Holiday Sewing : Simple Cocktail Napkin Recipe


In years past I have been bitten by the holiday knitting bug.  I felt inspired and excited to knit gifts for family, teachers, child care providers, and friends.  This year, that feeling isn’t there.  I’m pretty focused on knitting for baby and will soon be starting on G’s birthday sweater.

What I have been inspired to do is sew.  Oh, those cheerful holiday fabrics grabbed me this year!  After spending some time on Pinterest looking for simple sewing ideas, I had a list of projects and hit the fabric store.  I had this retro ornament fabric from a similar spree last year, and needed to find a coordinating fabric.  I couldn’t help it if I left with 2 more holiday prints and fabric to make a skirt!

I’m discovering that my favorite part about sewing is choosing a project and picking out fabrics.  I’m not great at cutting out pieces of fabric.  Sometimes my seams are a little wonky.  And I don’t care!  Those technical skills are slowly building with each project, and I am being very gentle with myself as I learn.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be fun.

Here’s my take on a simple cocktail napkin that you can keep or give as gifts.  Play with fun fabric combinations.  Get crazy with that top-stitching design.  Have fun!

Holiday Cocktail Napkin Recipe


1/2 yard festive holiday print cotton fabric ( 41 inches wide x 18 inches tall)

1/2 yard coordinating solid or smaller print cotton fabric

Matching thread

The usual sewing basics: sharp fabric scissors, ruler, measuring tape

Nice if you have them: rotary cutter, cutting mat, a template for your napkin (see below)


Start with washing and pressing your fabric.  Ironing makes such a big difference in the quality of the finished piece.  I find it kind of relaxing and enjoy transforming the fabric or seam into a crisp-looking piece. (I rarely iron my clothes, though!)

Cut out 8 rectangles from each of your two fabrics that are 10 inches wide and 9 inches tall.  It would be handy to make a template for yourself out of cardboard to speed this up. (I like to use cereal boxes)

With right sides facing, sew your main print and coordinating fabric together with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.  Leave a 2 inch opening along the center of one side.

Snip the corners and turn the piece inside out.  Use a pencil, knitting needle, chopstick, or other not-too-pointy gadget to make the corners pop out.



Knitting needles: a multipurpose tool!


Press the seams to flatten. Tuck the edges of your opening under to line up with the seams and press.

With a coordinating thread, topstitch as close to the edge of the napkin as possible. This will close up the gap you left before.

Move one inch in from the first top-stitched seam and sew another decorative border.

Snip threads and repeat on your other napkins!

I folded my napkins in half lengthwise and pressed them to make a pretty stack. Wrap with a ribbon or some yarn, and these are ready to go as a gift!

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This is a super simple project, one that even a newbie like me could do easily and well.  I plan on keeping this set for our family and making more to give as hostess gifts at holiday parties this season.

Are you making any holiday gifts this season?