Beginner’s Sewing Project 1 – Cocktail Napkins

Hey y’all! One nice thing about all of this cold weather is the opportunity to tackle a few indoor projects. Last year, we created a 5-part series called A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing. This series consists of the basics of using a sewing machine and a few pointer’s for tackling troublesome situations such as a broken needle or removing stitches. If you are new to sewing, check out the Sewing Basics page to get comfortable with your machine and better equip yourself for the fun projects ahead.

I received my sewing machine as a present from Mr. P. Immediately, I searched around our area for a beginner’s sewing class and was disappointed to find out that the closest one was about an hour away. As with other skills of this nature, if you don’t have someone to show you the way it can be quite difficult to get started. That’s where our Beginner’s Guides and Beginner’s Projects come in handy.

Our goal is to create a series of articles that can help you learn and grow in your sewing proficiency in a step-by-step manner. Each project will increase your skill level and help build confidence to take on the next (slightly more advanced) project. With that said, let me introduce you to Project 1 of our Beginner Sewing Projects.

Sewing Cocktail Napkins

Difficulty: Beginner
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Cloth cocktail napkins are both beautiful and environmentally friendly. These little items also make for a great hostess gift. Usually purchased in a set of 6, we like to always have a dozen on hand. For this project, we will only be sewing straight lines so it makes for a perfect starter project. Also, since you will most likely be making more than one, there’s plenty of opportunity to perfect your skills.

Step 1: Draw a 7″ x 7″ square pattern on the back of the fabric
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For each cocktail napkin, you will need two squares approximately 7″ x 7″ (front and back). You can use the same fabric or alternate fabrics for a fun change.

Step 2: Cut the fabric in 7″ x 7″ squares
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Since we are making a set of 12 cocktail napkins, 24 – 7″ x 7″ squares are needed. We used a tan muslin fabric for the back and a gray and white chevron pattern for our front.

Step 3: Place one front and one back piece of fabric finished sides in
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*STP Tip – If you can still see your cut pattern on the fabric, that side will be facing out for this part.

Step 4: Sew a 1/4″ seam around 3 sides of the napkin
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We used stitch pattern “1” on our machine which is a basic stitch with the needle adjusted to the center.

*STP Tip – We cut the corners on some to help push out the points once inside out. This is optional. On some it seemed to make a difference and on others it didn’t.  Your choice whether you want to go this route.  Just be careful not to cut into your seam or you will have to re-stitch it up.

Step 5: Turn the fabric right side out and fold in the edges that have not been stitched up
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Step 6: Sew a 1/4″ seam around all 4 sides of the napkin
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Again, we used stitch setting “1” for this. Keep in mind that these stitches will be visible.

For our cocktail napkins, we added an additional decorative stitch line for appearance purposes. If you decide not to do this, skip Step 7 and move on to Step 8.

Step 7: Sew a decorative seam approximately 1 – 1 1/2″ in
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Since we didn’t have coordinating fabric for different napkins, we chose to add 3 different decorative stitch patterns (1 stitch pattern per 4 cocktail napkins).

Step 8: Trim off any excess thread
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When all of your seams are complete. Trim off the loose threads.

That’s it!  The cocktail napkins are complete!  Now on to planning a cocktail party…
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