How To: Cloth Napkins

This is a very simple, eco-friendly project.  Cloth napkins would make a great addition to a kitchen and dining inspired gift.  Add a set of napkins to a set of pretty dishes and it’s a great, usable gift. 

To make a set of napkins, pick a pretty quilting or linen type fabric.  To get 4 napkins, buy 1 square yard of fabric.  Cut into 18 inch squares.  Fold opposite sides in about 1/2 inch.  Iron to make a nice crease.  Then, fold the other sides in 1/2 inch or so, ironing to crease. 

Fold opposites over again and press to crease.  Pin in place to hold the shape.  Iron opposite sides again and pin.

Set your sewing machine to a close straight stitch.  Allign the edge of your presser foot with the edge of the napkin and sew.  When you reach a corner, keep the needle down, raise the presser foot and turn 90°.  Continue sewing until each napkin is complete.

Herringbone Pattern Pillow

While the boys and I were wandering the aisles of Target, I spotted this beautiful Fieldcrest pillow.

The only color Target carries is this grey, and we don’t have much, if any, grey in our house.  After inspecting it for a few minutes, I felt confident that I could create something similar.  Luckily, Joann Fabric is within walking distance of Target, so that was our next stop.  I bought a relatively thick light blue fabric on clearance, then we went home and got to work. 

To make a herring bone textured pillow, you’ll need:

Fabric, at least two and a half times as much as the pillow size you want. 


An iron

Pillow stuffing or a pillow form


Hem tape

To make the pillow, first, cut strips of fabric into rough 4 inch wide pieces.  I made strips that were the entire length of my two yard piece.  Cut several strips, then fold in half and iron to create a nice, straight edge.  I chose to add hem tape, just to make sure things couldn’t move around when I started sewing.   

Once you have your strips pressed, cut a piece of fabric one inch larger than the desired finished pillow size; this is the backing piece you will sew your strips to.  Fold in half or measure to find the center of the fabric.  Mark with a pen or pencil. 

Now you’re ready to start cutting, pinning and sewing.  Place the first strip of fabric at a 45 degree angle from your center line.  Trim the end to match the edge of the pillow.  You don’t have to do this, but it will help keep everything straight.  Pin in place.  Place another strip over the top of the first piece, but make a 90 degree angle.  Cut the bottom piece at the end of the one on top.  You will sew over it, but you don’t want the pieces to be short. 

Keep overlapping pieces, pinning in place.  I would suggest doing a few at a time, then remove and sew into place.  Allign the edge of your presser foot with the folded edge of the strip and sew one at a time.  Make sure your pattern stays straight and your pieces are overlapping in the same order.

Repeat until you reach the other end. 

Follow this tutorial to create an envelope closure, then stuff and enjoy!

To see other pillow ideas, check out this felt circle pillow cover I recently shared or these inspiration ideas from Etsy.

How To: Felt Leaf Bowls

Last week, I shared a  few simple tablescapes, one of which included a set of felt leaf bowls.  I promised to share more about the bowls, so here I am.  Martha told me about this great DIY project.  When I say told, I mean her website suggested I look at these felt and tweed oak leaf bowls.  I printed the template on cardstock and bought a variety of felt and tweed. 

I thought I had purchased the right fusible interface, but I didn’t.  I took a trip to Hobby Lobby and asked for a little help to make sure I had the right interface.  What the woman suggested was “Wonder Under.”  Basically, it’s a sheet of iron on hem tape. One side is rough and the other side is covered in smooth paper.  Perfect for the job. 

I followed Ms. Martha’s instructions, but here are a few photos to help you along.  First, place the interface rough side down on the wrong side (the back) of the tweed square.  Press for 5 to 10 seconds, move the iron to overlap slightly and press again.  Do this until your entire square is fused.  Then, trace the oak leaf pattern on the paper side of the interface.  You don’t have to be precise with the tracing.  You could even make your own leaf pattern, just add the darts. 

Once you’ve traced the oak leaf, cut the design out.  Remove paper backing and place on the felt square.  Cover with a damp cloth and press for 10 to 15 seconds, or until fused with the felt. 

Cut around the tweed leaf design, getting as close as possible. 

One more step, sewing the darted areas.  I overlapped the backs of my pattern to make a deeper bowl, but Martha suggest sewing with a zig zag stitch without overlapping the fabric. 

I may make another set of shallower bowls, but I like how these look, so I may not.

What do you think?  Anyone going to give these a try?

Pillow Talk

Yesterday, I shared a felt circle pillow that tickled my fancy.  After looking at the picture for a few minutes, lusting after it, I realized it would be pretty simple to recreate the look.  I remembered that I had a few yards of a similar yellow colored felt that I bought on clearance last year, so I used that. 

First, I determined the size of my pillow.  I knew I wanted a rectangle, so I cut my piece of felt to a 12 1/2 inch by 18 1/2 inch rectangle.  Using a spool of ribbon, I traced a circle on to the felt and cut it out.  This circle was my template for every single circle to follow.  Why, you ask?  Because, dear reader, both sides of the circle are visible and I didn’t want pen lines all over.  That, and I don’t have a disappearing ink pen.  If you do, you could use that.  Because I didn’t, I pinned my template to the felt and cut one circle at a time, like this.

After cutting roughly 120 to 150 circles, I started sewing.  First, fold the felt in half to get a rough cross-section.  Pin the circle in place and sew straight across the center, in whatever direction you’d like.  Place the next circle close to the first and sew it in the center, going a different direction.  Continue placing and sewing the circles one at a time until you’ve covered the front.  There will be a few gaps between the circles, but it’s not a big deal.  Try to get most of the circles close together. 

Here’s a tip: Start from the center of the pillow and work your way toward the edges.  Once you’ve added many circles, there’s a lot of fabric and it becomes difficult to reach the center.  I learned this the hard way. 

Here’s another tip:  Keep 1/2 inch perimeter without circles, for your seam allowance.  Then, pin any loose ends toward the center of the pillow before you sew the back on.  This will prevent edges from getting sewn where you don’t want. 

For the back, I cut two  12 1/2 inch high by 12 inch wide pieces of scrap white cotton to make the back.  The process is very similar to this envelope closure pillow.  The only difference is it’s not all one piece.  Start by folding and pinning the short edge.  Fold over and pin again, then sew the along the edge for a nice, clean seam.  Once both edges are sewn, place the pillow front face up.  Add one of the back pieces to meet the edges of the front, face down.  Pin in place.  Add the second piece, keeping a few inches of overlap and pin, face down.  Sew all four edges and cut the corners.  Turn right side out, stuff with a pillow form and enjoy your work. 

 Wondering where the cable knit pillow came from?  I made that from an old sweater.  Follow the instructions above, substituting the felt circle front for a chunky knit sweater and voila!  Instant fall and winter warmth without a hefty price tag.  While we’re on the topic of pillows, check out this one for our theater room.

We’ve decided to add pops of yellow to our windowless theater room to brighten up and bring life to the space.  It also doubles as a great fall color, but can be used year round, bonus! 

Have you started any fall decorating?  What do you think is the best or quickest or easiest or all the above way to inject seasonal accents to seamlessly blend with the rest of the decor?