Dishtowels to Napkins

Is it cold at your house?  It has been freezing here.  Literally, freezing.  I’ll be honest- I’m sick of it.  It has been rainy and gloomy, and trying to keep up with my running has been brutal.

We hosted dinner last night for our brothers and sisters.  We had a great time talking and playing games.  When we were planning the menu I knew I wanted something warm and spicy. Because I am that tired of cold weather. Tacos and quesadillas were an obvious choice for dinner.  And, molten lava cake was equally obvious for dessert.

For the table setting, I knew I wanted something rustic and warm and not too fussy.  I stumbled upon these dishtowels at TJ Maxx a few days ago.  They’re rustic and warm, but they’re dish towels.  How was I going to incorporate that into our table setting?

dish towels

Surely, I thought, I could make these into napkins.  I did a little research and found this tutorial on turning cloth dishtowels into napkins.  The author is totally right.  This is so easy, and if you already sew you could probably figure this out on your own. But, if you’re like me and rarely sew and don’t have the time to figure this out on your own, I’ve included some directions you can use for now.

To start, you’ll need a dishtowel, needles, an iron, ruler, coordinating thread, and a sewing machine.  If you don’t have a sewing machine, you could easily use adhesive hem tape. There’s no judgment in that.

dish towel tutorial

Lay the dishtowel flat and find the center.  There’s usually a good crease in the center from being folded.

If your crease is not in the center, fold the towel in half to find the true center.  Then, rake your thumb nail over the length of the fold.  This technique, called finger pressing, keeps you from using the iron when you don’t have to use it.  It practically irons the napkin and makes a very strong crease in the middle.

I’ve marked the crease for you with a needle.

dish towel center

Cut the towel into two halves along the center crease.


Y’all, I seriously loved this pattern and that fringe.  It’s like a Turkish bath towel, but for dishes!

Now, that you’ve got two halves, you can start creating the hem.  I used the ruler and measured the existing hem of the napkin.  I didn’t want a tiny hem on two sides and a huge hem on the other.  My hem was half an inch.

I folded over the raw edge a quarter of an inch and pinned it down.

dish towel first fold

Then, I folded it another quarter of an inch to make a half inch hem. I removed the pins from the first fold and used them to hold the second fold.

dish towel second fold

You certainly don’t have to pin the edge.  Once you get the hang of this, pinning will probably feel like overkill.  But it helps me show you what I did and  it helped me have a nice, clean hem.  If you prefer, you can only pin the second fold.

Once your hem is folded, iron the hem down. Then, sew the hem in a straight line using thread of a coordinating color.

And, voila!  You’ll have a stack of beautiful napkins!


It took me a little over an hour to make six napkins.  Full disclosure, that time does not include time spent unraveling the massive knot I made in the bobbin of thread. Just being honest.


I really love these napkins, and there’s lots of ways you can use them in your table setting.

On top of your plate.


As part of a buffet.


Or even as a placemat!

dish towel place mat

I took a pretty straightforward approach with our table setting last night.


I wanted everything to feel warm.  Did I tell you that I’m sick of the cold weather? Sick of it. Instead of flowers, I used candles for a little added warmth.


The whole table was so inviting and warm!


We had a great dinner and enjoyed our time together!  A good time was had by all!


I hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend!

Later, I’ll share the recipe we used for the molten lava cake!  You’re definitely going to want to  come back for that.


4 thoughts on “Dishtowels to Napkins

  1. Pingback: Molten.Lava.Cake. Make it now! | Mim and Olive

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