A Greener Christmas: Cloth Napkins (+ A Simple Tutorial)

November 28, 2018

A few years ago Dan and I were planning our wedding. We had a tiny budget so we had to keep costs down where we could. My mum offered to make the cloth napkins for our garden dinner party and they just looked perfect within that outdoor setting! Afterwards, they got distributed among our family and now we have a stack of them sitting in our cupboard. They come out every time we have dinner guests over.

Exchanging disposable items for reusable ones in your home makes such a difference. It’s often simpler than you think, yet it cuts down your waste for as long as you continue to use it.

One of those very simple things you can change is replacing your paper disposable napkins by cloth ones. They don’t only make your dinner table look so much more refined, they are lovelier to use and you won’t have to throw them away!

Having these cloth napkins meant I haven’t had to buy paper napkins for a couple of years now, and I might not have to ever again (maybe aside from the odd kids party). That seems like a small thing, but it is something to think about to counter the amount of paper napkins we use without thinking.

Best thing: they are so simple to make and very inexpensive.

You could obviously spent a little money and invest in some (like these pretty ones), but with a little bit of time you can make your own stack.

So here’s a little tutorial on how to make them. You can hardly call it a tutorial as it is a very easy project. It probably only takes you one hour to make about six of them. If you don’t know how to sew, or don’t know anyone (like your mum) who could help you with this, you could also make these frayed napkins.

So, here we go!


You will need:

  • fabric (see point 1)
  • scissors
  • iron
  • a sewing machine or needle and thread


1. Get yourself some lovely natural fabric & prewash.

I used unbleached cotton for that soft, natural look that looks great with any table setting. Linen looks amazing too (and if you like that rustic look you won’t need to iron them!). You could even use some old bedding or dishtowels if you want to be real creative.

2. Cut the fabric into the equal pieces.

You can go for rectangular or square napkins, and make them the size you like. I went for 40×40 cm’s (16 by 16 inch).

3. Fold the edge over twice and press down with an iron.

4. Sew the hemline down with a straight stitch. 

Et voila, that’s it, your own homemade napkins! These are great for any dinner party you may host, but also make a lovely homemade gift for Christmas.

Do you use any cloth napkins and have you made your own? Would you like to try this for the coming holidays? Let me know your thoughts!

This post is part of our ‘a greener Christmas’ series, which gives you some ideas and tips to make this holiday season that little more sustainable. Some simple changes can go a long way to reuse, reduce and create less waste. Check out our other posts on eco-friendly giftwrapping and wasting less food

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  • Reply Jolijn December 1, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Love it Eve!! So simple, yet it makes all the changes!

  • Reply Yanniek December 4, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Jaa, zo goed! en ook nog eens heel leuk om als home-made cadeautjes te geven 🙂

    • Reply Eveline December 5, 2018 at 10:48 am

      Yeah right? Nothing lovelier than a homemade gift for Christmas I think 🙂

  • Reply Paulina December 10, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Such a lovely idea for the family Christmas dinners! Will definitely be making these! Thank you!

    • Reply Eveline December 10, 2018 at 4:33 pm

      Ah, that’s lovely to hear! Let me know how they turn out!

  • Reply sadia January 27, 2022 at 12:38 am

    I am going to try it! Would love to know where that beautiful wooden cutlery is from! Thank you!

    • Reply Eveline January 27, 2022 at 8:04 pm

      Hi Sadia! Good luck, let me know how they work out. The wooden cutlery are thrift store finds 🙂

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