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Since we brought you bold mix-and-match placemats on Monday in Ty Pennington’s gorgeous new Fall 2012 collection, of course we need dynamic mix-and-match napkins to coordinate! Although the venerable paper napkin has been around since the late 1800s, we still prefer cloth napkins. They’re a beautiful way to jazz up a table setting, generate less waste in the landfill, and are a fast, easy and fun project for a beginning sewer or anyone with just a few hours to create. But wait, there’s more: we also have happy little pom-pom festooned napkin ties! It’s a beautiful set for your holiday table or simply to brighten up everyday dining. The edges of both the napkins and the ties feature hand-look decorative stitching – thanks to the amazing stitch options on our Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP. We show you how the stitch is created with invisible thread, and we have some special fussy-cutting tricks for the super-centered tie motifs. 

With four weeks of holiday happiness, we’re bringing you a new collection from a different designer each week Last week, you met Melissa White of Rowan Fabrics. This week it’s Ty Pennington from Ty Pennington Impressions. Later this month, we’ll explore Verna Mosquera‘s Pirouette from FreeSpirit Fabric and Amy Butler‘s Alchemy from Rowan Fabric. We have a full slate of fast and easy, “do-it-in-a-day” projects. Simple yet classic creations executed in gorgeous fabrics – perfect for holiday giving and decorating, with a beauty that will last year ’round. 

This latest collection from Ty Pennington Impressions is yummy eye candy. There are a dozen different patterns in two jewel tone colorways. Twenty-four options that are unique yet beautifully coordinated, giving you the freedom to mix-and-match hundreds of excellent combinations. You likely recognize the charismatic home design guru from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition where his creativity and coordination have helped transform the lives of thousands and inspired millions of DIYers around the world.

Ty’s new collection will be available in-store and online in December 2012. The fabric swatches have not yet been added to the official Ty Pennington Impressions website, but we expect them to be loaded soon. We’ll let everyone know when that happens, and will update all our links. 

In addition, for all of the projects in our series, we’ve put together a handy Where To Buy Retailer Locator, giving you a fast and easy way to source the fabrics we are featuring from both brick and mortar stores in your area (the page is broken out by state) as well as online options. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

The ingredients shown below are for ONE 20″ x 20″ napkin and ONE coordinating tie. Yardage includes the extra necessary for fussy cutting. The minimum of ⅔ yard will give you enough depth and plenty of width, however, we recommend ¾ yard to allow you to precisely center the bold motifs of the Ty Pennington fabric.

  • ⅔ – ¾ yard of 44-45″ wide fabric for EACH napkin; for our four mix-and-match napkins we used four different fabrics from Ty Pennington’s Fall 2012 Collection:
    Solara in the Event colorway
    Finch in the Event colorway
    Indo in the Sunse colorway
    Solara in the Sunse colorway
  • ⅛ – ¼ yard of 44-45″ wide fabric for EACH tie; for our four mix-and-match ties we used just two different fabrics from Ty Pennington’s Fall 2012 Collection; centering on different parts of the fabric to create different looks:
    Maya in the Sunse colorway
    Indo in the Event colorway
  • Scrap or ⅛ yard of heavy-weight fusible interfacing, such as Pellon Decor Bond
  • ⅓ yard of ¼” pom pom trim, we used mini pom pom trim by Riley Blake in black
  • ONE 1″ decorative black button, we used a chunky black button purchased locally
  • All purpose thread in colors to match fabric
  • Contrasting all purpose thread for topstitching (bobbin)
  • Clear polyester monofilament thread (invisible thread) for topstitching (top)
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper

Getting Started


  1. From each napkin fabric, carefully fussy cut ONE 21″ x 21″ square.
  2. NOTE: We recommend a rotary cutter for cutting squares. It’s faster and more accurate. If using a rotary cutter for the first time, we have a detailed explanation of the proper use of this tool in our article on Quilting Basics. If you need help selecting a rotary cutter that best suits your needs, check out our Buying Guide on rotary cutting products.

Napkin Ties

  1. From the interfacing, cut ONE 2″ x 10″ strip for each tie. 
  2. From each tie fabric, carefully fussy cut one 3″ x 21″ strip for each tie. 
  3. Because of how the tie wraps and overlaps, we used a bit of “special math” to center what would become our featured front motif. 
  4. Place your ⅛ – ¼ yard fabric right side up on your work surface. Locate the best horizontal band within the motif.
  5. Using your clear ruler and a fabric pen or pencil (that you are sure will wash/wipe away or disappear with exposure to the air), draw a horizontal line through the exact center of this motif band. Draw a second horizontal line 1½” above this center line. Draw a third horizontal line 1½” below the center line. You are drawing across the entire width of the fabric. You will end up with excess, which you make into additional ties or save in your scrap bag.
  6. Cut along the the second and third drawn horizontal lines to create a 3″ x WOF strip. 
  7. To correctly position the featured front design, select a motif approximately 6″ in from the left end of the strip. Center the ruler on this motif. Move the fabric and ruler so the ruler is aligned with a grid line on your cutting mat.
  8. The tie is made from a 20″ (finished width) length of fabric. It is folded in half to make a tie 10″ long. This means the center is 5″ from the left end of the strip, with 15″ of fabric left to complete the tie. Add a ½” seam allowance to either end. Cut the left end 5½” left of the motif center. Cut the right end 15½” to the right of the motif center. Use a safety pin to mark the center motif. You should now have a completed, super fussy cut strip that is 3″ x 21″.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board


