Summer Napkins: Sew-Easy Mitered Corners

Summer Napkins: Sew-Easy Mitered Corners

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Stitch a set of four napkins in an hour or less with my sew-easy mitered corner technique. Ideal for a summer luncheon, picnic, or handmade hostess gift.  Showcase your favorite fabrics by mixing or matching fabric groupings, or make them from one fabric.

The mitered-corner technique (used on a jewelry caddy) can be found in Sew Simple with Rectangles & Squares, along with many other simple sewing projects. Watch online:  Sewing With Nancy, Sew Simple with Rectangles & Squares (Part Three).

Sew Simple with Rectangles and Squares, a new 3-part Sewing With Nancy series

Supplies for a set of four napkins

Cut four 21″ squares, using a rotary cutter, ruler, and mat.

Note from Nancy: Create color-coordinated cocktail size napkins by using quilter’s fat quarters and cutting the napkins 18″ square, instead of 21″.

Construction

  • Press under 1/2″ of the top and lower edges of each napkin.
  • Press under another 1/2″ along the top and lower edges of each napkin

  • Edgestitch along folds.
  • Repeat pressing steps on sides of napkins squares pressing under 1/2″; then a second 1/2″.

  • Unfold the pressed areas at one corner.
  • Fold the corner at a right angle, aligning the point with the last pressed fold.

  • Refold along the first pressed fold; press the corner.

  • Refold along the second pressed fold; press the corner.

  • Repeat at each corner.
  • Pin if needed.
  • Edgestitch along the folds, locking stitches (back stitching) at each folded miter.

  • Clip threads close to the stitching.

That’s it!

Watch Sew Simple with Rectangles & Squares (Part Three) on Sewing With Nancy online.

To watch Sewing With Nancy on your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone, download the app.

Nancy Zieman's Blog GiveawayLeave a comment telling us what fabric theme or color you’ll use to create these napkins for a chance to win a copy of Sew Simple with Rectangles & Squares. A winner will be randomly selected on June 9.

Sew Simple with Rectangles & Squares Sewing With Nancy Zieman


Nancy Zieman’s Knit Dress Sew Along 2015 | McCalls M7152 | #NZKnitDressSALThank you to all who sewed along with us for the Nancy Zieman Knit Dress Sew Along. Today we annouce the winner of the prize bundle: Sew Knits with ConfidenceKlasse Needles Variety PackClover 5-in-1 Sliding Gaugeplus one yard Pellon Easy Knit Interfacing. The winner was randomly selected from the photo gallery entries. (If you are still sewing, feel free to enter your finished dress pictures, though you are no longer eligible for a prize.)

Knit Dress Photo Collage | Nancy Zieman | #NZKnitDressSALCongratulations to Enid! Enid made the version of McCall’s Pattern M1752 without the yoke in the dress. Keep up the great work!

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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110 Comments

  • Jane
    June 2, 2015

    Yellow – gingham, flowers, polka dots – would be my first choice. Thanks for another great and easy to follow guideline.

  • KayZee
    June 2, 2015

    I’d make food-themed napkins for our picnic basket. Thanks for another easy-to-follow tutorial.

  • Florence Haynes
    June 2, 2015

    I used
    cherry fabric as I live near Traverse City the
    cherry capital

  • Jeri
    June 2, 2015

    I have a piece of fabric that looks like inside of watermelon, complete with seeds. Think this would make cute napkins for outdoor dining.

  • Judy
    June 2, 2015

    A perfect summer sewing plan for the yards of red gingham in my stash!

  • Melody
    June 2, 2015

    Red and white gingham is what I am going to use for my napkins. I find red and white cheery colors and use it throughout my house.

  • Pat Bennett
    June 2, 2015

    I’ve been promising my sis and her husband new placements,now I will make contrasting napkins. As they live in the low country, a theme fabric of sea life and plant will be used.
    Thanks for the great tutorial on the napkins!

  • Candice
    June 2, 2015

    I have a fun daisy print in my stash that will be perfect for this fun project.

  • Cyndi
    June 2, 2015

    What a great book! I use themed fabric as gifts. I made a dozen floral napkins, put them in a cute vase and then gave them as a vase of flowers for a birthday gift. It was fun.

