DIY Reversible Cloth Placemats & Napkins

September 7, 2011

I have a serious affection for nice linens on a tabletop, they’re just the easiest way to add a touch of comfort and elegance to any table setting, from formal to casual.  I have several sets of placemats and cloth napkins that I’ve acquired over the years and keep in a linen closet, but I’ve never actually made any for myself, can you believe it?

I’ve always wanted to, so when I was sent a few yards of pretty gray floral and stripe Cabbages & Roses fabric (thank you Lily!) I decided this was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at making my own.  Sew glad I did (hardy har!) because it couldn’t be easier.

reversible cloth placemat napkin cg


With one yard of cotton in each fabric, you can make four napkins or four placemats. If you can sew a straight line, you can easily make your own beautiful sets of reversible cotton or cloth napkins and placemats for any season, and for less than you’d pay at most retail shops.

how to sew reversible cotton placemats and napkins


How To Make Reversible Cloth/Cotton Napkins & Placemats

1.  With cotton it’s a good idea to wash your fabric first before sewing. For each napkin, cut two squares of complementary fabric at 18” inches on all sides.  For placemats, cut your fabric at 18” by 22” to form a rectangle.

18 inches


2.  Like you would with a pillow cover, lay both sides of the fabric down with the patterns facing each other then pin all around.

inside out facing each other


3.   Sew edges all around with ½ inch seam allowance, but leave a 2 inch opening on one side.  Trim excess.

trim excess


4.   Pull fabric right side out of 2 inch opening to reveal both patterns.

pull fabric through


5.  Press placemat/napkin flat with a hot iron to remove wrinkles.  Flatten the seams and the 2 inch portion that still remains open.

press opening seam


6.  Return to the sewing machine and sew the 2 inch opening shut along the edge.

sew opening shut


7.  Continue seam around entire edge of napkin or placemat for a clean look, and also to assist keeping all sides together and making it easier to iron once it comes through the wash.

sew seam around edges


This is an easy afternoon project that gives you a custom look for your tabletop.  You can also make cocktail napkins or fabric coasters using the same method.  These also are a great gift idea for a friend, family member, host or hostess . . .

reversible napkin placemat cg


Bonus, you can pull a switcheroo, and reverse the patterns.

stripe side up placemat cg


For the cost of two yards of fabric, you can make yourself four napkins or four placemats. Since you can find so many cotton fabrics for under $5 a yard at many fabric stores, you could easily make four reversible napkins or four reversible placemats in your pattern of choice for under $10.

Easy, elegant, and inexpensive too.

reversible cotton napkins placemats cg

BTW, that chunky wood bowl filled with pears is from Kohl’s – I found it there for $15 earlier this summer, love it!  If your looking to buy the same fabric, find a local store by looking here.

Speaking of pears, oh my word I’m so in the mood for this spiced pear cake.  And I can’t wait to savor those mission figs too, perhaps with good cheese and local honey?  Anyone have any good fig recipes?



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