How To Make Napkins and Placemats

If you have some spare time, extra money and a desire to beautify your table setting, make your own napkins and placemats that will satisfy your table motif. Making them is really simple. All you need is to buy fabric have your sewing machine ready, and you are good to start. It does not take a whole day to make them. You only need a couple of hours to complete this project.

For making placemats, follow these steps:

Use a good kind of fabric for placemats. This fabric can be used for your napkins and table runners too. A good fabric to use for this purpose is Birdseye weave fabric. It is easier to clean and will not shrink or deform after you wash it. Colors can vary depending on your preference. You can use solid colored fabric or you can use fabric with patterns. Your choice of color and design will depend on the motif you want to achieve in your table setting.

Before cutting the fabric into placemat standard sizes, press it to smoothen out folded areas. Folded areas may give you uneven measurements.

Once you are done pressing the fabric, mark the fabric on its underside. A standard placemat measures 14” by 18”. Allow half an inch on the perimeter of the fabric for hem work. Fold the edges and hold them with a pin before you proceed on sewing it.

Press the folded edges to add extra hold. Once the edges are pressed and pinned, start stitching the hem on all four sides. You can use your sewing machine to stitch the edges together. If you do not have a machine, you can hand-sew them but they would not be as sturdy as a machine’s hem work.

After sewing the edges, finally press the fabric squares before using the placemats.

For making table napkins, here is what you have to do:

You can use the same fabric you used for your placemats though you can use a different color or pattern. Napkins are more sensitive to use because unlike the placemats, they are actually used to wipe food off the areas around your mouth. You can still use the same Birdseye weave fabric but it would be better to use a softer cotton fabric for this purpose.

Before cutting the fabric to napkin sizes, press the cloth for proper marking. After pressing the cloth, lay it out on a flat clean surface on its underside. A traditional shape of a napkin is, of course, a square. One napkin measures 16” by 16”. Mark the fabric into 16 inches squares with a light marker. Allow an inch on all sides for the hem work.

Cut the squares carefully with a good sharp scissor. Be sure to cut them straight for clean edges. Fold the edges up to the one inch allowance. Hold the folds with a pin and press the edges flat for an easier and clean stitching.

Stitch the edges with a backstitch using your sewing machine. After all the sides are sewn together, press the edges again to a crisp fold.

You can vary your placemats and napkins using different patterns on their design. If you are using a patterned fabric, remember not to randomly cut the fabric but cut it paying attention to the pattern of the design. You would not want the placemat or napkin looking oddly patterned. These little details will help you successfully create beautiful placemats and napkins that your friends and family will appreciate.


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