Sunday, 6 April 2008

Napkin set tutorial, part 2

This is the second part of the tutorial from my previous post, describing how to make a matching linen pouch for the napkin set.

PART 2: matching pouch

STEP 1: Cut out the following pieces:

from the natural linen fabric:
*2 rectangles of the natural linen fabric, each 11 inches by 8 inches for the pouch exterior

from the fabric used for the reverse of the napkins:
*2 rectangles, each measuring 11 inches by 8 inches for the lining
*1 rectangle of the fabric measuring 3.5 inches by 8 inches
*2 strips of fabric for the ties , each measuring 1.5 inches by 11 inches


Turn and iron a narrow hem (approx 1/3 inch) on the band for the middle of the pouch (rectangle measuring 3.5 by 8 inches).

Pin the band of cotton fabric horizontally along the centre of one of the linen rectangles, matching the edges and stitch in place using matching thread as close to the edge as possible, as shown.

STEP 3: make the ties for the pouch
Take one of the long strips of fabric for the pouch ties, fold in half horizontally and press with a steam iron. Then open it out and fold the two long edges in to meet the crease along the centre of the fabric, before folding it inwards again and ironing in place, as shown. Repeat for the other tie.

Take one of the ties and open it out again, turning in one of the short ends by approx 1/2 inch before folding it back together again so that you won't be left with raw ends at the top of your tie (the other end will not be on show, so don't worry about turning in the other end).

Take the tie and sew a line of stitching as close as possible to the edge, joining the two folded edges together. As you can see from the picture, this will catch in the short edge you folded in. Take a few back stitches at the end of the line of sewing to secure the ends.

Follow the same steps to make the second tie.

STEP 4: make the pouch exterior
Put the two rectangles of linen fabric right sides together, pin, and sew a 3/8 inch seam all the way round from the top right corner to the top left corner using co-ordinating thread, leaving the whole of the top section open. Take a few back stitches at each end to secure the line of stitching.

The wobbly white line marks the stitching line - if you click on the picture to enlarge it, you'll be able to see this more clearly.

STEP 5: making the lining for the pouch
Place the lining pieces right sides together and stitch a 3/8 inch seam, leaving the top open and a turning gap of approx 3 inches at the bottom as shown. Take a few back stitches at the beginning and end of each line of stitching to stop it from unravelling.

Again, follow the two wobbly white lines for the stitching lines.

STEP 6: sew together the pouch exterior and lining, catching in the ties at the top
Turn the exterior linen pouch pieces right side out, but leave the lining fabric wrong side out. Slip the lining fabric over the linen fabric so that the side seams and the top (open) edges are aligned. The turning gap you left in the lining pieces will be at the bottom.

Pin the exterior pouch and lining together all the way around the top opening, ensuring that the side seams match. Tuck in the two ties along the top edge, one in the middle of each side - the raw edges of the ties should be in line with the raw edges of the top of the pouch and the finished ties will lie inside the pouch. You can see this more clearly if you click on the image below to enlarge it.

Using the free arm on your machine, if you have one, stitch a 3/8 inch seam all the way around the top opening of the pouch pieces, sewing the lining and exterior pouch together and catching in the two ties.

Tip: as you can see from the picture above, I keep my right hand thumb on top of the fabric stretching it downwards slightly, while my index finger pushes the fabric up from underneath. This helps to ease the two layers of fabric (linen exterior and lining) together so that the layers don't shift and pucker as you sew.

STEP 7: finishing the pouch
Turn the pouch right side out through the turning gap you left in the bottom of the lining pieces, then tuck the lining inside the linen pouch. Iron the pouch, taking particular care with the top opening edges to give a nice crisp edge.

Again, using the free arm on your machine, stitch all the way around the top opening as close as possible to the edge of the fabric. (I've used the thread that matches the linen fabric here, but you could use a contrasting thread).

STEP 8: stitch the gap in the lining fabric closed
Pull the lining out of the pouch and pin the opening together, then topstitch the gap closed, as close to the edge as possible.

Tuck the lining back inside the pouch.

FINISHED! Just place your napkins, folded into quarters, inside the pouch and tie the ties in a pretty bow.


I hope you find this useful. It's been a real challenge to write this up as a tutorial - I had no idea how hard it was until I started! Please do let me know if anything is unclear, or if you find any mistakes! I'd love to know if anyone makes a napkin set with this tutorial too, so please do drop me a line (angharad44 [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk) if you have any photos to share!


  1. This is a great tutorial! Thank you. Very easy to understand :D

  2. EXCELLENT Tutorial! Really great details and your pictures are so true to life (you know, they look like what they really should look like, sometimes it is hard to tell on tutorials).

    I intend to make these for a nice birthday gift for friends. I like to do a little something and NONE of them sew.

    Well done!! And thank you.

  3. Brilliant Helen - really clear and easy to follow!
    Well done x

  4. Great tutorial! Really good pics to follow too.

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  7. ohh wow that is great....thank you for putting it up. My friend gave me a big bag of fabric so I'm going to have a play.

  8. Thanks so much for the kind comments, everyone!

  9. wonderful project and tutorial - great fabrics choice. can't wait to try.

  10. Thank you so much for the tutorial. You inspired me! I have some photos of my attempt on my blog. Hopefully my cutting in a straight line will improve with practice. :-/
    Thanks again!

  11. I found this tutorial a looong time ago and have put it off, put it off and put it off until now. I have 2 weddings 2 weekends in a row that I am making a table runner and matching napkins for. Thank you for this tutorial!!!!

  12. Thank u for sharing...the first time i read your blog about this tutorial i'm sure i can try it and yes this is my first project and i could make another napkin set for the nice gift for my friends..thank u very much :)

  13. Thank you for sharing this tutorial,this is my first project and i can finish it but still a bit messy,because im a beginner.. :)
    Thank you for the tutorial :)

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  15. Thanks for all the effort, love the idea of sewing a matching pouch for seasonal theme of napkins. Sewing this soon.

  16. Thanks, all! I would love to see a photo of your napkin sets when they're finished!

  17. This tutorial is great! I wanted to make something for my family for Christmas and your tutorial made it easy. I have made 7 sets for my family! Thanks for the great instructions and awesome pictures. I emailed you a picture of 4 of my sets.


Hi and thanks for stopping to leave a comment on my blog. I love hearing from everyone! I always try to respond to comments by email or visit your blog, but sometimes blogger doesn't provide me with these details, so you can always email me at angharadhandmade {@} gmail . com

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