We love cloth napkins, and this bound-edge variety is another of our easy yet elegant designs. It got us wondering about the ubiquitous napkin. Turns out the modern day table linen has quite a history, dating back as far as the Romans, who used a larger cloth called a mappae, which was spread over the edge of a couch to protect it while dining in typical Roman reclining position. Jump forward to France in the 1700s; the napkin had evolved to an important part of the formal table, and the French court's elaborate codes of etiquette included such important social rules as: "It is ungentlemanly to use a napkin for wiping the face or scraping the teeth, and it is a most vulgar error to wipe one's nose with it." I think this still holds true today!
It's a reversible placemat. No, it's a party activity. Wait... you're both right! Our party placemats feature fun and festive fabric from Patty Young's new Playdate collection on one side, and Über cool chalk cloth on the other. Similar to oilcloth, chalk cloth is heavy yet pliable and waterproof. You can write on it with regular or liquid chalk and then wipe it clean with a damp cloth or baby wipe. We gave each party guest his/her own box of chalk to play with, keeping little hands busy while we set up for more fun and games.