Wedding Wednesday: I DIYed Wedding Reception Napkins + a Tutorial

I have another Wedding Wednesday DIY tutorial for y’all (and a wee sneak peek at my wedding’s table settings). And guess what? Like the wedding invitation suite of last week, this one SUCKED TOO! Aaaand, just like last week’s DIY, this one sucked not because it was hard but because it was boring. I mean, how much fun can one person really have sewing 78 cloth napkins? REALLY?!?! But they did turn out cute, y’all:

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This is a stripped down version of my table settings – they’ll make more sense once everything is pulled together. But! Onward with the tutorial! First you’ll need fabric and an old cloth napkin.

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I just used a seam ripper to open the old napkins seams, laid it on the wrong side (the side you DON’T want people to see) of my pre-washed, ironed fabrics, and cut around it. Rinse and repeat until you have a buttload of fabric squares.

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The ironing part of this whole this is a drag but makes sewing the cloth napkins hems SO MUCH EASIER (trust me on this one – I polled people on Twitter and Facebook about it). Here’s what I did. Use a piece of cardstock and eyeball your hem width. Then lay the top of the cardstock exactly where you want the fold of the hem to be and iron down each side:

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Open the seams and press the top corner down until it makes a triangle over the cardstock (use your seams as a guide to help you make this even). Iron the triangle down:

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Fold down one of the seams over the triangle and iron:

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Fold down the other seam over the triangle, iron, and pin the corner:

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Now you can sew your hems.* I used my sewing machine and set it at a size 3 with a zigzag stitch. I also just used a neutral beige thread because all my napkins are different patterns and the matching thing was unnecessary. Obviously, for a more finished look you could use matching thread and a straight stitch. *If you are wanting these to look really nicely done then I encourage you to fold and iron a rolled seam (fold your hem over again on itself so the cut edges are hidden). I didn’t do this because my wedding is a simple outdoors one and it wasn’t necessary.

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At the corner, stop sewing about halfway through the width of the hem (for example, if you’re doing a ¼” hem then stop about 1/8” away from the end).  Leave your needle in the fabric, pick up your presser foot, turn the whole shebang 90 degrees (to the line up with the next seam to be sewn), and set the presser foot back down. Voila! You’ve got yourself a nicely turned corner – no weird curving.

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Remember to reinforce your seam at the end (reverse over your stitching [what you’ve already done] and then go forward over that again).

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Rinse and repeat. About a MILLION times… until you have a box filled with these suckers.

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I do really, really love the idea of having made all the napkins for my wedding reception and the fact that they totally add to the handmade flavor I’m going for but… OY! With the tediously boring DIY wedding projects already! I cannot wait to tackle the flower girl dresses this weekend… at least they have pleating!

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Images Courtesy of: The Boy (and DAMN is he proud of it…)

Anyhoo, Tulle Nation – whattya think? Would you make all the napkins for your wedding reception (P.S. my mother-in-law and I split up this task – she’s doing 80-90 napkins and I’m doing 75-80). Do you have a simpler method for making them? Any non-sewers out there thinking of tackling this project (you KNOW I wanna hear about it/see photos!). Share away!