    Thank you for the give away!

  • Denise Z. G.
    June 2, 2015

    I just found some picnic table cloths on clearance, so I bought two intending the second for napkins & dish towels. This tutorial is perfect timing!

  • Marianne
    June 2, 2015

    Blue & green farm theme to match my Mary Hadley dishes

  • Cecilia Huether
    June 2, 2015

    I have some veggie fabrics that might be colorful and bright for a summer napkin set.
    Cecilia

  • Alice
    June 2, 2015

    My niece is getting married and they picked out white dishes so blue and white wiukd make a liovely table. I love your 5 in 1 tool!

  • Mary B
    June 2, 2015

    Love, Love, Love linens ( and those types of sewing projects) of all types and for all seasons. Such an easy way to dress up your table or other home decor for each holiday/season. I, too, have taken clearance tablecloths using the second for matching napkins, napkin rings, etc. Thanks for yet another way to do something so simple but yet so many folks do not think to do at home.

  • Mary Ellen
    June 2, 2015

    First of all, let me say that Nancy, you are a remarkable, strong, and beautiful person. I would make my napkins out of Christmas fabric. It’s my favorite time of the year and I have plenty of fabric for it in my stash!

  • Pat
    June 2, 2015

    I would choose some of the nifty food prints for napkins to use on the patio. I saw some really nice ones in a recent Nancy’s Notions catalog.

  • Robyn
    June 2, 2015

    Thanks for the opportunity, Nancy! Adorable napkins and great projects for the summer!

  • Dianne G Patterson Burns
    June 2, 2015

    I bought tons of Soho Chic and I plan to use part of it for the napkins. I’m also tempted to use Kansas Troubles, several lines all go together for Thanksgiving. Great pattern for very quick napkins!

  • Jackie Branscum
    June 2, 2015

    I absolutely LOVE cloth napkins. I use them all the time. I would use red or an unbleached muslin and maybe embroider red roosters on the muslin.

  • Sheila
    June 2, 2015

    What a great way to make napkins that would coordinate with my different seasonal themed placemats.

  • Jackie Taxter
    June 2, 2015

    Great tutorial. I will do them in yellow gingham. What a good idea to buy 2 table cloths on discount & use the second one for napkins. Thanks.

  • Tina
    June 2, 2015

    My dining room is red so maybe red and white checked fabric. Something summery.

  • Joanne
    June 2, 2015

    My son and daughter in law will be moving into a new house in Az and napkins in colors of the red rocks would be perfect . I was trying to figure out a housewarming gift and custom napkins would be great. The tutorials are always perfect for all to follow.

  • Christie
    June 2, 2015

    A couple of ideas come to mind..first, sewing themed fabric with tape measures for napkin “rings” tied around when we all get together to sew all day and share potluck. And second, airplane themed fabric for when my husband’s flying club has family get togethers and each lady “does” a table. But I’ve always been drawn to novelty fabrics and my resource closet reminds of it constantly!
    Stay well Nancy, prayers to you and you support team.

  • Ann Santistevan
    June 2, 2015

    Summertime! that would be a watermelon green stipe or check with embroidered watermelon in the corners.

  • Lori Morton
    June 2, 2015

    Love your blue Gingham with the blue plates… I’d use green gingham for my kitchen! 🙂 Also have some Kitchen themed prints I think would be cool for napkins too! 🙂

  • Yvonne
    June 2, 2015

    Thanks I have been looking for ideas to sew with my 13 year old granddaughter this summer. I know she will want to do them in HOT PINK.

  • Doreen Linehan
    June 2, 2015

    I’d make a set in a slate grey color for my son & his wife’s formal dining room.

  • Kathy
    June 2, 2015

    I have the perfect material, in my stash. It has red & blue fireworks on a white back ground. Will add a special touch, to my son & daughter-in-laws Independence Day get together table.

  • Mary S
    June 2, 2015

    I have some novelty fabric that the grand kids would love and this would teach them about using cloth napkins.

  • Bessie Curran
    June 2, 2015

    I do not plan on making napkins but I have a lot of unfinished flour sacks that need to be hemmed and decorated for dish towels. Thanks for the great meter tip.

