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Linen Cocktail Napkins




From just a yard of fabric, you can make thirty 4-inch cocktail napkins. Choose a lightweight fabric that isn't too sheer. Handkerchief linen, which can be easily hand-washed, works beautifully



  • Handkerchief linen
  • Interfacing
  • Rotary cutter
  • 6-by-24-inch acrylic grid ruler
  • Self-healing mat
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Needle and thread, for turning napkin right side out
  • Thread clipper


  1. Step 1

    For each napkin you wish to make, cut out two 5-inch squares of fabric and one 5-inch square of interfacing. To make the cutting easier, place the fabric on a self-healing mat, measure the fabrics with a wide see-through grid (such as Fiskars acrylic grid ruler), and cut along the edges with a rotary cutter.

  2. Step 2

    Lay one linen square atop the other; if there are right sides to the linen, make sure that they are facing. Lay the interfacing on top of the linen, align the edges of all 3 layers, and, with the interfacing still on top, pin the layers together.

  3. Step 3

    Stitch the layers together around the perimeter, 1/2 inch from the edge, leaving a 2-inch opening on one side. Trim the seams, and snip the corners. Turn the napkin right side out, and press. Be sure to also press the seam allowance of the 2-inch opening.

  4. Step 4

    Topstitch around the perimeter of the napkin, as close to the edge as possible. This is a decorative finish, but it also serves to close the opening without having to hand-stitch it first. Topstitch around the perimeter again, this time 1/4 inch from the edge of the napkin. To give your napkin a crisp, fresh look, spray it with sizing or spray starch before giving it one last pressing.

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