Picnic Napkins in Gingham

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Picnic Napkins in Gingham

We got a huge stack of yarn dyed woven fabrics in the shop recently - Carolina Gingham, Manchester and Essex, which are some of my all time favorite fabrics. Classics that mix and match with other fabrics or look amazing on their own. Having these fabrics in my stash just makes me happy! But I also want to see and use them everyday! Because they are yarn dyed before the fabric was woven they are pretty on both sides, making kitchen towels and cloth napkins the perfect project.

Guaranteed to be used and appreciated (by me at least) everyday. I've made them before using other methods, which have their pros and cons. Nothing is faster than a rolled hem on the serger if you want a quick method. And folding over twice with straight corners does technically work, but mitered corners really do kick it up a notch don't they? I found a great tutorial for making a perfect mitered corner every time that I wanted to share with you. I'll also clear up the parts I found confusing so you can start your mass production of these! I honestly think they make the perfect gift - birthdays, weddings, or showers, or just a nice thank you gift. They are a great thing to have on hand for those last minute gift giving needs. First things first....you definitely want to wash and dry your fabric before you start this project. Yarn dyed woven fabrics tend to be woven slightly looser than typical quilting cotton which usually means they will shrink a little more. What I found was that the laundered fabric felt a little bit thicker and more stable than it did off the bolt, which is a good thing! I like to pull my fabric out of the dryer while it is still a little damp and press it right away. This prevents those really stubborn wrinkles that can be so hard to get rid of and makes ironing a breeze. Once washed the fabric should be soft and absorbent. We did test them out and we were all pleased with their absorbency! Towels that won't soak up water are the worst, aren't they? Next, cut your fabric to the size you prefer - that's one of the perks! These can be whatever size or shape you want!! Here's a little chart to show you what I prefer, but think through how and where you plan to use these and adjust accordingly. You'll need to trim and straighten the edges after you wash your fabric. Because of shrinkage you will need to adjust your sizes just a bit. As you trim, the most important thing is that the edges are straight and (if making multiples) that they are all the same size. At this point you are going to want to watch the video tutorial from Purl Soho. They do a great job of talking through the steps. Watch the video HERE. Here's a quick recap of the steps. 1. Fold over each edge 1/2". 2. Fold over another 1/2". Repeat for all sides. 3. Open up one fold. 4. Fold the corner over towards the center of the napkin so that each edge is 1". There will be a pressed fold line that will match the fabric edge. Press to create a crease. 5. Open up the fold and draw a line along the crease. 6. Fold fabric right sides together so the lines match up. Clip or pin in place. 7. Sew along the line. Take care to backstitch well at the beginning and end of each corner. 8. Trim leaving an 1/8" seam allowance. 9. Flip the corner to the inside and push out well with a point turner. 10. Stitch around the napkin 1/16" from the inside folded edge. That's it! Guaranteed perfect mitered corners every time! Here's a few tips I learned through the process:
  • Really make sure you backstitch the corner seams, they tend to want to pull out when you turn them otherwise.
  • If you flip the corner and pushed it out and can't seem to get your corner to lay flat you probably need to push the corner out even more. It can look right and still have a little more fabric to be pushed out. (If that doesn't help, then your initial 1/2" creased hems were probably not exactly the same.)
  • Chain stitch! Make tons and tons at once!

Easy as that! I hope you enjoy your perfect mitered corners as much as I do! I'm not usually one for being extra fussy with my sewing, but when I find a fool proof way to make something work right I'm all for it. Stop in the shop to pick your perfect fabric for your Memorial Day picnic, or just everyday to make your kitchen happy. Can't make it in? No problem! Check out all of your options and shop online. Happy Sewing! Roxanne

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