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Crafts & DIY Projects · How To Sew A Tiny Hem & Make Your Own Cloth Napkins
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How To Sew A Tiny Hem & Make Your Own Cloth Napkins

At the beginning of the summer I bought a patio set for our backyard, and ever since then I have been looking for a tablecloth and some cloth napkins for it. I actually ended up finding a tablecloth that I really liked (white with yellow and gray stripes), but try as I might, I couldn’t find any cloth napkins to go with it.

I decided it might be time to break out the sewing machine that I got for Christmas, that hasn’t seen much action lately, and make my own cloth napkins! I’ve actually always wanted to try making some cloth napkins because I actually prefer them to paper and I can never seem to find what I’m looking for.

After a fairly short search, I found a floral fabric that coordinated perfectly with the striped tablecloth I bought……..

………so I decided to get started. But first I had to figure out how to do a tiny hem for the edges (otherwise known as a “rolled hem” in seamstress lingo.) I’ve had plenty of experienced doing your standard 5/8 inch seams, but nothing TINY! I found a tutorial online that showed a super simple method to create a rolled hem and decided to get started FOR REAL this time!

If you are not an experienced seamstress, NO WORRIES….if *I* can do it, YOU can too!

Here is a step by step method I used to create a tiny hem without the use of a special sewing foot.

Before the sewing could begin, I cut out eight 12-inch squares of fabric and pressed them flat. Then I got comfy at the sewing machine (but don’t get TOO comfy because you’re going to be blazing a trail between your machine and your ironing board!)

STEP 1: On one edge of your napkin, stitch a straight line 1/4″ shy of the seam allowance. For example, if you have a 1/2″ seam allowance you are going to stitch at 1/4″, if you have a 5/8″ seam allowance you are going to stitch at 3/8″. (Did I do that math right?)

STEP 2: Fold the stitch line to the wrong side of the fabric and press with an iron.

STEP 3: Head on back to your sewing machine (remember, you’re blazing a trail!) and stitch directly on top of the first stitch line. This will need to be done with the inside (wrong side) facing up as the back of the stitch is inside the fold of the hem.

STEP 4: Back to the ironing board (literally!) and iron the entire hem again.

STEP 5: Trim the excess seam allowance off as close to the stitching as you can.

STEP 6: Fold the hem again, rolling the stitching from step 5 to the inside (wrong side). This will leave a clean, unstitched seam on the right side of the fabric.

STEP 7: Stitch directly on top of the stitches on the inside (wrong side) of the napkin. This stitching will be seen on the right side and should appear as one stitch on the inside. Mine were a little less than perfect in that regard, but I think they still looked great!

STEP 8: Press the hem one more time and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

Now repeat on all four sides of the napkin, times as many napkins as you decide to make! Don’t worry, it sounds like MUCH more work than it is! Once you get the hang of how to make the rolled hem, making cloth napkins is like child’s play. Then you can more on to more sophisticated projects!

It really is easy to master, and results in an elegant and professional-looking finish! 

What would YOU like to learn how to sew?


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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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