  • Cindy Schultz
    June 2, 2015

    I made some place-mats with really colorful batiks. I have some leftover fabric and have been wanting to make some napkins to match. I can’t wait to try this technique. You make it look so easy. My daughter-in-law wanted some napkins made for her wedding that looked old. I really struggled to make them. They did not look as good as the ones you just showed how to make. Thank you.

  • Carol Skilling
    June 2, 2015

    Nancy, thank you so much for the easy-napkin-with-mitered-corners instructions! They’re just what I wanted! Very nice. I can’t believe how many things you can make and then share with us! How fortunate can we be!
    I’m praying to God that you are doing well.

    Love, Carol

  • Estelle Chalfin
    June 2, 2015

    I have been sewing for 70 years and still learning to do things simpler. Thank you, Nancy.

  • Joanne
    June 2, 2015

    I would make sets of napkins and matching placemats for all the grandkids using fun fabrics with their favorite interests…like Frozen, Sock Monkey, Baseball, Barbie…

  • Pamela wolfe
    June 2, 2015

    will embroidery questions from our ‘faith and family’ game and use napkins during our family vacation this summer….along with so many others, praying for your healing.

  • Anne
    June 2, 2015

    I have some beautiful sunflower fabric that would make gorgeous napkins. Can’t wait to try this!

  • Rosemary Griffis
    June 2, 2015

    How easy is that! as Ina Garten would say. I’ve read about mitered corners for years and still couldn’t get my mind around it. These instructions are so clear.
    Praying for you; hope you get better soon.

  • Candace W
    June 2, 2015

    The color schemes depend on the who I am sewing for ie weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, kids, & just for fun! My personal favorites are blues, lavenders, greens, & pinks.

  • Starla
    June 2, 2015

    The mitering really adds a finishing touch.

  • samm
    June 2, 2015

    Wow! It’s those little hints with instructions that inspire our excitement. This is fantastic for MANY projects!

  • Ginny
    June 2, 2015

    I have fabric in shades of red, white and blue with stars, without stars, maybe flags…. you get the idea! So I’m thinking some colorful napkins in these fabrics would be great for the summer! Now I’m off to see what I have
    I really like the technique you and how you presented it. I’ve been sewing for years and never thought of sewing the opposite sides of the square or rectangle, then forming the mitered corner. So much easier – and neater!

  • Savannagal
    June 2, 2015

    I’m not sure I’d make the napkins, since I have at least 60 already. But, I’d like to make a table cloth that actually fits my off-standard size table. So I guess that could be considered an extra large napkin. I’d go with a simple pattern, with leaves, bees or birds. Something with nature, but not overly busy. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Joyce
    June 2, 2015

    I have made many cloth napkins and tablecloths in the past, and always love new tips. I love soft cottons in all seasonal colors and prints.

  • Jeanne
    June 2, 2015

    I am going to make a bunch of these in floral prints.

  • Frances
    June 2, 2015

    I’ve just made a table runner and am working on matching place mats. I hadn’t figured out what napkins to make — until I saw yours in gingham. Wonderful! I’d like to make them in violet or turquoise, if I can find something close to those colors. Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  • Kay
    June 2, 2015

    I would like to make a set of napkins for each month to match the embroidered tea towels I am making for each month. What an easy corner! Thanks

  • JoD
    June 2, 2015

    Fun. I made a picnic tablecloth using ‘ant’ print. Bright colors. The leftover ‘ants’ will be happy to be napkins.

  • Judie
    June 2, 2015

    This technique would be great for everyday napkins made from a medium weight cotton. My new kitchen colour theme of yellow/white/gray would be my choice.

  • Elayne Novotny
    June 2, 2015

    I think that I will use some yellow gingham that I have had for a long time and the fun part is I can team it with almost anything and get some amazing looks for my Barbque parties.

  • Opal Jack
    June 2, 2015

    Why, it has to be chickens, since I have been gifted with a lovely piece of green fabric with little white and brown chickens and chicks. SOOO cute.

  • Karen
    June 2, 2015

    i have some fabric with watermelon slices that would be perfect for these napkins

  • Sharon
    June 2, 2015

    Love the napkin idea!! And easy corners!!!

  • Connie W
    June 2, 2015

    My choice would be dog theme fabric. I sew for a non-profit, all volunteer Golden Retriever rescue. I would add the napkins to other items we sell at our pet fairs. Anything we receive from sales goes to the medical bills of newly adopted Goldens. So many dogs are in poor health when rescued. It’s all about the dogs is what we say.

  • Gail Beam
    June 2, 2015

    I would make sport themed napkins with golf, basketball and volleyball fabric for when my grandkids have their friends over for parties or cookouts, as those are the high school sports they participate in. Love your easy tutorial on the mitered corners. Thanks for the new giveaway!

  • Jan N.
    June 2, 2015

    I would make some using local sports teams fabrics for game day/night parties. I would also make some using novelty food and drink fabrics for BBQ parties in the yard. Thank you for the tutorial and the giveaway.

  • Avis Cooper
    June 2, 2015

    I love the look of gingham checks…especially the small checks; however, since we live in the Okanagan Valley of southern BC where fruit orchards and vineyards are everywhere, I think I’d make napkins that represent the abundance of what grows locally. I see fabrics that look almost real in their colours…and so yummy looking! Love the mitered corners, too.
    Thanks, Nancy, for always encouraging us with new ideas. You are in my prayers and I trust that God will be with you in difficult times.

  • Pam Armbrister
    June 2, 2015

    This technique would make the cutest patriotic napkins and tablecloth for the 4th! Thanks, Nancy, for the best tips and tricks to make sewing easier and “sew” much fun!

  • Kim Harrington
    June 2, 2015

    I love mitered corners on napkins! I would look gorgeous on a white or off white linen with a pretty monogram!

  • Mary Hintzman
    June 2, 2015

    I will do a sunflower print for some and alternate bright yellow and a darker green for some and mix them in a basket for a table centerpiece.

  • Karen Patterson
    June 2, 2015

    Hello. Nancy!

    Thanks for the hint on the mitered corners! I’ve made napkins before but nothing as pretty as these! I really like the gingham idea too. I plan to make some gingham ones using this technique! Thanks again!

  • craftygramma
    June 2, 2015

    I am just teaching my 6 yr old grandgirl to sew, so she will decide! I am thinking of ‘stealing’ the idea of placemat/napkin sets for all the grands.
    Great minds here!

    Nancy, you are awesome; you are in my thoughts and prayers daily. Be well.

  • Christina Gonzalez
    June 2, 2015

    Bright flower prints to celebrate spring.

  • Fran Johnson
    June 2, 2015

    Dear Nancy, What a wonderful tutorial!! Love it. I really need some new napkins. (no paper for this lady). Also, I now know what those on my Christmas list will receive. Table runners and napkins. Of course, I will add some machine embroidery.
    Good thoughts and prayers for your speedy recovery.
    You always have the very best ideas. Thanks.

  • bev
    June 2, 2015

    Autumn colors- both my granddaughter and I love these colors- makes it more fun to rake and jump in fall’s leaves!

  • Marcia Gaffney
    June 2, 2015

    I would love to use some of my bright Kaffe Fassett fabrics to make some of these. Have always loved cloth napkins. Lends class to an ord I nary meal IMHO.

  • Marcia Gaffney
    June 2, 2015

    I would love to use some of my bright Kaffe Fassett fabrics to make some of these. Have always loved cloth napkins. Lends class to an ordinary meal IMHO.

  • Jan
    June 2, 2015

    It has to be bandana prints–perfect for the picnic table. We will be having a picnic at the lake when (if?) it stops raining in Oklahoma.

  • Linda Morales
    June 2, 2015

    I would use material with butterflies for 1 set,and I’d make another set with chili peppers. Thank you for these fabulous ideas.

  • Karen
    June 2, 2015

    Not sure which colors I would use, pale green to match my plates I think! Or a pastel flowery print would be nice as well.

  • Kathy Casey
    June 2, 2015

    Hey Nancy, thanks for this simple method of doing mitered corners! I love to make napkins and have never really perfected how to do the corners quickly and simply. I plan to make a set of napkins in a blue print for a friend who will soon have a baby boy. (She loves cloth napkins.) I also plan to make a baby blanket for her, so the napkins will be an extra surprise.

  • Marty
    June 2, 2015

    I plan to use cotton Aboriginal-design fabric for a napkins gift to a former Australian exchange student; thanks!

  • Connie Douty
    June 2, 2015

    I will be making and taking mitred corner napkins as hostess gifts, depending on the hostess themes such as barbeque, bandanas, pink and blue checks for the baby showers, white mongrqammed tea light linen for wedding gifts, cowboy prints for boys birthdays, colorful flower prints for a girls’s birthday, fun prints for teenagers and pretty prints abound that I can imagine as happy napkins. Anything goes.

  • Connie Douty
    June 2, 2015

    Thank you for a wonderful idea for hostess gifts to make and take.
    My mind is whirling with ides to use: tea light linen, monogramed for new bride and groom; bandana prints for Texas barbeques; colorful gingham check for wedding showers; fun prints for girls” birthday party; horses, dinosauers, planes and things for boy’s birthday party and just on and on using the wonderful colorful theme prints.

  • Patti
    June 2, 2015

    I’m all into black and white right now, but I loooooove a mossy green too.

  • Karen J
    June 2, 2015

    I have never been good at mitered corners so I usually avoid sewing items that need them. But… I am going to try again using your technique. I think my 4th of July table is going too look much more festive this year with new napkins. Speedy recovery to you.

  • Mary Wippold
    June 2, 2015

    OMG! I could sew napkins for all the holidays. What fun. A pastel bunny or chicken print for Easter, red white and blue stars for July 4, red and white hearts for Valentines Day, etc.

  • Jennifer Fried
    June 2, 2015

    Very nice. neat and tidy cornners. Jenny

  • Corinne
    June 2, 2015

    I’ve been intimidated by mitered corners, but this makes it look like something I could actually do! I think I’ll try a tea cup print (for tea parties) first, then prints for all holidays. Thanks!

  • kathy
    June 2, 2015

    I can’t wait to make summer napkins. I love using cloth napkins instead of paper. Better for the environment and no paper sticking to your barbecue covered fingers!!

  • Sue Knuth
    June 2, 2015

    I have some cream linen and a Christmas Napkin Corners designs CD that’s been on my project pile for awhile, your post really motivates me to get them made. The corner you show seems simple to do and looks like it turns out awesome, thank you.

  • elizabeth armstrong
    June 2, 2015

    Thanks for the mitering idea. I hate paper napkins, so I buy crinkle cloth in white (the least expensive) and make a very simple edge all around, but the corners are gross…I tried making them using your mitered corner hems, and now they look perfect, just perfect. I throw them in the washer/dryer for no ironing with nicely formed edges. now I can skip expensive paper onesl

  • Jane
    June 3, 2015

    I plan to make some Arkansas Razorback themed napkins for my next door neighbor who who has backyard cookouts for her family and friends on game days. Thanks for the great tutorial to encourage us to launch into the project.

  • nancy parrish
    June 3, 2015

    Thank you for the mitered corner tip. I can see so many uses for this technique. Will make those corners so much quicker and neater. A set of red, white, blue napkins and matching table cover.

  • Christine Z
    June 3, 2015

    I will make them in lavender and butter yellow. And red, white and blue for the patriotic summer holidays.

  • Debbie Wetzel
    June 3, 2015

    I will make them in bright primary colors to use at picnics with my grandchildren!

  • Diane C
    June 3, 2015

    One set for every season — then maybe embroider on them

  • Cher Shores
    June 3, 2015

    Love these, but might add a chevron design as well. Perfect match for the crocheted placemats I made for my daughter.

  • cher Shores
    June 3, 2015

    Love these as is, but may add a chevron pattern to match the placemats I crocheted for my daughter.

  • Cindy Huggins
    June 3, 2015

    Thanks so much for the great tutorial. Love both watching your show and reading the blog! Such great teaching and new ideas. Would love some great patriotic fabric for the summer or table matching with plums and greens. Either would be great just to practice mitered corners. Thanks for the chance to win a new project inspiring book!!!

