Recently I made some napkins. These first ones were made with a kit composed of four fat quarters that I trimmed down slightly. I got the kit from Beehive Sewing, which comes with a nice template and a good video that helps with the procedure.
Napkins are not particularly difficult. There’s a snipping of the corners, a lot of fiddly bits with trying to get four or six pieces of fabric to all be about the same size, and similar challenges. But it can be done, and rather easily.
The second set of napkins didn’t go so easily.
At its heart, the method of making mitered corners that don’t unfold involves clipping each corner and sewing it, and then flipping the stitch inside-out and folding it down at the correct angle, and then doing the same along the sides (flip, fold, press). I’m not explaining this very well, but it looks beautiful when it’s well-done. When it’s not well-done, it looks terrible.
It also looks terrible when the sewing machine nears the end of a poorly-threaded bobbin or the end of a short spool of thread. I had a lot of difficulty with the stitching on these napkins. The result was that out of these six napkins, most of them don’t look quite right. They’re also smaller than the first set, which was cut to 20″x20″, and folded down to 19″x19″. This second set started out at 18″x18″ and folded down to about 16″x16″ somehow. That extra four inches of size/shape turned out to be pretty important for making it feel like a dinner napkin — but I don’t have a cutting surface large enough to do 20×20 without mistakes.
So, I’m not happy with my second set of napkins. But at least I have some clarity about what I’m doing wrong.