The Southern Glamper: How to Make Your Own Fabric Napkins with a Camping Theme

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How to Make Your Own Fabric Napkins with a Camping Theme

Tuesday, December 19, 2017




When my husband and I married almost 20 years ago, one of our first wedding gifts was a set of white monogrammed napkins.  I still love and use these napkins regularly.  I love fabric napkins.  Making your own is a humble project that works well for a novice.  You can customize the fabric, trim and everything to make your napkins reflect your own personality or decor.



Before starting this project, it takes more time to prep everything for sewing than the actual sewing.  This project is a lesson in patience.  Take your time and pace yourself.  Go slow, and you will have a professional end result.



I used three fabrics from Timeless Treasures.  These are all available on Fabric.com.

One of the things that make the Great Outdoors Green Camper print special for me is that it features a pop-up camper!  As a pop-up owner, so many camper prints only have vintage campers or tents but never a pop-up.  So if you are pop up owner like me, here is a fabric that has your camper on it!


I took out two of my favorite cloth napkins and measured them to determine a size for this project.  One napkin was 21 inches square and another is 17 inches square.  I wanted a nice size but didn't think we needed such large napkins for camping.  I went with 13 inches square for cutting.  This will make 12-inch square napkins when finished.  This size is just right for our camper.  You can always make this larger.  

For this project that yields 9  12-inch napkins, you will need:
  1. 3 yards of coordinating fabric cut into 13-inch squares.  Or, you could use 1 fabric choice and have 3 yards of a single kind.
  2. Coordinating rick rack - 13 yards (you will need more if you make a larger napkin)
  3. Coordinating thread - I chose a nice bright blue.
It is important to get your edges straight.  You can buy an actual tool for this.  I use the spine of a book.  I'm an improviser at heart, so I like to use what I have on hand.


After you cut your squares, place the right sides together and trim each pair so that they match.  I used a rotary cutter and self-healing mat for this.  


An iron is your best friend for a project like this.  Take your time and press a one half inch seam all the way around.  I left my right sides together for doing this.  By placing your right sides together, you are ensuring that your pieces will match up that you are going to sew together.  This will take some time, but it is worth it.



At each corner, you will fold one corner down to form a diagonal.  This is like making a mock mitered corner.  your corners will lay down much neater by doing this step.  You are doing to do this on each corner of each square. Press down with your iron as you do this.  






Once you are done pressing down your seams and corners, take each square pair and place the wrong sides together.  Your seams you have pressed down will now be on the inside.  Make sure that your prints are facing the right direction!  Trust me.  I have made this mistake.


I had 18 squares total for this.  So, some of the napkins have a checkered and print set.  Others are both prints.  I also used 2 different colors of rick rack.  This was just my preference.  I like lots of happy colors.  There is no right or wrong way to do it.  Be creative and have fun mixing prints and colors.





Now, you can pin your rick rack between the two napkin squares.  Leave about a 1 or 2-inch tail on each end at the beginning and end for tucking in.  

Select a matching or coordinating thread for sewing around your napkins.  Set your stitch on your machine to be at about 2 or 2 1/2 so that you are not puckering your fabric as your work around.  Sew slow and straight.  One downside to coordinating thread that will really show up is that your mistakes will really stand out.  Consider this in your choices.  If you are an experienced seamstress or feel confident enough to make nice straight seams, pick any color you like.




Tuck in the tails of the rick rack before starting.  Be sure to pivot your corners since you want these to be square.  And that is it!  You will have a nice set of fabric napkins.  You could use this at home, for picnics or certainly at your campsite!



I would love to see your finished projects if you are getting out your machine.  Be sure to share on social media and tag me with #southernglamper.  In the meantime...



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