DIY embroidered cloth napkins

Cloth napkins are a small luxury that everyone can enjoy and are less harmful to the planet.  Not just for laps, I like to use them to line our serving baskets when we're serving bread or other baked goods.
An easy way to dress up a plain set of napkins is to add a small embroidered design to the corner.  Seasonal "symbols" such as a heart for Valentine's Day or a baby chick for Easter are subtle simple designs yet give your table a special handmade touch.  This simple project is perfect for children to try and they make wonderful handmade gifts for Grandparents, family and friends!

You need:
cloth napkins (I used cotton)
embroidery thread (also cotton)
small sharp scissors (for trimming thread)
iron (for pressing)

The first step is to draw or trace an image of what you want to embroider.   I use a pencil to do this.  Another option for more detailed patterns is to purchase iron on embroidery patterns from your local craft store or there are many sources of free patterns online.

Put the cloth into the embroidery hoop and select the thread colours that you would like to use.
  If you have never embroidered before then I recommend Mary Corbet's Needle'n Thread website for excellent video instruction.  I find that I learn so much faster when I can see someone do it rather than looking at a still photograph.  I found the following book useful as well.

When you have finished your design take the napkin out of the hoop and press with an iron.

This design was done using only three basic stitches.  For the wings I used a backstitch with 6 strands of thread, for the body I used a series of straight stitches back and forth with 6 strands, the tail is done with a line of french knots, and the inside of the wings is a straight stitch with 1 thread.  To make a set of four napkins took me one evening.

For more embroidery inspiration visit my
I should also mention that I always wash my embroidered napkins by hand in the sink.  Partly because I think the washer is too rough on my delicate handwork and partly because I like the process of hand washing them and then ironing them afterwards!

This set of napkins is going to be wrapped up for a friend's birthday gift, I hope she enjoys them as much as I enjoyed making them!
If you have some embroidery work to share please leave a link, I love to add new ideas to my Pinterest page!
~ joey ~

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  1. I love those napkins.

  2. I have a bit of a thing about dragonflies, and embroidery, so there is no way your beautiful napkins could fail. They are lovely, and the embroidery website you recommend is very good. I have bookmarked it.

  3. Your napkins are beautiful, I grew up with hand embroidered handkerchiefs from my mother, and love to embroider. This would be a wonderful project!

  4. I love the dragonfly! It's super cute.

  5. I love the ideas in this post - I have never thought of adding embellishment to ready-made clothes. What a great way to brighten up some of my old clothes. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Your blog is great. I would love to talk about this topic whole day..I shared it with my valuable friends . I like the way you are managing , I will be in touch . . .


I really enjoy reading your thoughts and ideas about the posts that I write here. It's nice to just say hi too!
~ joey ~