  • Pat Bennett
    June 3, 2015

    Nancy, because I am bringing the backing forward as a binding on my place mats, I used the same method for the mitered corners. It made it so easy and they are are “practically” perfect.

    Thank you!

  • Stephanie
    June 3, 2015

    I’m President of a local garden club. I would make napkins with a garden theme for our monthly meetings. I think a table runner too.

  • Joanne Bibik
    June 3, 2015

    I love the napkins and so easy. I’m using a a sage color floral which will match the curtains.

  • allen king
    June 3, 2015

    I would do machine embroidered corner motifs in white on white mitered corner napkins. They could be used year ’round, not just for seasonal occasions!

  • Karen payton
    June 3, 2015

    I would make them with some blue gingham I have in my stash! Love these patterns thanks

  • Barbara R.
    June 3, 2015

    I saw a citrusy print in my stash that I think would be perfect!

  • Min Martin
    June 4, 2015

    Hellow from Pennsylvania, Nancy! I watch your videos both on PC and on Public Television. You inspired me to make a set of four napkins in deep red with a tiny metallic stars overall print, and I matched the napkins to two self-drafted reversible table runners: the red fabric with metallic stars is on one side, and a deep blue fabric with metallic snowflakes is on the reverse. This simple set, with beautiful silky tassels at each pointed end that I adapted from a curtain tieback, can take me through several seasons and numerous holidays! Squares and Rectangles! The set turned out very nice!

  • Margaret Morton
    June 4, 2015

    Thanks for a great tutorial. Makes pesky mitered corners so easy! The first set I’ll make will be with red bandanna fabric to go with a denim picnic throw I’m just finishing.

  • Carol DeWitt
    June 4, 2015

    I am self taught and have been watching your show since it began. I have learned so much from you. I started sewing for my daughters and I am now sewing for my great granddaughter. I have never been able to do mitered corners neatly so thank you so much! I will make napkins for her tea parties. She will love them! I can see giving a lot of these for gifts. Keeping you in my prayers.

  • Carol DeWitt
    June 4, 2015

    I am self taught and have been watching you since you began. I started sewing for my daughters and I am now sewing for my great granddaughter. I will make these napkins for her tea parties. She will love them! I can see lots of handmade gifts in the future. Thank you for all the lessons. Keeping you in my prayers.

  • Karen
    June 4, 2015

    Planning on making a table runner for the summer. These napkins would be great to go with the runner. Can’t wait to.pick out my fabrics! Thank you ,Nancy for all you wonderful tutorials and inspiration. Hoping you are recovering and feeling stronger each day.

  • Vicki B.
    June 5, 2015

    I need to make these in red, white and blue for the Fourth!

  • Debra Caldwell
    June 6, 2015

    I would love to win a copy of Sew Simple with Triangles and Squares. I am thinking of making some table placemats and napkins for Christmas presents. I am always doing something in Rustic!

  • Grandma E
    June 6, 2015

    I would love to have this book. I plan on teaching my 13 year old (yesterday) Grand daughter, her 5 year old sister and their 9 year old brother sewing this summer. They are all anxious to learn since they have tried some on my new machine. I would use bright picnic colors that they would choose for themselves to match the chalkboard fabric runner I am making for their new house. We are having a family get together and there are a lot of us.

  • Ell
    June 7, 2015

    Napkins in a pale blue-green aqua in linen would sew up so nicely with those mitered corners.

  • Jan C
    May 21, 2016

    I was taught to ALWAYS top stitch on the outside. This technique would put the bobbin thread/stitching on the outside. Are there new rules?

  • Susan Stanton
    May 21, 2016

    This would make a great gift for my daughter’s new home! She loves aqua and blue, Caribbean Sea colors. Can’t wait to get started!

  • Susan Wright
    November 10, 2016

    Nancy, thank you for the easy instructions for mitering napkins. I made the mistake of printing off someone’s instructions and I was so confused and frustrated I almost quit. I’m making napkins for my daughter for Christmas and I cannot waste the material, so I thought, “What would Nancy say?” Sure enough, your instructions were so much clearer and simpler. I’m so relieved and appreciate you anew (I was already a fan of your tv show). Thank you again for sharing your talent.

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