Making cloth napkins with a rolled hem - a DIY project

I am completely addicted to cloth napkins, I like seeing them, using them and making them.  I showed some I made for October’s book club but I decided I needed to up my game.  If you look at the napkins from October, I just cut the fabric into 18″ squares, pressed the edges twice and stitched them down.  How about if I learned how to create a rolled hem?  Yes, fancy, I know!  I have this swanky Bernina machine and there is a foot for everything and sure enough, there was one for making a rolled hem.  I bought Pressure Foot #64 and thought done.  Or not!  I had to learn how to use it.

First then I did was look for a video on Youtube because the directions with the foot were brief and pretty unhelpful.  I looked at a couple videos and this the the one I liked the most.

Then I decided to go for it.  I only needed 8 napkins and I had a lot of fabric so I decided to make these 20″ square.  I usually npare2do 18″ so I can get 4 per yard.  But the 20 inch feel a bit more decadent and luxurious.

I cut off the raggedy ends and the selvages.  I used my 12 1/2″ square and my rotary cutter.

Be careful with the cutter, I  cut myself badly once!napre4

Then I cut the fabric into five 20 inch wide sections.

Each section I then cut off the little bit extra in order to create two 20″ squares per section.

Now I was almost ready to start using my nifty new foot.  Here is the little beauty.


Step One:

Fold the edge of the fabric over twice ( you create a mini rolled hem) and sew it down like it’s a normal foot.  napre8

Step Two:

Lift the foot and do not clip the threads.  Slip the folded fabric over the little roll in the middle of the foot.  This is the trickiest part.  I practiced this on a bunch of scraps before I did the napkins.


Step Three:

Gently ease the foot down keeping the rolled edge over the roll of the foot.  Make sure the fabric is straight.


Step four:

Sew the edge, making sure the edge doesn’t slip out.  Have the fabric pulled a bit left.  Here is one of my practice scraps.


The only tricky thing is the corners, you may have to slip them off and do them like you do the start.  But if you keep at it, soon you will have ten really nice napkins!


These beauties joined all their friends in my napkin cabinet!


I am happy these are finished as my Pride and Prejudice book club is Sunday and I want these hydrangea napkins to be part of the garden party theme.  I happen to already have a Hydrangea apron and two table toppers made by a friend.  I hope I can still get some fresh hydrangeas for the table then.  I will post how it all turns out!

Learning something new in sewing or reading a classic novel; both are good for your brain and keep you sharp. Plus, don’t you just love learning new things?

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

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