Simple DIY Cloth Dinner Napkins

OCT 6, 2015 updated Jun 8, 2021

Ready to set the table with stylish and sustainable dinner napkins? Here at Spoonflower HQ, we make every effort to be an eco-friendly company with sustainability as a top priority. In order to live that “reduce, reuse, recycle” life, we try to cut down on waste and limit what goes into our landfills. We compost and recycle everything possible–perhaps the most beautiful sustainability effort–we use cloth napkins! Want to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle? Spoonflower crew member Crystal shares two easy ways to create your own finished cloth napkins–mitered corners and pillow case style–for a quick and easy DIY way to start reducing your carbon footprint.

Pillow Case Style:

Crystal: This is a very easy way to sew a double sided napkin that will not fray in the wash and can be used over and over. It is an excellent beginning sewing project and as the name implies, it is very similar to sewing a throw pillow sans stuffing. This method is very fast; I had a napkin finished in around five minutes. The best part is that you can make them with just one fat quarter of your favorite Spoonflower fabric.

Step 1: Measure and cut your fabric (how fun is this Pepperoni Pizza design?). Since absorbency is key here, we recommend using Linen Cotton Canvas or any 100% cotton fabric (Kona cotton works great). I wanted to make double sided napkins that were around 14×14, so I measured a rectangle that was 14.5 inches in width and 28.5 inches in length (to allow for seams).

Step 2: Fold the rectangle facing in and sew a hem around the three open sides, leaving a small hole.

*Make sure to tie off any loose strings!

Step 3: Flip the piece right side out. To accomplish this, just pull the material through the hole you left unsewn.

Step 4: Push out all of the corners to shape it up and then just hand stitch the hole closed and tie it off. And VOILA, you have a reusable napkin!

Step 5: Iron your new napkin, and enjoy with your favorite food!

Mitered Corners:

Mitered corner napkins are what you commonly think of when you imagine a cloth napkin. The word “miter” is actually a carpentry term, and refers to the joining of two pieces of wood to create a 90 degree angle. In sewing terms, the result is a cloth napkin with sharp, slim corners. This method is the most sustainable in terms of fabric usage, but requires a few more minutes to make. It took about 10 minutes for one napkin using this style, instead of the 5 minutes needed to sew the pillow case style napkins.

Step 1: Measure and cut your chosen fabric. I wanted to make napkins that were around 14″x14″ so I measured a square that was 14.5 inches in width and length to allow for seams.

fabric design is Black X by elvelyckan

*Note: Pets are neither helpful nor recommended while sewing.

Step 2: Create a hem by folding in twice on each side of the square and ironing it flat.

Step 3: Unfold the corner slightly and cut the tip of the triangle off.

This creates the mitered corner, so when you refold it, it should come together at a 90 degree angle like this.

This keeps the napkin from being bulky and rounded at the corners.

Step 4: Sew a seam along the hem to keep everything together.

*Make sure to tie off any loose strings

You now have a finished cloth napkin!

Excited to create your own napkins? Get started today with our curated DIY napkin projects and use your new sewing skills to impress your guests, your family, and yourself!


Need more DIY projects? Check out our Back to School DIYs roundup for 41 awesome projects to get your creativity flowing!

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  • You're welcome, Janet! I'm happy to hear this has inspired you!! Please share photos of your napkins with us by using #spoonflower on your social media outlet of choice!

  • Thank you. I have been using only cloth napkins (and hankies) for years, but this has inspired me to choose some lovely Spoonflower fabrics and make something unique. I will say that it IS amazing how often our pets photo bomb our photos!