- See-through ruler
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Small, sharp scissors for applique cutting
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Straight pins
- Download and print the Kitchen Tea Time Shapes Template. For this project you'll use the 'Large Teacup.'
IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Select your three Layer Cake squares (or cut fabric pieces) from which you'll create your two teacups. Set aside.
NOTE: Follow our design or pick and choose your own favorite combination.
- From your base fabric (natural linen in our samples), cut TWO 21" x 21" squares.
- Cut your Jelly Roll strip into two pieces, each measuring 2½" x 21". If you are not using a Jelly Roll strip, simply cut two 2½" x 21" strips from your border fabric.
- For detailed step-by-step instructions, and options, for preparing your appliqués, see our Tea Time Apron tutorial.
At Your Sewing Machine
- Find both border strips. Along one 21" edge of each strip, fold under ½" and press.
- Pin a pressed trim piece to the bottom of each 21" x 21" napkin square. The right side of the border piece should face the wrong side of the napkin square and the side and bottom raw edges should line up. The folded-in edge lays across the back of the napkin square.
- Stitch the strip to the napkin, using a ½" seam. Turn the border up and around to the front of the napkin square. Your seam line has now become the finished bottom edge of the napkin.
- Topstitch across border close the folded edge.
- Repeat to attach the remaining border strip to the other napkin square.
- Create a hem around the three raw edges of the napkin by folding the right side of the napkin under ¼" along all three sides, pressing, and then folding under another ¼" along all 4 sides and pressing again. This makes a clean, 'double-turn' hem all around.
- For more information on hemming, read our tutorial: How to Make a Simple Hem.
- This technique will make a simple square corner at the two top corners of your napkin. We did our standard, clean-finished mitered corner instead. If you are new to this technique, read our tutorial: Quick Tip: 1/4 Inch Double-Turn Clean Finished Hem.
- If necessary, change your top and bobbin thread to a color to match your base fabric, then topstitch around all three newly pressed 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, left the presser foot, and turn the napkin to line up the next edge, using the needle as a pivot point.
- Each finished napkin will be 20" x 20" square.
Positioning the appliqués
- We wanted our teacup appliqués to be centered at the bottom of each napkin when using a traditional dinner fold. To figure out this positioning, we folded the napkin in half side to side and finger pressed to make a small crease (I also marked the center point with a pin). We then folded the left side in to meet the center crease and finger pressed again.
- The teacup and saucer should be centered in between the two creases to the left of center, approximately ¼" from the top of the border strip.
- For detailed step-by-step instructions, and options, for stitching your appliqués, see our Tea Time Apron tutorial.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever