Since 2006 it’s been my Thanksgiving tradition to design a festive set of dinner napkins. (Browse the archive here!) The inspiration for this year’s napkins came from an unlikely place: 35,000 feet in the air!
You see, my husband travels a lot for his job, and that means we usually get upgraded when we fly together. He’s pretty used to it, but I’m still super excited each time it happens, marveling at the free packets of socks and the pre-takeoff champagne. Recently, on one such flight, our dinner arrived (complete with metal cutlery, actual glassware, and tiny salt and pepper shakers!), and I looked over to see that Rafael had somehow attached the cloth napkin to his shirt.
“How is your napkin staying up like that?” I asked.
“Oh, the napkins have buttonholes,” he said, nonchalantly. My mind was blown. How had I never heard of this before? I knew what I’d be doing when we got home!
These pretty Buttonhole Napkins are perfect for Thanksgiving because not only are they beautiful and seasonal, but no one will go home with gravy stains on their fancy duds! I used our very special new Liberty Half Yard Napkin Bundle in the “Cranberry” colorway which contains six gorgeously detailed prints in a rich palette of russets, purples, and browns. (The bundle also comes in a “Woodland” coloway in cooler, greener hues.) And for fun, I finished each napkin off with hot pink topstitching and buttonholes!
- 6 different half yard pieces of Liberty of London Tana Lawn Classics. (The Liberty of London Tana Lawn Seasonals would also work just as well!)
- 3-yards of Kona Cotton in Natural
- 100% Cotton Thread in color 5980 for contrast and color 1040 to match the Kona Cotton.
I also used these great new buttonhole scissors from Merchant and Mills!
If you’re making a different amount of napkins, you will get 2 napkins per 1/2 yard of outer and lining fabric.
Before you begin, keep in mind that this is the kind of project that goes a lot faster if you do it asembly-line style.
Cut each of the 1/2-yards of Tana Lawn into two 17-inch squares. You will have twelve total squares.
Cut twelve 17-inch squares from the Kona Cotton.
Pin each Tana Lawn square to a Kona Cotton square, right sides together.
Using the neutral colored thread sew the squares together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance around all four sides, leaving a 3-inch unsewn gap in the middle of one side. Snip off the corners.
Turn each square right sides out through the gap and poke the corners out.
Press the napkins flat and pin the Kona Cotton layer to the Tana Lawn layer along all four sides of the square thus pinning the gap closed.
Using the contrasting thread edge stitch around all four sides thus closing the unsewn gap.
Using the contrasting thread sew a 3/4-inch buttonhole vertically at the corner of each napkin. Cut open the buttonhole using the buttonhole scissors.
My machine, which I highly recommend, has an automatic buttonholer where you enter the buttonhole size digitally (fancy!) But if your machine doesn’t have this feature never fear, we have a more analogue buttonhole tutorial right here!