Foot of the Month: Cloth Napkins with Ribbon Trim

November 9, 2018By Joanne BankoDIY, Foot of the Month, Projects 3 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Cloth napkins add an elegant touch to your holiday table setting! You can add extra class to ready-made napkins by trimming edges with gold ribbon. It’s easy to sew ribbon to the edge using our featured Foot of the Month, the Brother Braiding foot.

Materials and Supplies:

Note: See Step #1 for required amount of ribbon for each napkin.

Instructions for Trimming Napkins

  1. Measure one edge of napkin, add 10-inches, and multiply times four. The resulting number equals the number of inches you need for ribbon trim on each napkin.
  2. Set machine for sewing with thread that coordinates with your ribbon. This example features metallic thread in the needle and standard thread in the bobbin. Before attaching foot to machine, insert ribbon into foot, leaving a 5-inch tail of ribbon behind the foot. Adjust opening on the foot to fit ribbon. See Figure #1.
Figure #1
Tips for using the Brother Braiding Foot: The Brother Braiding Foot has an adjustable slot that will hold ribbon, yarn, and cording up to 7mm wide. It’s always a good idea to test the trim before using it on your project. Insert trim over the top of the front plate, feed it into hole, and pull it towards the back of foot. Loosen screw on the left side and adjust opening until trim is snug but still flows easily through foot. You can experiment with a variety of stitches to couch trim with this foot. It’s best to use a stitch that skips from left to right and is fairly open. Adjust stitch width and length as needed and always test on a remnant of fabric before stitching on your actual project. This example features a stitch that is ideal for couching trim. See Figure #2.
Figure #2
  1. Sew ribbon from end to end on one side, taking care to tie off stitch at the beginning and the end. See Figure #3a and #3b.
Figure #3a
Figure #3b
Note: Notice how easy it is to sew with ribbon held firmly in the foot. When you reach the end leave a 5-inch tail of ribbon before cutting. See Figure #4.
Figure #4
  1. Repeat Step 3 for each side of napkin.
  2. Change to standard sewing foot. Tie ribbon in a simple knot or a bow. Use a straight stitch to stitch across the center and keep ties from becoming unraveled. See below:

  1. Trim ribbon ends to even them up and apply a small amount of seam sealant to the ends.

You are finished! Enjoy!


  • What a great way to dress up plain napkins. I appreciate the stitch # and settings which will save me time with stitch rehearsal. Now I know I need a braiding foot. Thanks for this very helpful tutorial, Joanne.

  • Hi Janice!
    Thank you for your kind comment! This is a simple way to dress up napkins for sure! I found the selected stitch to be “just right.” It skipped over the ribbon and tacked it down withought being to heavy. The braiding foot gets a ton of use in my sewing space, it’s one of my all time favorite feet 🙂

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