Deborah Moebes’s Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time* has a project teaching how to make cloth napkins. It’s a great beginner project, as the materials are cheap and you get to practice cutting and sewing straight lines.
I used the following supplies:
- 1 1/4 yards woven gingham blue which i purchased at $1.99/yard
- 1 1/4 yards purple floral fabric which was a gift.
Total Materials Cost: $2.50
The first part of this project just has you over cast the edges of your napkin. I’ve already talked about my initial difficulties with overcasting, so I won’t go into details here. In summary: before getting the hang of overcasting, my napkins were a disaster.
The next part of the project instructs the reader to fold over and miter the corners of the napkins, and then topstitch to keep the folds in place. I used the machine’s fancier stitches for the top stitching. This made the napkins look nicer. Sadly since I was starting with a bad base (from the overcasting), my napkins still weren’t great.
The final part of this project has you fold the edges, iron, and then fold again. No overcasting needed! This was pretty great for me, as I hadn’t yet learned the secret of overcasting when I tried this part of the project.
I went for a different fabric this time, my napkins are far better than the blue and white checked napkins. My stitches aren’t as straight as I’d like them to be but I’m not embarrassed to use them!
This project was definitely worth doing for the practice, especially since the the cost of materials was so low. I find practicing my making something to be way more fulfilling than sitting around stitching straight lines just to get experience. We even put out the nicer set of napkins this weekend when we had guests over!