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Personalize Thanksgiving with DIY Napkins

When entertaining during the holidays I love creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for friends -- especially when it comes to time to gather around the dining table. If you're like me and you are often searching for just the right napkins or table runner to complete your look, follow these super simple steps and sew your own!
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Photo by Kamau Ware

This tablescape was designed using hand-sewn table linens and compostable dinnerware and cutlery from Susty Party. I love all things eco-friendly, which means I'm always on the hunt for ways to reduce my carbon footprint. I've found that including a sustainable angle gives all of my projects an extra special flare. I've also infused repurposed mason jars sprinkled in with a little fall forging.

 

The easy-to-sew table linens make this project affordable yet fabulous! The directions below are to create 4 dinner napkins but you can also make a runner, tablecloth, and even coasters using these exact instruction with different lengths of fabric. It's just that easy!

Materials

  • Sewing Basket (your usual tools and supplies)
  • 2 1/4 yards of cotton or linen fabric
  • Yardstick
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Sewing Machine or needle and thread
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Photo: Kamau Ware

Step 1:

Cut your fabric -- for 18 inch square napkins, cut out 20" wide x 20" long. I like to measure and mark the dimensions on newspaper to create a pattern and use that pattern to cut out each piece, but you can also measure directly onto the fabric.

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Photo: Kamau Ware

Step 2:

With the wrong side of the fabric facing up, fold each edge over 1/4" towards the center, press. Fold over again at 1/4" and press, giving each side a double hem. Pin your pressed hems into place.

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Photo: Kamau Ware

Step 3:

Make the napkins by stitching, or hand sewing, a 3/16 seam around all 4 sides. Remember to pivot, with the needle in the fabric, at each corner for a sharp edge.

 

Ta-da your napkin is done! Now it's time to set the table...

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Photo by Kamau Ware

To add a little pop to our Susty Party square dinner plates I've added sparkly thread with a nontoxic glue along the outer edge. Martha Stewart's Multi-Color Craft Glitter would work here, it's nontoxic too.

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Photo by Kamau Ware

I added some cute paper straws to jazz up the mason jars. It really makes them feel like they are a part of the tablescape.

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Photo by Kamau Ware

My hand-sewn napkins look so fabulous on the table! After I had finished sewing the napkins, I had a long strip of fabric left over that I turned into a table runner -- making this a zero waste DIY! With a table like this you are sure to not be a bore -- you'll have a colorful conversation piece!

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Photo: Kamau Ware

The best part about this table is that you can compost all of your dinnerware or wash it all at the end of your party. Sustainable entertaining is where it's at. That's truly something to be thankful for! What are you thankful for this year?

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About the Author

Lesley Ware

Lesley Ware is a "Jill of many trades." She's an author, teacher, designer, art gallery co-owner, and former nonprofit program manager with an MPA. She is currently touring her first book, Sew Fab, and just finished writing her second -- Style File (published by London-Based Laurence King). When she's not writing, teaching, traveling or making things you'll likely find her with her...

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