Fringed Chambray Napkins

In the sewing room, raw fabric edges usually sound an alarm, and much of my sewing time is spent finding ways to hide unruly edges. I tuck them neatly into hems, enclose them in French seams and keep their messy threads at bay with zigzag stitches. But for these Fringed Chambray Napkins, it is precisely the threads of the raw edge that make them so special!

With a white weft and a colorful warp, the exposed edges of Kiyohara’s Linen Blend Solids reveal a two-color surprise. Created by unraveling individual threads of the fabric, making these napkins feels a bit irrational, like pulling out a lot of hard work. But, lo and behold, in the act of destruction comes a set of beautiful napkins.

These Fringed Chambray Napkins feel both sophisticated and relaxed, making them suitable for a whole range of occasions. Since I plan on using mine for summer barbecues, I chose a combination of festive reds and blues and made a whole stack in a lunchtime size (13 by 13 inches). But with no hems to account for, these napkins are easily sized up to a generous dinner size or down to a diminutive cocktail size, whatever your summer plans!

And because there are no seams to press and only the smallest bit of preparatory machine stitches, these Fringed Chambray Napkins are a great carry-along project for summer road trips. May the only thing that unravels be your napkins edges! -Corinne


To make nine 13 by 13-inch napkins (in three colors), you'll need...

You'll also need a pair of small, sharp scissors and a straight pin.



From each fabric cut three 13-inch squares. Try to cut as much along the grain as possible. The grain of the fabric will not be 100% straight, so don't worry too much if you do not stay exactly in line.

Note: When cutting simple rectangular shapes for patterns such as this, straight, clean cuts are key. The best way to make these cuts is with a rotary cutter and a non-slip quilting ruler on a self-healing cutting mat. If you have limited experience using a rotary cutter, I recommend visiting our Rotary Cutting Tutorial.

To make larger or smaller napkins, simply cut the squares to your desired dimensions. All other instructions will remain the same.


Using the coordinating thread color, sew 3/8 inch in from all four sides of each square. In the photo, above, we used a contrasting thread to clearly show the sewn lines, but your stitches should be nearly invisible.

Pull the Fringe

Working one side at a time, pull out the threads that run parallel to the square’s edge. Pull the threads one by one until you have reached the line of stitching. Use the sharp point of a straight pin to help pick each thread.

If a thread is partially caught in the stitching, carefully pull it until it hits the seam line.

Trim the thread close to the seam line.

Work all the threads at the seam in the same way.

Continue in this fashion around all four sides.

Repeat with the remaining eight napkins, and you’re all done!

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8 Responses to Fringed Chambray Napkins

  1. LindaCP says:

    Very nice! I have some perfect fabric to do this soon. Thank you for the great idea.

  2. Rachel says:

    These are a fabulous idea. But it makes me a little nervous that they'll just keep unraveling. Do you need to use any special kind of stitching to keep it from pulling out too once you've unraveled that far?

  3. michelle says:

    I love these! I'm assuming that the fabric is washable and that it was preshrunk before you made them? Thanks!

  4. Amanda says:

    Hi there,

    Thank you again for such a lovely posting. Beautiful photography, simple and inspiring ideas for crafting something that is amazing.


  5. Mariana says:

    I have made these before with cotton/linen blend and they're beautiful at first but after washing and drying the fray gets all tangled. Sigh..

  6. purl bee says:

    Hi Rachel –

    I completely understand your nervousness, but the line of stitching works great to hold the threads in place and keep the rest of the napkin from unravelling completely. You may find a few small threads to clip with the first couple of washings, but shouldn't have any trouble beyond that.

    Thanks for writing in!

  7. purl bee says:

    Hi Michelle –

    Thank you for writing in! Yes! The fabrics can be machine washed and dried and though the shrinkage is minimal, pre-washing is always good practice.

    I hope this helps!

  8. Sue says:

    These are so summery and cute! Great take along project, for sure!

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