Just one thing and a cloth napkin tutorial

picnic kit

We are in the season of cook outs, barbeques, picnics and outdoor parties.  And with that comes garbage bags full of  trash.  Plastic utensils, plastic plates and plastic table cloths.  All single use and all end up in a landfill or worse out in the ocean, it’s pretty much a nightmare and all for a few hours of consuming.  And you multiply this by all the families using all this plastic, what a mess!

So how about metal utensils?  Before plastic people used regular metal utensils, cloth napkins, table cloths and picnic blankets.  And frankly who likes to sit on a plastic picnic blanket!?  As far as plates and bowls go, when I’m entertaining in our yard I use our regular ceramic/porcelain plates and bowls and when we are picnicking somewhere else I use vintage enamel plates I picked up at Goodwill years ago.  I’ve seen STACKS of melamine, ceramic even wood plates and bowls at Goodwill and tags sales for a pittance!  And they look beautiful on top of a picnic table.  There are bin loads of forks, spoons and knives at Goodwill also for mere pennies!


All that clean up you say?  Well, get your spouse/partner/friends/family to help, throw them in your dishwasher it’s not that big a deal.  Same goes for the napkins, table cloths and picnic blankets, toss them into the washing machine and hang to dry.

Give it a go and just like cloth napkins metal forks and knives make any outdoor occasion special and encourage us to slow down and enjoy the feast!

On to the mitred corner napkin tutorial!cloth napkin tutorial

 I cut my fabric square 17″ for a 16″ square napkin.

17" square of cotton fabric

17″ square of cotton fabric

Now iron a 1″ hem all around.

Iron 1" hem all around

Iron 1″ hem all around

Draw a line from crease to crease.

draw line from crease to crease

draw line from crease to crease

Do this for all four corners and cut on line.

cut off each corner on drawn line

cut off each corner on drawn line

Next up, fold fabric to line up with previously ironed creases as in next photo.

lining up creases

lining up creases

Now fold over edge 1/2″ to meet inside crease and iron, repeat this for all four sides, see next photo.

forming mitered corners


Now fold over again 1/2″ to form the final hem and mitered corners.

formed hem and corners

Now sew as close to edge as possible, I sewed  1/8″ away from the edge.  Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of your stitching.

finished edge

finished edge

Done!  These are quick and fun to make and would make such a wonderful gift.

ta da!

finished napkin

I don’t feel I can finish this post without mentioning what has happened in Oklahoma, another heartbreaking tragedy.  If you choose one place to offer help is by going to the Red Cross.  My thought are with these people…



I’m sharing at: From The Farm Blog Hop

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  1. Great tutorial. Thanks!

  2. J Timothy Quirk says:

    So THAT’s how it’s done! Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Lovely,and thank you very much for the tutorial !!

  4. Love, love, love cloth napkins . . . thank you for the tutorial!!! :)

  5. Can you believe that I have never known how to miter a corner. And it looks so easy! Thanks for the tutorial.

  6. You’re absolutely right. Why have we become obsessed with disposable picnic items? Time to return to elegant picnics.

    • I agree Anne, I think of all the paintings of picnics from the 18th and 19th century, they were in no rush and they were elegant indeed :)

  7. You have mad sewing skills and make everything look so easy! I hosted a bridal shower once in my back yard, and hand made all the cloth napkins, as I couldn’t find anything I liked that went with the garden theme. Yours, of course, look so much better!

    • Oh Bonnie! That’s a labor of love for sure, i know it was beautiful! When something is made by hand it carries with it the affection of the maker :)

  8. Brilliant Jayne, that’s the best mitred tutorial I’ve seen! I couldn’t agree more re the cutlery and crockery, in fact why not do as us Brit’s did in the Victorian era and take along a Persian rug, best cut glass, chandeliers and a gramophone too! A picnic wouldn’t be right without a wicker hamper and a very itchy wool rug! Wishing you a very good weekend – Glenda

  9. Thank you for visiting Sweet Pickles Farm! Your blog brings back memories of when Mamie was younger with two littles in tow, but she still made clothes for herself and them. I think she still has some fabric that look a lot like your napkins! Your blog is truly sweet…hopefully we will all have a great summer with lots of cook-outs and chances to use our re-usables!

    • I love your blog, how could anyone resist Sweet Pickles Farm! That fabric is actually vintage so maybe it’s the same as Mamie’s:)

  10. Very concise tutorial ! :)

  11. I love cloth napkins. I love this tutorial. Unfortunately, I have finally admitted that I hate sewing. And this is ok. I’ve spent a good 40 years trying to convince myself otherwise. Sometimes it’s good to admit defeat so that we can move on to the things we do enjoy.

    Your napkins are beautiful. And so much better than paper ones. I buy my cloth napkins and love them, but not as much as I would love these!

    • Thanks Jean, either hand made or bought cloth napkins are the best. I’m glad you have moved on to do things you love, life is too darn short to do otherwise :)

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