Saturday, December 23, 2006

Make Your Own Cloth Napkins has a great "How-To" on making napkins from used cloth like old tablecloths or shirt backs. This is where I got the idea to make our napkins.

I didn't make our napkins that big, though. Pat Veretto, your guide to Frugal Living at, suggest making the napkins 16" square.

I suggest thinking about where you will keep your napkins and design them for that space. A 12" or 16" napkin takes up too much room on the small shelf in the kitchen cabinet where we keep our napkins.

At a minimum, napkins need to be as big as your hand. After some trial and error, I found that the best size - based on use, comfort, and the space we had to store the napkins - was twice the size of my hand.

So, I cut the material into 8" x 13" rectangles. I used old flannel shirts because my family perfers the softness and absorbency of flannel. Also, the plaid design and colors mask any stains that might not come out in the wash.

Once you decide how big you want the napkings to be, it's a quick and simple job to cut and hem them. Just cut out rectangles, fold 1/2" seam, then fold 1/2" again to hide the raw edges, and machine sew.

That's all there is to it. After you have them hemmed, just fold the napkins in half cross-wise, then again horizontally, and your napkins will take up a very small space in your cabinets.