Hobbies: Cloth napkins are elegant and easy

Shari Hiller and Matt Fox

You might not call my apple cloth napkins elegant, but they certainly were easy, and you can create any ambience you like by selecting fabrics that portray the look or feeling you are going for. When you select your cloth napkin fabrics, make sure they are of an absorbent fiber-like cotton.

Apple Pattern Cloth Napkins

Materials for two cloth napkins:

2/3 to ¾ yard of 44- to 45-inch wide fabric

Cutting matte board

Straight edge

Rotary cutter

Ironing board




Straightening fabric

1. Start by squaring your fabric (fixing the jagged edge cut by the fabric store). Start by making a small cut into the fabric edge through the selvage. Then pick at the raw edges until you can grab one of the weft threads in the fabric (which goes from side to side), and gently start pulling it out. You will see that it creates a visible line through the fabric you can eventually cut along to make sure your fabric is straight. If the thread breaks, cut along the line as far as you can and find another thread to pull to continue.

Making napkins

2. After you square the fabric, fold it in half selvage to selvage, lining up the top edge you just cut. Measure down 22 inches for the length of the cloth napkins and cut across the fabric.

3. Fold the 22-inch strip in half in the opposite direction and cut off the selvage edges. Then, measure across the fabric and cut at 22 inches, and then another 22 inches to create two 22-inch squares. This allows for a doubled over ½-inch hem all the way around the cloth napkin creating a 20-inch square finished napkin.

4. Once the squares are cut out, iron in the ½-inch hems all the way around. Pin in place, and sew in the hem on the sewing machine.

Tip: To create cloth napkin corners, I always create a little square in each corner of my cloth napkins to hold the folded hem in place tight at the corner.

Shari Hiller and Matt Fox are best known for HGTV’s “Room by Room.” They now host the PBS television series “Around the House With Matt and Shari.” Visit them on their website mattandshari.com.