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Scalloped Edge Napkins with Satin Stitch Finish
When I was a little girl, I had a blouse with a scalloped edge collar. It was my “good blouse” – appropriate for school picture day and birthday parties. It had dense pink stitching along the edge, which I thought was extremely cool. Now, all these years later, I know for a fact it was extremely cool; and, I’ve learned how to do it! You can do it too.
Rather than a collar, we’ve chosen a classic napkin for our scalloped edge. And, there’s a second project available to create matching placemats. Make one or make both, either would be an excellent look for a Spring or Summer tabletop.
There are a number of options to create this type of finish along a raw edge. We decided on a padded satin stitch. It’s an easy technique that works especially well on all the bias edges of the scallops. The result is smooth, stable, and beautiful.
You’ll combine a strand of pearl cotton floss in your favorite color with a matching color of heavier weight thread in both the top and bobbin. We used a 50wt cotton thread because we wanted a matte finish, but a rayon or polyester thread would also be fine.
Both the napkins and the placemats are Janome America sponsored projects. Our thanks to them for their support, which is what helps us be able to bring patterns and instructions to you free of charge.
To create the edge, you stitch around the perimeter three times, each time with a different presser foot. We indicate not only the feet we chose to use, but also alternative feet. Janome has such a great selection of standard and specialty presser feet. You really owe it to yourself to break open that little plastic bag that comes with your machine and experiment with all the options. When you use the right foot for the job, the process is easier and the finish is more professional.
We chose a single layer of lightweight linen for our base fabric. It’s a classic option for napkins since it’s lovely and absorbent, but you could opt for different substate, such a quality quilting weight cotton or even a sateen.
Linen is a flexible fabric with a tendency to skew, especially when bias cut edges are introduced. To combat this, we show you how to layer stabilizer, linen, and our paper pattern. This full pattern download is offered for free below – thanks again, Janome. You’ll trim and assemble the pattern, then use it a bit like a stencil, stitching alongside but not through the paper itself. It’s a very stable unit with which to work; one that can be moved and maneuvered at the sewing machine.
Speaking of stabilizer, that’s an important part of the technique. You’ll pick a wash-away option and cut it to extend beyond the scallops. After your three rounds of stitching, you’ll remove the excess stabilizer to reveal your pretty finished edge.
The napkins are gorgeous with just the edge finishing, but why not add a little extra flair with embroidery. Our sample trio includes one plain napkin, one with a single-letter monogram, and a third with a petite fleur de lis. Free downloads are offered below for the exact alphabet we used as well as for the fleur de lis art. You’ll find six different machine embroidery formats from which to choose.
Thanks again to Janome America for their support of this project and many of our other popular projects. If you’re ready for frustration-free sewing and want to find out more about the amazing Janome machines, visit their website, follow them on social media, and – best of all – visit a local dealer for an in-person test stitch.
Our Scalloped Edge Napkins finish at approximately 20” x 20”. And, don’t forget to check out the matching Scalloped Edge Placemats.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot; you’ll need a machine with embroidery functionality for the optional corner accent
- 3-Way Cording foot; our choice for couching the pearl cotton
- Beading foot; another option for couching the pearl cotton
- Satin Stitch foot; our choice for the satin stitching that finishes the edge
- Appliqué foot; another option for the final satin stitching
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Ingredients shown are for ONE napkin. Multiply as needed to create enough for your next gathering.
- ⅝ yard of 54″+ wide mid-weight linen; we used a slightly off white
NOTE: ⅝ is the minimum needed. If you are worried about your cutting accuracy, get ¾ yard. At the recommended 54”+ width, this is enough for two napkins.
- 1⅓ yard of 20”+ wide wash-away stabilizer; we used Floriani Stitch and Wash
- ONE skein of pearl cotton floss in your desired color; we used ocean blue, spring green, and dusty pink
- ½ yard of 20”+ tear-away stabilizer as recommended by your embroidery machine for the optional corner embroidery
- 50wt cotton thread to match the pearl cotton floss
- Bobbin thread as recommended by your machine
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat
- Small, sharp scissors for final trimming around the scallops; we recommend duck-bill appliqué scissors
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print out the scallop pattern for the perimeter of the napkin. This pattern is made up of SIX pages that have been bundled into one PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each page within this PDF is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guideline on each page to confirm your printout is to scale. The pages are designed to print horizontally (landscape rather than portrait).
