For this month, we are going to combine two coordinating quilt weight cotton fabrics to make high quality cloth napkins for fall festivities. This easy project features the Stitch Guide foot for sewing neat narrow seams and for topstitching edges. Make a whole set to match the number of your place settings and to add a colorful touch of fall to your next special gathering!
Materials and Supplies:
- Brother Sewing Machine
- SA160 Brother Stitch Guide Foot “V” Note: There are two versions of this foot. One is plain and the other is marked with red lines. Check your machine manual to see if foot ‘V” is included with your standard accessories. Please see Figure #1 for more details.
- Basic sewing notions and sewing thread to match fabrics. including a point turner tool for pushing out corners.
- Fabric for napkins:
- One square of Fabric #1 and one square of Fabric #2, with each square measuring approximately 20 ¾-inches square. Plan on purchasing 5/8 yard of each of the two fabrics for each set of two napkins.
Note: Dinner size napkins can be virtually any size you choose but a 20-inch square is standard for quality dinner napkins. Most quilt weight cotton is 42 to 44 inches wide but some are slightly narrower. To make the largest napkins possible, fold your fabric in half and then determine the largest square you can get across the width. Be sure to exclude the selvedges for this measurement as they can cause fabric to shrink and pucker at the edge. Finished size of each napkin for this project measured 19 ¾-inches square.
- The Brother Stitch Guide Foot has a long toe on the left and an extension on the right. This extension is marked with eleven grooves spaced in small increments measuring 2mm apart. You can use this foot for stitching seam allowances of many different widths. Use a seam gauge to measure from the needle to one of the grooves to determine the distance for stitching. It is also very useful for accurate topstitching of single or multiple rows. You’ll see how useful the markings are when making this project.
- There are actually two versions of the “V” foot. Foot #1 on the left has grooves that are plain. Foot #2 on the right has grooves marked in red. This foot is also known as the Vertical Stitch Alignment foot and can be used for an additional special function designed for specific Brother machine models. When used in combination with a special edge-sewing sheet and the built-in camera function, this foot is used to sew edges with the machine automatically guiding the fabric.
Instructions for Making Napkins
- Attach foot V to the machine.
- Set up machine for sewing a straight stitch in the left needle position, using the default/standard stitch length of 2.5.
- Pin right sides of two coordinating squares of fabric together. Mark off a space measuring 5-inches long on one of the four sides to leave an opening for turning.
- Align raw edges of the fabric layers with the third groove from the left to sew a seam measuring slightly less than 3/8-inch. Begin sewing a few inches beyond one of the corners. Follow this process for corners that turn neatly when you are finished:
- As you approach the corner, change the stitch length to 2.0, pivot slightly and sew two stitches across the corner. Change back to a standard stitch length for the remainder of the seam but repeat this process on each of the four corners. See example in Figure #2.
- Press seams to set stitches. Clip each corner to eliminate bulk. See Figure #3.
- Turn right sides out through opening. Press all edges, carefully folding and pressing open edges so they are even.
- Change to a center needle straight stitch. Align the edge of the napkin with the second groove line from the left to edge stitch very close to finished edge of the napkin, stitching the opening closed in the process. See Figure #4.
- Stitch all around the napkin edge, pivoting at each corner. Next, align the edge of the napkin with the fifth groove line from the left to sew another perfectly spaced line of edge stitching. Notice how stitches are perfectly spaced approximately ¼-inch apart. See Figure #5. You are finished!
Options and Ideas:
Note: It is always best to test these stitches on fabric remnants that imitate you finished project.Tip for stitching corners with decorative stitches: It can be challenging to pivot corners with some decorative stitches. As an alternative to pivoting you can simply crisscross the stitches at each corner by stitching all the way to each end.
- Create an extra napkin to use for a centerpiece accent on your table.
- Use a solid color of coordinating fabric for one side of the napkin.
- Stitch several more rows of evenly spaced edge stitching for a more prominent topstitched effect.
- Consider using a decorative stitch along the edge of the napkin. When selecting a decorative stitch you will want to choose from stitches that normally use foot “J” these are generally open, airy stitches that will not require additional stabilizer on the two layers of cotton.