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DIY linen napkins

diy linen napkins // a thousand threads
Linen napkins – especially washed linen like these – are my very favorite. They’re just one little element, but they can have such a big impact on a table. So when we decided to plan three Field + Foundry dinners this fall, I knew we had to have them.

There’s just one problem – everybody else likes them too, which means they can be crazy expensive.

Luckily, thanks to my 4-H days, I knew I could at least turn on and operate a sewing machine — even if I wasn’t so sure I could sew in a straight line (I’m still not) — so I dusted the old guy off and went to work.

With just a few yards of linen (around $100) I was able to whip up 30 custom napkins. And straight lines or no, if we hadn’t told folks they were handmade they might never have known.

Follow along below for instructions on how to make your own…

diy linen napkins // a thousand threads
1 // Use a right angle to measure your squares. This is probably the trickiest part, since linen can be a little shifty.

I used the edge as a guide, lining the linen up against my right angle so that it was straight. Then I marked off my chosen size (23 inches for a fairly large napkin) and moved the right angle to line up with the second edge. After marking 23 inches on the second edge, I connected my marks with the right angle, all the while working to make sure I didn’t shift the linen.

Once the first was marked off I used those marks as a guide, just like I had the edges.

diy linen napkins // a thousand threads
2 // Cut out your squares.

diy linen napkins // a thousand threads
3 // Fold and pin your edges. I folded my edges over, about 1/4 inch, once, and then twice for a nice hem.

diy linen napkins // a thousand threads
4 // Iron for easy sewing. This keeps everything straight and allows you to take out the pins as you go.

diy linen napkins // a thousand threads
5 // Sew your hem. I used my store-bought linen napkins as a guide and sewed each side separately, taking the stitch all the way to each end so that they crossed in the corners. This keeps your edges from puffing out or fraying once they’ve been washed.

diy linen napkins // a thousand threads
6 // And there you go! Wash your new napkins and put them to good use.

Final photo by Reema Desai.

6 Comments


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