9.25.2013

For the table

My cloth napkin supply has been dwindling pretty much since the day I made them.   The girls like to use them for tea parties or blankets for their small stuffed animals and who knows what else.  The possibilities are endless, really.  And kind of like socks in the laundry, my napkins somehow disappear, never to be seen again.  It's been ages since I've used a complete set at dinner.  I hand out one of whatever we have (stripes for you, flowers for you, cupcakes for you, and fish for you!) and don't give it a second thought. Unless we have company.  Then I do the aforementioned handing out of mismatched napkins, only sheepishly.

It was time for another functional-but-not-particularly-fun sewing project.

linen napkins

It all started with this pin.  I'd like to say I was inspired by it, but who am I kidding?  I totally copied it.  There weren't a lot of creative juices flowing on this project.  Again, functionality over fun this time.

These really were a breeze to make.  I picked up the linen from Joanns.  I planned to cut 17" x 17'" squares for each napkin... mostly because that's as big as I could go with the yardage I had.  But since they aren't hemmed, that size seemed right.  I accidentally cut the first one an inch too short - 16" x 17" - just as Jude was asking 'when am I ever going to use this?!' while working through his math problems for the day.  I strive to take my teaching up a notch by providing real life examples.  ;)    Or my napkin was on the 33rd inch on my cutting mat and I miscalculated.  So 16" x17" it was!

linen napkins

I ordered four spools of each color thread through fabric.com.  I just bought regular thread (not serger thread) knowing I could use it for my sewing as well.  I had forgotten that you remove one of the needles when sergering a rolled hem, so I only needed three spools per color.  This might be a great time to say how much I love my serger.  Compared to other serger brands, it's relatively inexpensive.  But inexpensive is not to be confused with cheap.  This thing is a workhorse!  Dan bought it for me for Mother's Day over 4 years ago, and it's still going strong.  I've never had it maintenanced - Dan changed the knives for me once, but that's about it.  I just love it.  I'm always so thankful to have it.

linen napkins

I made a dozen napkins thinking that might be bordering on excessive.  I realized today when I was putting fray check on the serged corners that 12 napkins will get our family of six through two dinners.  And that's assuming we don't lose any.   Hmmm.  I might need more of these in my future, especially given my unpredictability in keeping up with my laundry.  And like our fiestaware (which has been amazingly durable!)  I think I could add colors based on the season... or a whim.  I like that, similar to our dinner ware, they don't have to be matchy-matchy.  In fact, not matching is part of what makes them work. 

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22 comments:

  1. They look beautiful. I love my serger too and have just worked out the rolled hem feature. I'd copy these directly as well and there's my mum's Christmas present sorted! :) Thanks Rachel!

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    1. you know, i hadn't actually thought about making them as a gift but that's brilliant! thanks for the idea! :)

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  2. That's a great, useful project. I could see how fun those would be with fiestaware. I don't know if I've told you, but we recently changed our chipped up plates for multicolored, non-matching fiestaware too. Love it!

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    1. you didn't tell me - that's great! i think you will be thrilled with how durable they are. they are the mason jars of dinnerware! my sister told me about them several years ago after we had two sets of dishes chip, crack and break after only a year or two. i think we've had them for three or four years now and they are still going strong - not a single chip or crack. perfect for the kids. we love them!

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  3. You make me want to learn how to sew! Much Love!

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    1. aleshia, you totally should! i'm almost finish with the pants for Holden and plan to send a little something special for E, too. hopefully i can get them in the mail on monday. fingers crossed! ;)

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  4. Love!

    Rachel, these are absolutely adorable. What an awesome idea!

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  5. These are gorgeous! I'd be too lazy to change the threads. Which is totally silly. Nice work!

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    1. oh i hear ya! i've left my serger threads on pink for probably years (!) now. it doesn't matter what i'm serging - all my seams are a very pale pink. and i'm debating whether or not i want to make any more napkins before rethreading. but it really doesn't take that long. it's one of those things - like winding a bobbin, that i just don't love doing. but once i do it i wonder why i dreaded it so much. :)

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  6. I am completely in love with this project. I love how they look so classic – but with a fun twist with the colored thread. Genius!
    I also love hearing how you used your serger to make the rolled edges. I have the same serger but I’ve been way too lazy to figure out all the other functions besides the most basic one. You may have inspired me to break open that user manual once again!

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    1. carolyn, it's so easy. i was going to check my settings and tell you exactly what i did, but iris set all of my tensions to 9. but yeah, really easy and a cute way to finish hems or sleeves on little girls wovens too!

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  7. These are fantastic!!! And, now I am totally wishing I had a serger! ;) so pretty!

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    1. thanks, jane. if you do a lot of garment sewing i would definitely recommend putting the serger on your wish list! :)

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  8. I love these! I have long wanted a serger...now i need one!

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  9. thanks, jodie! the serger is so handy, especially in garment sewing!

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  10. I so need to do this project. My kids would be like, "what are these?" I appreciate your appreciation of your serger. I have wavered for a long time, but I think I will finally ask or one for Christmas. Will you share your brand?

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  11. I so need to do this project. My kids would be like, "what are these?" I appreciate your appreciation of your serger. I have wavered for a long time, but I think I will finally ask or one for Christmas. Will you share your brand?

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  12. Never mind! I clicked on your link! That is a good price.

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    1. Oh good - I'm glad you found it. At almost $200, it is pricy but as far as sergers go, I think it's a good price compared to other brands and a good value for the machine that it is. :)

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  13. That's the same serger I have! The instructions read like they were written in Japanese, translated into German, and then dragged kicking and screaming into English, but other than that, I have no complaints! It's a great deal and a solid machine!

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    1. you know, it's funny you should mention that. i actually never looked at the manual. i think it was my mother-in-law who recommended i get a serger when i was brand new to sewing. she did a lot of garment sewing because their clothing options were limited in Liberia, maybe because of their financial situation, too, i'm not sure. dan bought the serger for me for mother's day and the instructional DVD was not compatible with our mac computers - it was windows only. so i enrolled in a class at a local quilt shop. the other ladies in the class were longtime seamstresses and i n t o it. i remember one saying she made her husband's "leisure suits". the other told me that i could start with skirts, grow in my skills as my kids grow and end up sewing my daughters' wedding dresses one day. i remember feeling really, really intimidated. :) anyway, they taught me how to use the serger and then the serger came with a handy little reference guide, which i use if i want to do anything 'fancy'. ;) but for the type of learner that i am, the class was really invaluable.

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