I am working on a little project that needs cloth napkins (stay tuned…) and thought making cloth napkins would also be great for Earth Day (April 22)!

Here are two versions, one with  mitered corners and the other with square corners. First pre-wash the fabric. Cut fabric into a square 1″ larger than the desired finished size. I cut 17 inch squares so that I would have 16 inch napkins.

Mitered Corner Napkin Instructions

Iron edge over 1/4 inch.

miternapkin1Moving clockwise, iron next edge 1/4 inch over. Iron all four sides then fold first side over again another 1/4 inch. Do all four sides moving clockwise.

miternapkin3Open up corner.

miternapkin4Cut off top of corner.

miternapkin5Fold top edge down (to corner of second fold line) and iron.

miternapkin6Fold the side edge  to the middle on each side (folding on press lines – fold side down then fold again to make corner). Repeat until all four sides have mitered corners.


Sew all the way around the edge of napkin.

miternapkin8Finished with a mitered corner napkin!


Square Corner Napkin Instructions

To make a napkin with square corners, iron edge over 1/4 inch. Moving in clockwise direction iron next side 1/4 inch until all four sides have been pressed 1/4 inch.

napkin10Now fold over edges another 1/4 inch (moving in a clockwise direction).

napkin11When all four sides have been folded over twice, sew all the way around the edge of the napkin. I think most people sew straight off the edge on each side, but my sewing machine doesn’t like sewing through those layers.


I also like the way it looks from the front.




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  1. Can’t wait to try this out! I just bought some cute fabric. Great way to cut back on paper towel usage!

  2. Thanks for the instructions. It’s funny, I was looking at buying 4/$35 on a website and then remembered that I have (almost) identical fabric in my basement. I’ll give it a shot!

  3. I’m making 120 napkins for my son and soon to be daughter in laws wedding – its a ‘rustic’ affair at our cottage, so I’d like to fringe the edges of the napkins. I’m using a good quality poly fabric that is specific for table linens. Did one as a sample and I’m not crazy about the outcome. I pulled a straight thread on each side giving about 1/2 inch of fringe and then did a zigzag stitch to stabilize each side, but the zigzag stitch caused a scallop effect. Not what I wanted – I would like to just keep the simple fringe. Any ideas out there?

  4. Adorei saber fazer esse guardanapo.Estava louca para aprender,vou começar agora a fazer pois tenho certeza q irei acertar qualquer dúvida saberei aonde recorrer mto obg

  5. I am not as crafty as some of these other ladies…anyone willing to make 150 napkins for my wedding? of course im willing to pay….my colors are lime and navy green…wedding is not unitl the spring.

  6. I need some help of a professinal person, i have to make a huge quantity of cloth nakins, but i was unable in doing the costing , i need to know for example how many meters of fabric i need for making 100 napkins or 10000 or 100000 cloth napkins, if any body have the idea of it help me i will give you some gift after i have done the costing…. contact me at 0092-322-4153578

  7. This is a follow up to my comment a few weeks ago…

    Thanks again for this great tutorial! I just completed my first set of napkins this weekend and, because of your clear instruction, they turned out beautifully! I posted about the project on my blog tonight and linked back to your site. :o)

  8. Your tutorial kicks ass! I looked at several others sites that did not have clear instructions and photographs. I am in the midst of making napkins for my wedding, but I only have 64 to make! Tonight I finished my first eight, and I’m pleased with the turnout. They certainly aren’t going to win any awards, and they don’t look as uniform as yours, but they are unique! Thanks!!

  9. Just found you via pinterest! I’m excited to try making these napkins! Thanks for the tutorial!

  10. This is great! I have so much fabric that needs to be used and kids who need napkins! Thanks for the tute!

    S. Saleehy, Most fabric is 40ish inches wide, so you’ll be able to cut two out of each width. So you need 12×17 inches. then divide by 12 to get how many feet, and divide by 3 to get how many yards =5.6666 yards. Just buy 6 yards. Iron lines in it before you cut to make sure you have it figured out. Good luck!

  11. This is an amazing tutorial, and I am excited to say that I have officially made my first mitered corner cloth napkins for my daughter’s birthday. I am linking back to your tutorial tomorrow over at http://www.meaningfulmama.com Thank you! Thank you!

  12. I was wondering what kind of fabric you used? I have looked high and low for a quality, texture cotton for a decent price. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  13. I understand the 17 inch square for a 16 inch napkin. I am not a sewer but would like a friend to do the sewing for me if I get all the prep done. How many yards for 24 napkins?

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