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.


  1. Posted August 20, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    these are lovely! my mom made a ton of linen napkins when we were kids and i had totally forgotten about it till just now! i’m gonna have to see if she wants to send me some 😉

  2. Posted August 20, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    They were awesome! They totally looked professional to me. Also, the fact that you sewed these makes me not want to sit anywhere near you at our sewing party in September. You’re going to put me to SHAME.

  3. Posted August 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Ooh they look great, especially incorporated into that beautiful table setting! And I think I actually have the skills for this sewing project – can’t wait to try it!

  4. Posted August 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Amazing! Gotta love when a solid DIY pulls through for you

  5. Posted August 20, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Would you share your Linen supplier.

  6. Posted August 20, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    How gorgeous!

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    […] homemade steak sauce from Joy the Baker Bake this french toast from Pinch of Yum DIY these linen napkins from 1000 Threads Drink these strawberry gin sours fro A House in the […]

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