How to Make Easy Cloth Napkins

how to make easy cloth napkins

One of the simplest and quickest ways to make your home more zero-waste is to make your own cloth napkins!  They are so fun to make and so let’s learn “How to Make Easy Cloth Napkins”!

Eliminating Paper Products is a Must for a Sustainable Home!

Making and using cloth napkins not only saves money and reduces trash, but it gets you out of the habit of buying “single use” items.  I hate the feeling I get when I use something for a few seconds and then pitch it…feels really wrong to me.  Paper napkins also take natural resources to produce and contain toxins as well.

As far as the money-saving part, using cloth napkins saves me about $15 per month at the store, and it’s one less thing in my cart!!

Making cloth napkins  (we make hankies too!) is super simple, and brings a bit of class to any home! 

When a guest is handed a plate with food in our home, they are also handed a cloth napkin.  They always look at it, a bit taken back.  But the experience of wiping their mouths with something that’s cloth, as well as hand-made, is something that will stick with them.

The best part is that they don’t have to be perfect!  They don’t have to be a certain size or perfectly square. 

They don’t have to be made from new fabric either, you can use an old flannel shirt or pj’s or any soft fabric!  Reusing fabric is highly sustainable!! 

They’re going to look beautiful folded and displayed on your dining room table or in your kitchen!

How to Make Easy Cloth Napkins

For this project, I am digging into my stash and using remnants from other projects.  I’ve got years of fabric remnants that I use for quilting and small projects like this.  Today, I’m choosing some holiday fabric, buffalo checks, winter bird fabric and several flannel fabrics to make “hankies”, since cold and sniffles season is upon us.

finished cloth napkins in a basket

I gave up Kleenex long ago, insisting that anyone who needed to blow their nose could use toilet paper.  Yet, I was just switching one paper product for another.  What was I thinking?

But there’s nothing more cozy and comforting than blowing your nose on soft flannel!  Just like the cloth napkins, hankies simply go in the wash with your other laundry.  Simply fold when they come out of dryer or off line and put in small basket or container. 

I don’t iron, just fold.  Keep it simple.

For this project, you will need:

Sewing machine

Scrap fabric


Scissors/rotary cutter

Pinking shears (nice but not necessary)

Quilt cutting mat

Straight edge


cutting nap with scissors and fabric

Again, your napkins/hankies do not have to be even or the same size.  Squares and rectangles are good and easiest.  Just do your best and don’t get hung up on perfection.

Perfection is the Enemy of Completion

For those of you who need measurements, a standard dinner napkin measures 16-18″ square. 

Personally, I do not like that much fabric. 

I make mine from 10″ square, that’s plenty to wipe your mouth a few times.

cutting mat with rotary cutter and purple fabric

Place your fabric on the cutting mat and cut 10×10″ squares (or whatever size you choose) for your cloth napkins.

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ironing cloth napkin

How to Make Cloth Napkins with Mitered Corners

Then, take your cloth napkins over to the ironing board. Press 1/4″ fold all the way around the napkins.

ironing cloth napkin

Fold again, still 1/4″ and press again.

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mitering corners

Now open your folds.  In each corner, you’ll see the creases you created.

This is how to miter your cloth napkin’s corners!

To prevent bulkiness and to give your cloth napkins a mitered look, simple trim off the corners at the outer crease.


mitered corner cloth napkin

Use a ruler if that’s helpful for you to get a straight line!

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sewing cloth napkin


Starting at the corner, begin stitching your edges carefully.  You’ll be surprised at how easy and beautiful your finished edges!

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sewing cloth napkin

When you get to the corners, leave your needle down as your lift the foot.  Turn your fabric, put the foot down and continue sewing.  

Sew all the way around, clip the strings and you have a beautiful cloth napkin!!

Perfect for gift-giving or to just spruce up your dining room table!

black and red and white cloth napkins












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