April and May was an exceptional busy time at the sunshiine household this year, because we had two waves of family members visit, whom I had never met before; from both sides of the family. I did not realize how much I missed out on, by not knowing my family. I never had the opportunity to get to know my dad or my grandparents from my dad's side of the family or my mom's side because they passed away when I was a baby. Connecting with my relatives was a rewarding experience for me.
This Mother's Day was grand and for good reasons. This year I could make my daughter-in-law a Mother's Day gift! We have been gifted with our first grand daughter! I made my daughter-in law a set of pure linen napkins but held off mailing them because of my recent experience meeting the family members I never knew.
My cousin had emailed me pictures and documents dating back to the 1800's. I was so excited to receive them! My visitors had mentioned that they had missed not having a connection with our family members here, so I made each one of them a journal from our grandmother's book and added pictures and information from our family here, and the journals were well received! This experience prompted me to hold off mailing the Mother's day napkins for my daughter in law, so I could create a gift that would be cherished for a hundred years for my children and grandchildren.
This instructable will share how to make pure linen napkins into a gift that could be cherished for a hundred years.
Step 1: How to Care for Linen
Although linen is a very durable and a stain resistant textile, it is important to know how to launder and store it properly. Napkins do best, when hand washed in mild soap in cool water, rinsed thoroughly, and you can't go wrong with laying flat to dry, un-ironed and stored flat, so that creased edges do not fade over time leaving crease marks.
Bleach and fabric softeners should not be used because they may cause discoloration or yellowing. To prevent some of these issues archival tissue paper and boxes are used. Here is a helpful link about preserving textiles: How to preserve textiles
I will be using archival printing paper to print the book pages.
I have not found the tissue paper locally yet, but Walmart online has it. When I order them online, I will ship the napkins, tissue paper, boxes, candles, napkin care booklet, instructions for folding the napkins; so my loved ones have everything they need to store the napkins and preserve them for years!
Step 2: Tools and Supplies for Making Linen Napkins
These napkin flowers can be made using paper napkins, if you do not wish to make the napkins. You could package the folded napkins along with the instructions and mail them using the archival box and paper for long time storage.
Pure linen fabric washed and pressed. I used 100% bleached linen or choose fabric suitable for dinner napkins.
Heavy stabilizer to make the pattern. Linen is difficult to cut square without it.
Silk threadI used burnished gold or you can use embroidery thread.
Yard stick and square.
Template for monograms You can purchase a stabilizer designed to print images from your pc. It works nicely especially with letters, so you don't mistakenly print the letters backwards. I like the plastic templates for that reason but you are very limited to the selections available.
Sewing pins, needles, fabric marker and sewing thread.
Scissors, seam ripper, (small embroidery scissors, embroidery hoop if embroidery work will be done).
Iron and ironing board and it helps to have a squirt bottle to moisten if the fabric is dry.
These napkins can be hemmed by hand which would make the entire napkin hand sewn.
I also used battery operated floating candles for these.
Step 3: Getting Started
I made a cutting mistake and had to reduce the size of napkins I wanted to make. I suggest making the napkins 18" to 20", like fine restaurants use, but they can be made smaller. Mine measure 15" x 15" and some napkin folds are difficult to make because of the size or thickness of the fabric.
Mark and cut a pattern from the stabilizer adjusting the finished size for a double hem.
Lay the pressed linen out on the table and lay the square over the top to square the fabric,
just like you did with the stabilizer.
Lay the stabilizer pattern over the top of the linen, making sure to keep everything square.
Pin the pattern to one layer of the linen fabric.This worked out very nicely for me to keep the linen square, after a couple of failures.
Cut one napkin out at a time for best results.
Step 4: Pressing the Hem
Begin folding a double hem and pressing the hem under 1/4 to 1/2 inch depending on your preference as shown.
Step 5: Monogrammed Letters
Trace the letters of the template onto a sheet of paper and then position the paper under the napkin until it is centered in the corner, and use a marker to trace the letter. The picture above shows that I hemmed the napkin first, which in fact I did, and then, I realized I should have hemmed it after embroidering the letter, to avoid having to use a smaller embroidery hoop.
I embroidered the letter M using pure silk thread. It had a smooth silky finish.
This project is perfect for a beginner who would like to try to embroider some napkins! Check out Jessy's beginner class here .
Step 6: Sewing the Hem
Sew the hem as shown, pivoting at the corners. I hand stitched the corners for a more finished look.
Step 7: Decorative Stitching
I stitched a decorative stitch around the white napkin to give it a lacy touch.
Step 8: How to Fold Napkin Rose
Now for the fun part:
How to fold a napkin into a rose.
Fold the napkin at an angle with wrong sides together.
Roll leaving about 3-5 inches at the end, depending on the size of the napkin.
Begin rolling from the opposite direction leaving a small tail at the end to be tucked into the sides of the rose.
Fold the tail into the sides of the napkin as shown.
Fold down the two ends, which will form the leaves, as shown and turn the rose over and shape the rose and leaves until you are happy with the results.
Step 9: How to Fold the Lotus Flower Napkin
- Fold the napkin in half to form a rectangle.
- Fold it in half again to form a square, this will crease the fabric to make it easier to fold.
- Open the napkin and fold the ends toward the center as shown in the third picture.
- Fold the ends toward the center again which will make the square smaller.
- Carefully flip the napkin over as shown.
- Fold the ends toward the center as before.
- Gently lift the napkin and pull the end of the corner out from under the napkin and up, to form the four petals as shown.
Step 10: How to Fold a Leaf Napkin
I am sharing the leaf fold because it is useful when decorating vases or center pieces using folded napkins. I make smaller napkins to add to the roses for leafs which looks nice also. The leafs can be made from paper or cloth and much smaller because of the simple fold.
Lay the napkin out flat on the table.
Fold into a triangle.
Fold the long edge into an accordion shape as shown.
Fold the napkin in half to form the leaf and shape as needed.
Step 11: Final Thoughts
After making the leaf napkin, I realized how to make the rose napkins with a green leaf that is part of the napkin. I will dye the tips of the napkin, that form the point of the triangle about 3-5 inches the color green that will become the shape of the rose leaf, if that makes since.The packaging for this project will be as follows. I will send the napkins using archival tissue paper and boxes and place the tissue paper in the bottom of the box and fold each napkin in the shape of the rose and position them into a beautiful floral arrangement and place paper or cloth folded leaf napkins in and around the roses.
I will be starting a new tradition for Mother's day and Father's day by choosing one of our ancestors to honor and celebrate each year.
These are great fun to make and the receiver will get many years of use out of them. I hope my grandchildren will cherish owning a set of these linen napkins to celebrate the women in their life for many many years~ These make perfect gifts for families who spend a lot of holidays together.
Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at this instructable.