Mitered-Corner Cloth Napkins

A few weeks ago we celebrated the impending birth of my friend Brookes’ first baby. It was a beautiful shower filled with touching stories, good advice and lots of fun baby and pregnancy photos of all the guests. The decor was simple and lovely. It included a set of cloth napkins that we made together and this gorgeous arrangement of ribbons and silk orchids hanging form the chandelier. Isn’t it effortlessly chic? I can say that because all I did was the sewing.

Brookes and I assembly-lined the set of 8 napkins in two short evenings. It’s so nice to have a shower decoration that you can keep (and use) forever, don’t you think? Maybe she will even give them to her beautiful brand new daughter some day. Here’s how we made these mitered-corner napkins.

1. First we cut squares from our washed/ironed fabric. We went with 22″ squares to get the max width out of our 44″ Patricia Bravo Modern Affair Flirty Dance Lime fabric from Fabricworm. Wouldn’t this {on sale!} fabric be pretty too? You can make your napkins slightly smaller and play with the hem width as well.

2. Iron all edges 1/4-1/2″ hem and then 1/2-1″ again. I did 1/2″ and 1″

3. Unfold the second hem.

4. Fold the second hem over and make a small mark where the corner hits on the other side. You can see the bright turquoise dot I made with my disappearing ink.

5. repeat by folding the other way and marking.

6. Repeat with all corners and open back up to single hem.

7. Fold corner back right-side-facing so that the dots that you just made touch and pin.

8. Make a line (or row of dots works too!) from the intersection of the 1″ hem to the dots you just made along the outer edge. See it? Right there? Repeat all corners.

8. Sew along that line. Repeat on all.

9. Trim off corner leaving 1/8-1/4″. Repeat all.

10. Reverse corners out. Use point to get the corners nice and sharp.

11. Sew hem down all the way around. Keep needle down at corner for turning. Start and end with a few back-stitches.

Make a bunch more! Who doesn’t love cloth napkins in a pretty spring fabric.




Thanks for posting this great technique. I've been wanting to make some more napkins as the first ones I tried ended up too small with sloppy corners – and got pink-ified on their first trip through the wash. Any tips on fabric selection? I used quilting fabric (100% cotton) for those napkins, and they don't absorb much at all. Thanks!


I love how you decorated the chandelier with ribbons and silk flowers. I especially like how the ribbons reach the table top. I'm going to share this idea with my daughter so that she can use it for my granddaughters birthday. Also, thanks for the tutorial on making the cloth napkins. The info on sewing mitered corners will come in handy on many different projects.


I always use quilting cotton for my cloth napkins. The patterns are irresistible for me, so pretty if not absorbent. Dish towels on the other hand, I'm very picky about. And potholder. Maybe you could do a terrycloth corner inside!?!


great way to get the corners neat and tidy! Best idea I've seen yet for how to get mitered corners! I'll now be adding cloth napkins to my "to sew" list (which is already a mile long). pinning.

Sylvie Crative - Crations Ma Dco Maison

What a dream to eat in a such charmful table!


I love how simple and beautiful these are! I have been wanting to make a set of cloth napkins forever and have never gotten around to doing it. These would also make a fabulous wedding shower/housewarming gift.


I just made cloth napkins last week! It was one of my first sewing projects. I did my mitered corners a bit differently, but it looks your method might be a bit neater. I love your fabric choice! Well done!


I think I want to try this on a larger scale for a baby blanket. Do you think it would work? I'm thinking I would just cut an extra layer of fabric to sandwich in, under the border. I'm going to give it a try! What kind of fabric should I use? Maybe flannel??


Rachel-That sounds great! Maybe add a few stitches in the middle, like a quilt, to hold the layers together. But not necessary.

Terri Ann

Mitered corners are just so lovely but I've always had a hard time with them. Me and bias tape also have issues because of corners. Your tutorial is wonderful though – makes me want to give it a go again!

I'd even consider lining the back (under the border) with a nice solid so you don't have to see the ugly side of the fabric.

Carol F

Great tutorial! My question is how do you keep the edges from rolling up after washing/drying? I've washed/dried my set about a dozen times and the edges still roll up. Grr! (I'm just too lazy to iron!)


Great tutorial, found you through Pinterest. I am curious about your answer for Carol F. “how do you keep the edges from rolling up after washing/drying?” Thanks!


Thank you SO much for this tutorial!! I’ve been looking for simple clear instructions on mitered corners. This is such a well done tutorial, and an easy to do technique. I’m going to use the technique to make a baby blanket for a friend.


Awesome tutuorial. Worked even for a novice like me. Most important thing I found was making sure that second set of presses was very crisp. Made drawing the line for the mitered corner much easier.


I know you posted this ages ago, but I just wanted to thank you for this tutorial. I was getting very frustrated with diagrams in books, and even YouTube videos didn’t help. With your instructions and pictures, I mitered 4 corners in a row perfectly on the first try. Thanks!


Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial. Ive been hooked on the idea of making my own napkins for a while now and some of the other methods and visuals weren’t clear enough for me but this helped so much and they turned out great. Everyone will be getting cloth napkins as gifts now :)


I just used this tonight to make some new dish towels. They turned out great :) Thanks for such a thorough tutorial w/ so many photos!


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