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Cloth Napkins

I’ve been talking to the husband and the mama about changing to cloth napkins for almost two years. (Time flies quickly when you’re old. That is, older.) The husband and the mama had no objections. Cloth napkins are more economical than paper ones, as well as more than one tree would be saved. But any moves of finding and purchasing cloth napkins were going to come from me.

My research was sporadic and disheartening. There weren’t, and probably still aren’t, many places to buy cloth napkins, nor were there a variety of choices of napkins. And I am very particular about shelling out money, between $4 and $5 per napkin, for something I could easily make, if I had the time. As for the mama, who is even cheaper than me, I imagined her hiding a paper napkin amongst the expensive cloth one and pulling it out to wipe her mouth when I wasn’t looking.

A couple months ago, I finally did walk my talk. It was fun and a hoot putting my foot to the metal of my mom’s Singer treadle sewing machine, after some 15 years. I also forgot how much I enjoyed shopping for fabric. I bought a few fat quarters at the local quilt store, Homespun Harbor, and a bunch of material in quarter-yard increments online at Sew, Mama, Sew. Heaven!

The end result: Nine cloth napkins! I want to make at least 21 more.

Using a fat quarter is the simplest and quickest way for making a cloth napkin. All you need to do is hem it. Here’s what I did:
  1. Press a pre-washed fat quarter.
  2. Place the fabric on a surface with the wrong side facing you. With each side of the material, fold the raw edge about 1/8 inch. Press in place.
  3. Fold the edge of each side again, about 1/4inch. Press.
  4. Sew. Voila—your napkin!
More info: You can find tutorials for different styles of cloth napkins on the web. I think Holly Keller at Chez Beeper Bebe has the ultimate tutorials. She offers a free downloadable tutorial for 5 different kinds of napkins at this link.

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