There is something about crafting the items you use around the house that elevates them from just functional to both fabulous and functional. Malka Dubrawsky showed how to make fabric napkins and napkin rings from fat quarters in the 2010/11 issue of Quilting Arts Gifts. Though humble in their purpose, they can make a weekday dinner special or serve as a sweet and thoughtful gift.
Here are Malka’s detailed instructions for how to make napkins with patchwork flair, with brief instructions for the napkins rings below.
Patchwork Table Décor
By Malka Dubrawsky
For one napkin, 20½” square:
- 5 fat quarters of different prints in a similar color palette
- Napkin backing fabric, 20½” x 20½” square of a coordinating print
- Napkin binding 1 fat quarter of a coordinating print
- Sewing machine and notions
- Small circular template or dessert plate to mark curved corners
From the 5 fat quarters, cut the following pieces for the napkin:
- One 11-7⁄8″ x 15-1⁄8″ rectangle (piece A)
- One 11-7⁄8″ x 3-1⁄8″ rectangle (piece B)
- One 17¾” x 9-3⁄8″ rectangle (piece C)
- One 13″ x 3¼” Rectangle (piece D)
- One 8″ x 3¼” rectangle (piece E)
From the napkin binding fabric, cut 1½”-wide bias strips.
Making the patchwork
(Note: All seam allowances are ¼”. Unless otherwise noted, press the seams open.)
1. Pin pieces A and B, right sides together, along their common 11-7⁄8″ edge. Sew the pieces together and press the seam. With coordinating thread, topstitch 1⁄8″ from both sides of the seam.
2. Pin piece C to the sewn pieces, right sides together, along their common 17¾” edge. Sew the pieces together and press the seam. Topstitch 1⁄8″ from both sides of the seam.
3. Pin pieces D and E, right sides together, along their common 3¼” edge. Sew, press, and topstitch.
4. Pin sewn pieces D and E to the other sewn section (pieces A, B, and C), right sides together, along the common edge measuring 20½”. Sew, press, and topstitch.
Finishing the napkin
1. Layer the napkin backing, wrong side facing up, and the napkin top, right side facing up, on a table that is protected with a self-healing mat. Pin the layers together.
2. Using a small circle, such as a dessert plate, as your template, round the corners of the pinned layers with a rotary cutter.
3. Sew the binding strips together using diagonal seams. Use the resulting long strip to create a continuous binding around the napkin.
The homemade napkin rings are constructed by stitching 3″ strips of fabric in varying widths together along their common 3″ edge to make a 10″ strip. Sandwich rickrack along the edge, baste, and then stitch the patchwork to an equal size strip of backing fabric leaving a 2″ gap for turning. Turn, press, topstitch, and add a buttonhole and button. (More detailed instructions in the magazine.)
Each special issue of Quilting Arts Gifts includes instructions for making quilted table linens to give as gifts or to grace your table on special occasions. We also have table runner patterns in the Quilting Daily store, like the Reflected Wedges Table Runner by Jacquie Gering and the Craft Tree Table Toppers booklet full of quilted table linens.
P.S. Do you bring out handmade or heirloom table linens for special occasions or every day? Are there tableware traditions in your family or do you like something fresh and new each year? Leave your comment below.