I’ve read several blogs lately about making your own cloth napkins. They all have similar techniques for doing so (cut the fabric, fold over the edges, and sew) and reasons for using cloth instead of disposable (more environmentally friendly, save money). While I agree 100% with the reasons behind using cloth over paper, I prefer a much simpler procedure for the making of the napkin. Here’s my version.
Cut out your fabric. I’ve found that flannel is the best for this particular project. It holds water better (for wiping down tables and babies) and is softer on the skin than the regular cotton quilting fabric. I made mine 12×12, but you can make them any size you like. Some people like them bigger, like 20×20. In the 12×12 size, I was able to get 18 napkins out of 2 yards of fabric.
Once you have all the squares cut out, do yourself a favor and round the corners. That’ll make the sewing of the edges much easier.
Finally, set your sewing machine to a zigzag stitch. You want it as wide as it’ll go (5 millimeters on my machine) and a very short length – my machine has settings from 0 to 4, and I go about halfway between 0 and 1 for this project. Using a complimentary or contrasting thread (depending on the look you’re going for), zigzag stitch all the way around your napkins. This will keep the fabric from fraying, which flannel is especially prone to do.
That’s it! Beautiful, reusable cloth napkins with bothering with the fussiness of folding and pressing edges or stressing about super straight lines.
P.S. The procedure for cloth baby wipes is exactly the same, just with 8×8 squares of flannel.