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Sewing Cloth Napkins - Basic Hem


There are two ways to fold and sew cloth napkins. The first is a very basic double fold hem on all four sides. The second method has a wider hem with mitered corners that looks more formal.

Cloth Napkin - Basic Folded Hem

Cut your fabric pieces to the desired finished size, plus 1 1/4 inches for the hems (2 x 5/8 inch).

One one side, fold the raw edge over toward the wrong side 1/4 inch and press (disregard the clipped corner in the photo).
sew cloth napkin


Fold the fabric over again, this time by 3/8 inch. At each end, fold the last 1/4 inch over slightly more (as pointed out by the arrow in the photo). This will make the next fold look nicer when it is finished.
sew cloth napkin


Rotate the fabric so that you are working on what was the left edge of the fabric. Fold over 1/4 inch as in the first step. The corner may look a little strange, but have faith. Fold the edge over again 3/8 inch.

Repeat for the remaining edges until all four edges are folded over and pressed.
fold napkin hem


Sew around the napkin close to the first fold. At the corners, you can stitch almost to the edge and then backstitch to the turning point and continue stitching the next edge. In the photo, you can see how the seam on the left extends to the right edge and then comes back to stitch the hem on the right edge. If you don't do this, the corner will be loose.

Also notice how the edge of the second fold is angled inward slightly (at the red arrow). The extra wide fold at the end of the hem in step two makes the final hem fold line up nicely as shown here.
how to sew cloth napkins



This is what the hem will look like on the right side of the napkin. You can see the extra stitches a little, but they aren't too obvious.

If you would like a more formal looking napkin, the mitered hem method has a few extra steps, but looks more elegant and finished.
sewn cloth napkin



Click to learn how to sew a mitered hem

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Learning How to Sew - Sewing Lessons
Sewing Lesson - Introduction to Hems
Pocket Tissue Cover with Contrast Trim
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Content copyright © 2014 by Tamara Bostwick. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Tamara Bostwick. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Tamara Bostwick for details.

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