Fringed Thanksgiving Napkins

Every year when my friends and I get together for Thanksgiving I make handmade napkins.  This year I collaborated with Page and Joelle to create napkins which coordinate with our Thanksgiving Table Appliqued + Quilted Runner.  Enjoy! --Molly


Napkin Fabric

2 yards Globalweave - Linen Blend Solids, Latte

The following instructions are to make 10 napkins but you would have enough fabric to make 12 if you'd like.

We also recommend using Robert Kaufman - Essex, but please note, if you decide to use this fabric you will need 2 1/2 yards for 10 napkins.

Applique Fabric

1/4 yards of of 9 different fabrics

(If you are making the Thanksgiving Table Quilted Runner in addition to the Fringed Napkins you will have enough fabric for the appliques for both projects).

We used from top to bottom and left to right:


(if you are making the runner in addition to the Fringed Napkins, you will have enough thread for both projects if you get two of the contrast thread).


(If you are making the Thanksgiving Table Quilted Runner in addition to the Fringed Napkins you will have enough interfacing for both projects if you get 2 yards of interfacing)

Cut Fabrics

From the Globalweave Linen Blend:

  • Cut ten 18-inch squares. It's best to do this with a rotary cutter, if possible try to cut them on the grain, which will make the next step easier. (If you need guidance using a rotary cutter, please visit our Rotary Cutter Tutorial). Since this fabric is wide you should be able to get 3 squares from the width of the fabric. (If you choose to use the Kaufman Essex fabric instead, you can get 2 squares from the width).

From the Applique fabric

(Use each fabric at least once. Use two of your favorites twice):

  • Five 2 1/2-inch squares
  • Five 3 1/2-inch squares

From the Interfacing

  • Five 2 1/2-inch squares
  • Five 3 1/2-inch squares

Put all the small squares aside.

Make Fringe

Pull a thread out from one edge of the napkin fabric. Make sure you pull it out the entire length. The more on-grain you cut the fabric the quicker this will go.

Keep pulling the threads from one side until you have roughly 3/8-inch of fringe. I have found it much more effective to pull them one by one rather than trying to pull several at a time because they get tangled.

Repeat along each side.

If the 18 x 18-inch piece of fabric is cut dramatically off grain you will have to pull a lot of threads to get at least 3/8-inch at every point. But don't worry if your fringe is uneven, you will trim it later.

Once you've pulled all four sides of the square, trim the fringe to a uniform 3/8-inch long. I used my rotary cutter for a precise cut.

Repeat for all of the 18 x 18-inch pieces.

Sew Edges

Using the contrasting thread sew all the way around the napkin fabric right at the edge of the fringe as shown above. Use a small stitch length and back stitch at the beginning and end of your seam. Sew all the way around the edge. When you come to a corner leave the needle in the fabric and lift up the foot, rearrange the fabric so that the next side is properly aligned to be sewn, lower the foot and continue on.

Repeat for all 10 napkins.


For complete instructions on creating and stitching your applique, visit our Thanksgiving Table Appliqued + Quilted Runner Project Journal (you'll find instructions for the Applique about half-way down the page).

Stitch your applique patches approximately 1 1/2 to 2-inches from the corner of the napkins.

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4 Responses to Fringed Thanksgiving Napkins

  1. jill says:

    i love the idea of having stacks of napkins lying around from all of the past holidays. what a great idea. useful memories.

    i am actually too much of a lazybones to make these myself, but if i did, i would consider making that patch square a tiny pocket, so you could slide a namecard in, or a tiny pinecone, or some other goodie or trinket. or you could make it a bit bigger and stick your silverware in it. so useful…

  2. Maren says:

    Being a bit of a lazybones myself, I was suggest cutting the fabric a little bigger and then pre-washing it, because the fringe sort of naturally gets to the desired length, and it didn’t get too tangled up. Just a little shortcut!

  3. Diane says:

    is it necessary to sew the edges? I want to make with my cub scouts and they can't sew! would it fray too much, or is there a no-sew option, like using fray edge glue? thanks

  4. purl bee says:

    Hi Diane-

    For a cub scout project I don't think it would be strictly necessary. Just make sure to use a fabric like the one featured above that is woven on grain. I don't think you'd need to use glue but perhaps you might want to fray them a bit further.

    Thanks for the question!

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