Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tutorial Tuesday: Tea Napkins

I saw a tutorial to make these adorable napkins on Design Sponge, and I decided to try my (very inexperienced) hand at making them. I had so much fun whipping these up, I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and write my first tutorial on it!

(Please note that I am not claiming the designs as my own.)
What you'll need:
  • 1 yard of fabric (linen or 100% cotton works best)
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Ruler/Measuring tape
  • Scissors/Rotary cutter
  • Some pretty embroidery floss (however many varieties you want)
  • An embroidery needle (these usually have a larger eye with a dull point)
Cut the fabric into 10x10" squares, using scissors (if you're confident in cutting straight) or a rotary cutter (if you're a little squeamish about making mistakes). Actually, you can cut it in whatever size you want, depending on if you desire larger or smaller napkins. Just know that whatever size you want, you'll need to start with a square that is about double the size. I knew I wanted smaller cocktail-type napkins, so that's what my measurements will give you.

 Using a ruler or measuring tape, make small marks at 3/4 of an inch on all four edges of the napkin. This really helped me to know I was ironing the seams at the right length.

When you've made your marks, flip the napkin over. Fold the edges down until you see the marks, and iron straight.Turn the edges down and iron one more time, so that all your raw edges are hidden.

 Unfold the corners. The creases you've ironed in will make four squares, which I've outlined below (sorry, I know this picture isn't the best quality). Snip off each corner at the dotted line.

It will now look something like this:

You still with me? Ok, back to the ironing board! Folding the first layer of creases down, take the snipped corner and fold down, as pictured below.

Keeping the corner in place, fold the edges along the second seam, and iron to keep the mitered corners in place. Repeat this process for all four corners.

You are now ready to sew! I only gave my seam 1/2" seam allowance, because I'm still a little leery of not sewing straight. If you're more confident in your sewing skills than I am, a 5/8" allowance would be splendid. Go ahead and zip around all four sides with a straight stitch. When you come to the edge of a side, you can easily pivot by manually turning the needle down into the fabric (in order to keep the fabric in place), lift the presser foot, turning the napkin to the new side, putting the presser foot down, and continuing to sew on the new side. It's much easier than tying off and starting anew with each side!


Now you can add some fun embroidery to the sides. Use two strands of embroidery floss. You want to keep your knots minimal, so don't tie anything yet. Leave a nice, long tail on your startin stitch to tie a knot with later.

For this napkin, I'm embroidering x's in one corner. Start by making one side of each x, as many as you want.

This is what it looks like from the back, if you're curious.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of completing the embroidery process, so my words will have to do. Once you've completed half of all your x's, simply make the other half by coming back the way you came. When you've reached your original beginning stitch, you can use the two tails of thread to tie a neat, little knot. Trim the thread as close to the knot as you dare.

You can either repeat this embroidery stitch on all your napkins, or you can mix it up with a few different stitches--flowers, words, stars, etc. Using a few different colors is another way to make your napkins unique and pretty. Once you understand the basics of it, the possibilities are endless (and the results are beautiful)!

You now have a set of nicely mitered, embroidered napkins, perfect to use for desserts, tea, hot chocolate, a nice lunch, or a special breakfast!

Thanks for reading this little tutorial of mine! If you decide to make these napkins, I hope you have as much fun as I did!


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