Do it yourself formal napkins for those who do not want to pay the ridiculous prices that people charge for buying/renting linens. I am making about 50 of these for my upcoming wedding, and the total cost to make them not including labor, is roughly $5. Instead of buying fabric new, I went to my local clean and non-profit thrift store on a 50% off everything day, and picked up several white/off-white flat sheets. Sheets make perfect material for new projects and you can't beat the price! Make sure to wash them a few times though ;)
What you'll need:
Fabric - I spent about $4 on two flat sheets
Thread - You will want either matching or complimentary color thread $1
Sewing machine preferred for this project
*Tip - if you make your own, you can also have the monogrammed or personalized for the big day!
Step 1: Cut the Fabric Into Squares
This is a very easy step. The size of the square is up to you. There are different size charts depending on the occasion the napkins are for. For lunch, you typically want 18"x18" squares, for dinner the proper size is 22" or 24" squares.
Although, even as my even will be for a dinner, I went with 18" squares because it fit my fabric better. Here you have artistic license, it's your napkins they can be whatever size you want them to be :).
Step 2: Iron the Edges
First you will fold one edge in about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch, and iron down. Then fold that over again and iron again so that you have two folds. Unfold those leaving the fold marks.
Next, go to the second side and fold in once, iron, fold in a second time. Not unfold leaving the fold marks. At the corner of the two sides you will now have a criss-cross pattern with the folds. Fold in the corner until it reaches the most inside cross and iron this down. Continue this on all sides and all corners.
Once you get all of the corners and sides done, go back and fold the sides down with the corner angles, and iron again. Pin the corners down in place to hold the shape for sewing.
Step 4: Sewing the Edges
It is strongly recommended to use a sewing machine for this step. It is possible to be done by hand, but it looks better and saves a lot of time to use the sewing machine. Starting at one corner, sew along the most outside edge first removing all the pins as you go, and ending at the same corner. Then sew the most inside edge all the way around ending at the same corner. Continuing all the way around not only eliminates points of unraveled edges, but it looks great on the right side up corners.
Step 5: Clean It Up a Little
Once you are done sewing, you will want to cut the tails of the thread to make it nice and smooth. Then, on the underside of the napkin you will have these fabric squares. Cut the corner off of these to make it more pleasing to look at.
Step 6: Get by With a Little Help From My Friends
Now the napkin is complete! It's a really simple project that can make the world of difference at your event. For me, making these napkins cost about the same amount it would have to buy cheap throw away napkins, but we get the look and feel of formality with the real cloth napkins. I'm extremely pleased with this project and I hope it helps any others wanting to make a big difference at their event as well.
Once the napkins are complete they are ready for use. Here you see the trusty side kick Macchi showing them off for us. She's "helping".