Cute DIY Reusable Cloth Napkins

square napkins with red birds with flower branches on the front and a red back

Make Your Own Cute Reusable Cloth Napkins

There are some great reasons for using reusable cloth napkins and if you like to sew then I think you'll like this one, and if you're a beginner then this easy sewing project is a perfect place to start!

Unlike disposable paper napkins, cloth napkins are washable, reusable, and available in more designs which means you can match them to your personal decor, event, or holiday!

They look & feel nicer, and they can spruce up your dining table with a little added visual interest. Paper napkins don't offer any of that. They are simply wasteful and kind of boring, actually.

Being washable and reusable means you'll save money in the long run (but not that long) while helping out the environment. They might cost a little more initially but they're still affordable, and even more so if you make them yourself.

Think of them as investments because they really are, so let's say goodbye to paper napkins since I'm going to walk you through how to make your own 8 x 8 inch cloth napkins quickly and easily.


Here's what you'll need to make reusable cloth napkins:

  • Cotton or linen fabric of your choice for the front of napkin 1 yard x 1 yard (36" x 36")
  • Cotton or linen fabric of your choice for the back of napkin (same size as the front)
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Something long and thin like a pen or paint brush
  • Pen or pencil
  • Sewing clips or pins
  • Iron & ironing board

The amount of fabric you'll need really depends on how many napkins you want to make, and what size. Keep in mind that one yard of fabric is 36" long but widths can vary from fabric to fabric. My instructions are for 8 x 8 inch napkins made from 1 yard of cotton fabric that is 36 inches wide.

Prep Your Fabric

Before you begin, I recommend washing your fabric since cotton tends to shrink and warp a bit in the dryer. If you take care of that now rather than later you won't be disappointed when your reusable cloth napkins lose their nice shape.

Wash, dry, and iron. Next, trim the selvage so you prevent accidentally making it a part of your napkin. Selvage is the edge of your fabric that is tightly woven to prevent fabric from fraying.


Cut & Clip Pieces Together

Cut both yards of fabric into eight 9 x 9 inch pieces. Put the fabric for the front in one pile and fabric for the back in a second pile . You can cut them into 8.5 x 8.5 inch pieces if you're comfortable working with smaller amounts of fabric along the edge.

Collect the pile of squares for the front and lay each one on a flat surface with the design facing up. Then, lay a piece of fabric for the back on top of them. If there’s a design, it should face down onto the other design and make sure the direction of the designs match if that matters to you.

Pin or clip the two pieces together.

Sew & Trim

It's now time to sew the pieces together.

Use a straight stitch to sew 3 sides together about 1/4 inch in, then sew the 4th side in the same manner but leave a gap about 4 inches long away from the corners. If the gap is next to the side it gets a bit awkward to deal with a little later on.

Trim each corner to remove a bit of bulk so when all is said and done the corners of your napkin will look nice and pointed.



Turn your napkins inside-out and use your pencil or paint brush with a thin handle to poke the corners into shape, then iron your napkins flat.

Fold the edge of your opening in, iron flat, and clip.

Then sew the gap closed using a simple straight stitch then continue all the way around your napkin about 1/4" or so from the edge.

Now you have some cute washable and reusable cloth napkins that you can keep for yourself, gift to a friend or neighbor, or sell on Etsy!

square napkins with red birds with flower branches on the front and a red back

While these cuties are 8 x 8 inches, a perfect size if you're not a messy eater, you can use the same instructions to create smaller or larger cloth napkins.

If you'd rather use your cloth napkins for other things you can fold them into quarters and set your glass on it, use them for simple clean ups, set a small dish on top of it, or cover a small dish of pastries or bread. You could also fold them into a triangle and hold your sandwich or burrito in them. You can really get creative!

I hope you've enjoyed this little tutorial & if you want to make a matching tea towel to go with your new cloth napkins hop on over to my diy tea towel post! Happy sewing!

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