  1. Create a ¼” double hem along all four sides of the fabric square. To do this, fold in ¼” and press, then fold another ¼” and press again, encasing the raw edge within the fold. If you are new to this technique, see our tutorial on Making A Simple Hem.
  2. You can certainly make standard square “military corners” where the two folded edges, simply overlap. However, we always like to suggest a clean finished corner, which has a more professional finish. We have a great tutorial on on how to make easy clean finished corners
  3. Topstitch the ¼” folded hem along all four edges of napkin. You can use a standard straight stitch or a decorative stitch for this step. 
  4. For our napkins, we wanted to simulate hand-stitching, which would then coordinate with the actual hand-stitched accents on other items in our series, such as the placemats. Luckily for us, our Janome machine has just such a decorative stitch option, called a Sculptured stitch (Stitch #140 within the Quilt collection on the MC8900 QCP). This stitch is produced with a forward-backward motion. Check your manual and/or with your machine dealer to find out what options may be available on your machine. 
  5. The machine is threaded with invisible thread in the top and standard colored thread in the bobbin. We used a high contrast color so our hand-look stitches would stand out.
    NOTE: Invisible thread can be a bit challenging to work with as it is prone to breakage. Practice on scrap fabric to get the hang of how the stitch is formed. Sew slowly! If your machine has a speed governor, set it to a slow speed.
  6. You’ll notice on the screen shot below, the stitch suggests a tension of 6 – 8. This means the auto tension is overridden, and tightened to 6 – 8. By tightening the tension on the invisible thread, the top thread pulls the bobbin thread to the top of the fabric, creating clusters of hand look stitches. As we noted above, practice first on scrap fabric to get the tension just right. You want to use the lowest possible tension setting, which may require overriding your auto tension function. 
  7. The stitch is sewn on the right side of the fabric to create the look, which means you must be extra careful to make sure you correctly secure the back of the hem. We recommend stitching just 3/16″ from the edge of the napkin to catch the double ¼” hem.

    NOTE: To make nice sharp corners when topstitching, work with the needle in the down position – through your fabric. Some machines, such as the Janome models we use in the Sew4Home studios, have a needle up/down selector button. This option is very handy because then the machine remembers to stop with the needle down so you don’t have to. When you get to the 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 90˚ to line up the next edge, using the needle as a pivot point. 

Napkin Ties

  1. Find the fussy cut 3″ x 21″ fabric strip, the 2″ x 10 interfacing strip and the pom poms.
  2. Center the interfacing on the safety pin maker and within the strip top to bottom
  3. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric. 
  4. Press in all four sides of the tie ½”.
  5. Remove the safety pin and fold the tie in half so all the folded edges are flush. Press well.
  6. Open the strip back up, wrong side facing up, so you can see the center crease. 
  7. Cut a 7½” length of the pom pom trim.
  8. Place the pom pom trim along the bottom folded-in edge of the strip. Aligning the end with the center crease and center the flange (what the poms are attached to) within the folded-in edge of the fabric. Pin in place. 
  9. Refold the strip, encasing the flange within the folded edges. You can simply leave the pins in place, or if you are new to working with trims and small pieces, you can hand baste the poms in place through all the layers.
  10. Set up your machine again for the “hand-look” stitch or a simple straight stitch. If you decide on a simple straight stitch, we recommend at least lengthening the stitch. 
  11. With your regular presser foot in place, edgestitch the three sides of strip without the pom pom trim. In other words, start at the bottom corner of one end, stitch up the end, pivot, stitch across the top, pivot, stitch down the opposite end, and lock your stitch. 
  12. Switch to a Zipper foot for the final side to allow you to better stitch across the poms. If needed, adjust the position of the needle to match your previous stitching. 
  13. Edgetstitch the final side, securing the pom pom trim.
  14. Following the steps for your machine make and model, set up for a buttonhole
  15. The buttonhole should be positioned on the end of the tie where the poms start, centered top to bottom and approximately ⅝” from the finished end. 
  16. Stitch a buttonhole to match the size of your button. 
  17. Hand sew a button at the opposite end of the tie. It should be centered top to bottom and the outside edge of the button should be approximately ⅝” from the finished end. If you are new to this, check out our tutorial: How To Sew On A Button.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

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