How to Make Cloth Napkins: Sewing Guide

Last Updated on December 30, 2023

Hey y’all, I am here with a delightful sewing project just in time for Thanksgiving – cloth napkins! Switching to cloth napkins adds a touch of elegance to your table and contributes to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

How to Make Cloth Napkins


  • Cloth napkins add a touch of class to your table while contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle.
  • Opt for quilting cotton for the right blend of softness and absorbency in your napkins.
  • Elevate your napkin game with mitered corners for a polished and professional finish.
  • Create a stack of these napkins, tie them with a ribbon, and share the eco-friendly love with friends and family.
  • For everyday use or formal occasions, homemade cloth napkins are a simple yet impactful sewing project.

How to Make Cloth Napkins

How to Make Cloth Napkins

To make cloth napkins, cut quilting cotton fabric into desired square sizes (12×12 inches for daily use, 18×18 inches for formal occasions), hem the edges with a double fold, and create elegant mitered corners by folding and pressing at a 45-degree angle.

Use a sewing machine to stitch along the edges, trim threads.

Here in this guide, I’ll walk you through the process of sewing your own cloth napkins with a special focus on creating beautiful mitered corners step by step.

Materials Needed:

  • Quilting cotton fabric (12 by 12 inches for regular use, 18 by 18 inches for formal dinner napkins)
  • Iron
  • Pressing guide or ruler
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Glass head pins (for pinning)

Step 1: Preparing the Fabric

Preparing the Fabric
Preparing the Fabric

Begin by choosing a quilting cotton fabric for its balance of softness and absorbency. Cut the fabric into squares, following the preferred size (12 by 12 inches for everyday use or 18 by 18 inches for formal occasions).

Step 2: Hemming the Edges

Hemming the Edges
Hemming the Edges

Fold the edges twice, creating a double-fold hem. Use an iron to press the folds, ensuring they are equal width. If needed, use a pressing guide or ruler to maintain accuracy.

Step 3: Creating Mitered Corners

Creating Mitered Corners
Creating Mitered Corners
  1. Unfold one corner and mark the fold lines created by the hem on the fabric.
  2. Fold the corner in half diagonally, creating a 45-degree angle.
  3. Press the fold, then fold it again, maintaining the 45-degree angle.
  4. Press the two side seams back along the original fold lines, creating a mitered corner.
  5. Repeat the process for all corners.

Step 4: Machine Stitching

Machine Stitching
Machine Stitching

Start sewing in the middle of an edge, ensuring the presser foot is centered on the fold. Adjust the needle position to sew right along the edge of the fold. Continue stitching around the entire napkin.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Trim off any excess threads and admire your beautifully mitered corners. If you plan to gift these napkins, consider tying them together with a pretty ribbon for an eco-friendly and thoughtful present.


What type of fabric is best for making cloth napkins?

Quilting cotton is an excellent choice for cloth napkins. It strikes a balance between softness and absorbency, making it ideal for everyday use.

Can I use a different fabric for my napkins?

Yes, you can choose different fabrics based on your preferences. The absorbency and feel may vary. Quilting cotton is recommended for its versatility.

What size should I cut my fabric for cloth napkins?

For everyday use, a 12 by 12-inch square is suitable. If you prefer larger napkins for formal occasions, go for an 18 by 18-inch square. You can also choose any size.

Why are mitered corners recommended for cloth napkins?

Mitered corners provide a clean and polished look to your cloth napkins. This technique adds a touch of elegance and ensures a neat finish, making your napkins stand out.

Can I use a different hemming technique for my cloth napkins?

While we used a double-fold hem in this guide, you can explore other hemming techniques based on your sewing skills and preferences. Just ensure the edges are securely stitched to prevent fraying.

How do I prevent plastic-headed pins from melting during ironing?

It’s advisable to use glass head pins when working with heat. Plastic-headed pins may melt under the iron. Glass head pins are safer for securing fabric during pressing.

Are these cloth napkins suitable as gifts?

Yes, cloth napkins make thoughtful and eco-friendly gifts. Consider making a stack, tying them together with a pretty ribbon, and presenting them to friends or family. It’s a unique and sustainable gift idea.


You’ve just crafted your own set of cloth napkins with elegant mitered corners. This sewing project not only enhances your table decor but also promotes a sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle. These cloth napkins will make a lasting impression for personal use or as a thoughtful gift.

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