- Cut out each pattern piece along the solid lines – both the inner straight lines and the outer scalloped edges.
- Using the notches on each piece as a guide, match up the six pages to complete the full pattern. Butt together the pieces, do not overlap, and tape along each joint.
- From the linen, cut ONE 22” x 22” square.
- From the stabilizer, cut the following:
|ONE 20” x 24” panel
ONE 5” x 24” strip
NOTE: You are cutting this way in order to piece together a full 24” x 24” panel of stabilizer. Unfortunately, most stabilizer comes at a maximum width of 20”, so your panel has to be pieced to create the width needed. As you plan the number of napkins you wish to make, take this into account. You can cut FOUR 5” x 24” strips across one 20” width. Of course, if you find or have wider stabilizer, simply cut a 24” square.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Layering the panels
- To start, some information about how we set up our linen units. Linen is a flexible fabric. It will skew without the layer of stabilizer and the paper template. Because our scalloped edge has so much bias, tracing the around the template provides less stability than simply leaving the paper template in place and stitching alongside it.
- Find your 22” linen square. Iron it well so it is super flat and wrinkle-free.
- Overlap the 20” panel of stabilizer with the 5” strip of stabilizer. You are overlapping by 1” in order to finish with a full 24” x 24” square of stabilizer. Tape together.
- Place the stabilizer square on your work surface.
- Center the pressed linen square on top of the stabilizer so there is 1” of stabilizer extending beyond the linen on all sides.
- Center the assembled paper scallop template over the linen/stabilizer sandwich. Pin in place. As mentioned above, this makes a very stable unit with which to work; one that can be moved and maneuvered at the sewing machine.
Finishing the scalloped edge
- Set up your machine with the cotton thread in the top and bobbin. Make sure you have a full bobbin!
- You will be sewing THREE rows of stitching around the perimeter of the napkin to complete the scalloped edge. Each row requires a different foot.
- Start with your standard foot attached.
- Stitch around the entire perimeter with a line of standard straight stitching. You are sewing along, but not on, the scalloped edge of the paper pattern. So, you are sewing through just two layers: stabilizer and linen; you are tracing the edge of the pattern with your stitching rather than a pen. Overlap your start and end points about ¼”.
- Trim the threads and remove the project from the machine.
- Place the project linen side up and flat on your work surface.
- Trim away the excess fabric close to the stitching line. Any small, sharp scissors can work, but a pair of duck bill appliqué scissors makes things much easier. This type of scissor has a wide blade on one side that helps protect your underlying layer. Place the wide blade between the linen fabric and the stabilizer and trim the fabric, leaving the stabilizer intact. These specialty scissors really help!
- Your trim should be as close as possible to the stitch line, but don’t worry about it being super duper neat. It will be covered by the final satin stitch.
- Your next trip around the perimeter will couch the pearl cotton in place. There are several feet to choose from for this step. The Janome Beading foot has a narrow slot on the underside of the foot which helps guide the pearl cotton. Our choice was the Janome 3-Way Cording foot. It has slots for up to three strands of decorative thread or thin cording. Our scalloped edge needs just a single strand, so we only needed the center slot.
- Set up the machine for a small zig zag. We used a width of 2.5mm and a length of 0.80mm.
- Slip the pearl cotton under the foot and into the center slot.
- Place the linen panel under the foot. You should start and end as the same point as your original perimeter stitch line.
- Start stitching, carefully covering the scalloped outline while couching the pearl cotton to the edge. You needn’t pin the pearl cotton in place; simply hold it as you stitch, keeping a slight tension on it.
- Continue stitching until you reach your starting point. Trim the pearl cotton so there is only about ¼” remaining. Once trimmed, continue stitching until that pearl cotton end is covered. Lock the stitch and trim the threads.
- For the third round of perimeter stitching, a smooth satin stitch will complete the edge. You have two good presser foot choices for accomplishing a smooth scalloped edge. One option is the Janome Appliqué foot. This clever foot is shorter than most and has a smooth underside that can glide and pivot easily around curves. The second choice for the job is the Janome Satin Stitch foot, which is commonly used for decorative stitching. It has a wide channel on the underside of the foot that can perfectly guide the stitching around the edge of our scallops. It was our choice for the sample napkins.
