Yes, you can. Even if you’re a beginner, as long as you can sew a straight line, you’ll be fine!
Choose a main fabric and a backing fabric. Quilting cottons work well for this project.
For cocktail napkins you need to cut:
Main fabric — 6 squares (8″ x8″)
Backing fabric — 6 squares (8″ x 8″)
*Note: I’m giving directions for a 7″ square finished napkin, but if you want an 8″ napkin, cut your squares 9″ and for a 10″ napkin you’ll need to cut 11″ squares.
For dinner napkins you need to cut:
Main fabric — 6 squares (18″ x 18″)
Backing fabric — 6 squares (18″ x 18″)
You should have a nice pile of squares like this:
Next you’ll need to match each main fabric square with a backing square with right sides facing together. Pin as needed. Using a 1/2″ seam allowance and starting in the middle of one side (not at the corner), sew around the outside of the squares and stop about 2″ from your starting point. Clip the extra fabric from your corners (cut off a little triangle from each corner close to the stitches but be careful not to snip the stitches!).
Using the open space you left in your stitches, turn the fabric right sides out, making sure to gently push out the corners so they are nice and square. I use a knitting needle for this. Your pile of squares should now look like little deflated pillows.
The next step is VERY IMPORTANT if you want to have a professional look when you are finished. You need to iron these! Whenever you’re tempted to skip this step, just remember that there is a BIG difference between handmade and homemade!
Now, take your freshly ironed little beauties and edge stitch with a coordinating or contrasting thread all the way around the outside. Start in the middle of a side and not at a corner and use a lock stitch (a few tiny stitches before switching to your usual stitch length) to start and stop your stitching. Keep your stitching about 1/8″ from the edges of the napkins.
Next, you need to top stitch (that’s the same as the edge stitch only further from the edge of the fabric) about 3/4″ in from edge for cocktail napkins or 1″ in from edge for dinner napkins. Remember to start and stop with a lock stitch and in the middle of a side. If you find this hard to do, before you start sewing the top stitching, you can use a water-soluble pen to mark the lines you will follow. Your stitches should look like this (I know it’s hard to see in my photo):
Now, you think you’re finished, right? Think again! Remember what I said about homemade and handmade?? Yep, you guessed it. You’re going to iron the napkins again. I also like to iron them after folding them to package up for giving. Now, you’re all finished a set of napkins for six! Celebrate! Do a happy dance! Make some more ’cause they’re so cute you want to keep them instead of giving them away as gifts!