Is the change of seasons putting you in the mood for a dinner party? Me too! So I asked Elisabeth of My Growing Home to create a project that would dress-up a table. She came up with a gorgeous idea! And she promises that the technique is easier than you’d think. Take a peek! — Gabrielle
One of my favorite visions is that of family lingering around a meal on our back porch. I made these mitre-edged linen napkins in a spectrum of pinks and oranges to dress our table for Easter, but I think we’ll be using them for years to come.
To give them a bit of added happy, I “sprinkled” the napkins with gold confetti, painted on in an abstract pattern. I love the way the gold accents relate to our china without being too fancy. I also love that I was able to create something special for our family so easily — the sewing skills required for this project are minimal, and the painting is done with a stencil. Enjoy!
To make the dinner napkins
- For each 20” napkin (a standard size), you’ll need 3/4 of a yard of linen. Depending on the width of the fabric you choose, you may be able to cut two square napkins from this amount of yardage. Since I wanted a different color for each napkin, I only cut one per fabric and saved the leftovers to make a coordinating set of placemats.
- Thread to loosely match each fabric
- Basic sewing supplies, including a point turner and an iron.
To make the confetti:
-1 inch circle punch
-About ten pieces of standard, 8.5” x 11” card stock (I used this because I had it lying around and wanted every napkin to have a different pattern, but you could also fashion a single stencil about of very thin, clear acetate)
-Metallic gold fabric paint
Wash and dry your linen (this is really important as linen shrinks considerably), then press.
Cut linen into 23” squares.
Using your iron, press a 1/2 inch fold into one side of your linen square, then fold an additional 1 inch and press.
Unfold the second (1 inch) fold, leaving the crease. Now, repeat the entire process for the other three sides of the square.
Fold each corner forward so that 1 inch creases line up, as in the photo above.
Now, unfold the corner and fold the entire napkin in half backwards so that the two ends of the crease you just made are lying on top of one another. Pin on either side of this crease. Repeat for the other three corners of your napkin.
Sew a straight stitch over the crease on each corner of your napkin.
Cut off the fabric’s corners approximately 1/2 inch beyond the seam, then cut the tiny squared corners of this leftover area to a 45 degree angle.
Unfold your napkin and press the corners with seams open.
Turn the napkin inside out, using a point turner to push out the corners. Press the edges down along the 1 inch crease all the way around the napkin.
Stitch edges down as close as possible to the inner fold of the napkin.
Press your finished napkin, and repeat for the rest of your set (and once you’re done with all that, pat yourself on the back).
Now, cut your card stock into rectangular pieces (mine varied from 1/2 to 1/3 of each 8.5”x11” piece) and use a circle punch to create an abstract smattering of confetti.
Place stencil as desired on your napkin. Then, using a foam brush, gently apply gold fabric paint to the stencil, working from the outside edge of the circle towards the middle. Make sure that your brush is not over-saturated with paint and that you press the stencil down with your hands around the area where you are working.
Repeat on other areas of the napkin, turning the stencil to keep the pattern random and switching stencils every two to three uses (it will become less reliable as the circles are saturated with paint).
Let dry overnight and then set your lovely table! Happy Spring!
P.S. — Looking for additional mitre-edge sewing instructions? Try the tutorial in Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Crafts. You’ll see that I use roughly the same dimensions to get a crisp, 1-inch napkin edge.