Reusable Dinner Napkins

Reusable Napkins

I’ve been making some reusable dinner napkins over at the Henry Home. I’m still working on increasing my stash of reusable napkins but it’s a process. However, I was able to get a bulk of sewing done in the last few days and I’m loving it. 

Let me start off this post by saying that the fabric I’m using for dinner/kitchen napkins are all repurposed fabric. I love going to thrift stores and finding vintage fabric or even old linen and remaking them into something new. I make pillow cases, little fabric planters, table runners, etc. out of them. It’s also a great way of reducing fabric waste. This is something heavy in my heart. I’m trying to be more purposeful and intentional about what I buy. And if I can avoid buying things like fast fashion clothing, or items that will just be used once then forgotten, then I’ve made a small step into a lifestyle that I can be proud of. But fast fashion and fabric waste can be a post all in its own. I’ll try to focus more on zero-waste.

I discovered the zero-waste movement a few months ago. I ran into some blogs and YouTube videos that talked about the movement and it made me very interested. I rented Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home (I feel like every person who’s joining in this movement has read that book. Think of it as initiation) and read through it. And it all makes sense. We’ve all gotten use to one-time-use and disposable items that we’ve forgotten to think about what it’s doing to the environment. I don’t want to be all preachy, since this post is getting long enough, but I want to say that the zero-waste movement has inspired me to make big changes. Hence, the making of these reusable dinner napkins. Without further ado, here are a few pics.

FoldedFolded Napkins

These white napkins were all made from one (one!) queen-sized flat sheet I found at a thrift store. And I still have so much of that fabric left…which means I still have so much more sewing left to do. By the time I’m done, I think I’ll have about 20 of these white dinner napkins made from that one flat sheet. That’s an estimate of what you can make out of one piece of unwanted linen. I love the possibilities you can get from upcycling old linen.

Basic Stitch

I used the basic straight stitch to hem the sides.

Large Napkin

These napkins are about 16 x 16. Originally, I cut them out in squares of 17 x 17, but after hemming the edges, you end up with a 16 x 16 napkin. I used a basic straight stitch to sew the sides. And I’m still sewing on the vintage 50’s sewing machine my mother-in-law passed down to me last year.

The fabric is also very soft. I chose white since that’s the color of most disposable dinner napkins. It makes me nervous about staining, but so far, all the stains have gotten out with every wash. I keep a bin under my sink for dirty napkins. Sometimes I’ll fill the bin with water and let the napkins soak overnight if I feel like they were particularly stained that day. Then I just throw them in the wash with the rest of my laundry.

Napkin Bin

For the kitchen, I started sewing more colorful napkins from leftover fabric pieces I have lying around. The white dinner napkins I specifically use for meals or getting snacks. But when I want to wipe down a spill in the kitchen, scrub a counter, or more heavy-duty work, I use a different set of napkins.

Kitchen NapkinsKitchen Napkins_2

These are also 16 x 16 and made the same way. However, the fabric is more colorful (better to hide any yellowing or staining) and a bit rougher. It’s perfect for kitchen uses. It’s on my list to make a bunch more and to have them easily accessible in the kitchen. We still have a lot of paper towels in our kitchen storage (the Costco bulk kind), so the timeline I gave myself is to have a stash of reusable napkins ready by the time we finish our disposables. And after that, no more buying disposable napkins and paper towels. Dun dun dun!

Oh, and one other fun project I want to do in the future is making unpaper towels. If you don’t know what they are, here are some examples. I bought snaps for them already so all I have to do is the actual crafting part. Hopefully in a couple months I’ll be able to blog about my own homemade unpaper towel roll. Until next time!