- Attach your favorite foot and adjust the zig zag for a wide satin stitch. Our samples used a width of 3.0mm and a length of 0.40mm.
- Starting at the same point as above, stitch over the pearl cotton, along the scalloped edge. The needle should swing just off the edge of the fabric on the right side, catching the fabric on the left swing of the needle. The goal is a smooth satin stitch that completely covers the edge of the fabric.
- When you reach the starting point, overlap the stitches just slightly, lock your stitch, and trim the threads.
- The last step is to remove the stabilizer, following the manufacturer’s instructions. We used a wash-away/tear-away stabilizer. It has a fibrous texture that comes away from the edge easily by simply pulling it away. However, because of its fibrous nature, it leaves a bit of fuzz at the edge.
- As an option, you can use small, sharp scissors to cut away the stabilizer along the perforations made by the needle, taking care to not cut any of the satin stitches.
- Whatever method you choose for removing your stabilizer, press the finished napkin using plenty of steam.
Adding the optional embroidery
- The completed napkin is beautiful with just the striking edgestitching. In fact, we left one of our napkin samples as-is. But for a bit of extra personalization, why not add a monogram or a small embroidered motif, such as our fleur de lis?
- We’ve included a monogram collection in the Motifa font, along with a fleur de lis image for you to use with your embroidery machine should you choose to match our exact look. Follow the instructions below to download the collection in your machine’s embroidery format. A PDF file with all the placement templates is also included below. Of course, you can always choose to use your own font selection as well as your own petite graphic.
- Set up your machine for professional styled embroidery.
- Place cotton thread in the top and bobbin thread in the bobbin.
- Hoop two layers of tear-away stabilizer in the appropriate hoop.
- Place the hoop on the machine.
- Select the desired monogram.
- Cut out the the placement template for the desired monogram and position it on the corner of the napkin. For our sample napkin, we used the letter H and positioned it with the center of the crosshair 3½“ up from one corner.
- Insert a pin through the center of the crosshair.
- Place the corner of the napkin over the hoop with the needle positioned right over the marked center point.
- Make sure to adjust the fabric so it is on the diagonal.
- Use the baste function to secure the fabric to the hoop.
- Embroider the design.
- The fleur de lis is created in the same manner…
- … and is sized to stitch in the same position.
- When done, remove the excess stabilizer, and press the embroidery from the wrong side.
Project Design: Anne Adams
Sample Creation and Embroidery Digitizing: Michele Mishler
Click button below to download the placement templates for each design.
IMPORTANT: This download consists of TWO 8½” x 11″ sheets that have been bundled together to make the download easier.
Download Instructions (for .zip files)
All elements are provided in your choice of SIX file formats: ART, EXP, JEF, PES, VIP, and VP3.
Each file is provided as a .zip file to download. Choose your format and download as you normally would any .zip file. If you have trouble, try the steps below.
First, click on the Blue Icon from the list below that is the appropriate file format for your embroidery machine. This is the .zip file you want to download.
A) For Windows users: Select “Save As” to save the .zip folder where you’d like it on your computer. Navigate to that folder. To unzip the file, you will have to right-click on the folder and select “extract.”
B) For Mac users: The .zip file should automatically download to your “downloads” folder or a location you have previously defined. If not, then right-click (or control-click) on the link and select “Download Linked File”. Save the .zip file to your computer. To unzip the file, double-click the file. Your files will be unzipped into the same folder as the original .zip file.
NOTE: Our thanks again to S4H Seamstress Team Member, Michele Mishler for her digitizing expertise! As always, these designs may be used for personal use and gifts only.
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Wonderful project. Zip file for vp3 and vip are empty. Other 4 formats download the expected 27 items when unzipped. Since my machine prefers vip or vp3, please correct this glitch. Many thanks.
Hi Red camellia – so sorry to hear you had download issues. We removed the original folders and re-uploaded new folders of files to insure they come through correctly. Everything checks out on our end – tested on both Chrome and Safari browsers.
Thank you so much for fixing the glitch. The VIP and VP3 files downloaded while using my Safari browser. I am looking forward to carving out some time to make the scalloped napkins with monogram.