Monday, June 11, 2012

Cloth Napkins, the cheap (um, frugal) way!

 Years and years ago, I decided a) we were spending way too much on paper napkins (I swear our family of five went through a few packs a week) and b) I shouldn't have stuff in my house I wasn't using, including the cloth napkins I'd somehow inherited from my mom.  (A whole different question was where those originally came from...I never remember them being used in my childhood home.)
Aren't these pretty?
Once the upfront cost of acquiring them is taken care of, cloth napkins are really inexpensive and easy to use.   After each use, the kids just throw the napkins in the washing machine and they get washed along with the normal load. 

My mom's old napkins...they're probably 25 years old, if not more.
Initially, I used the  mismatched napkins I'd inherited, but I eventually supplemented my stash.  I bought these napkins a little more than six years ago and they've served us well, but they're tired looking, wouldn't you say?

My poor napkins...they've served us well for 6 years, but they're tired.
It was more than past time to get new napkins, but even knowing I'd most likely get five or more years out of my napkins, I just couldn't make my self pay anywhere from $2.50 (Target) to $5.00 (World Market) for any of the napkins I liked.  For 12 napkins, I was looking at anywhere from $30 to $60!   Not acceptable to me.  So, I came up with an alternative:  I bought a rectangular table cloth I liked and made my own napkins.  

Target tablecloth...busy enough to hide stains.
I found the tablecloth at Target for $15.99 (I think...maybe it was $16.99.)  At 60 x 80 inches, that allowed for 12 20-inch square napkins, bringing the cost of each napkin down to a much more acceptable $1.33 (or $1.42 if the tablecloth was $16.99). 

Not too shabby for one afternoon's work.
It took me one afternoon to make all twelve napkins.

Look at that mitred corner!  It is perfect!
I even practiced making mitred corners.  Some turned out really well. 

This mitre isn't so well done...still, I'm pleased.
Some didn't turn out so well.  Overall, this was a pretty successful exercise. 

I love this fabric on my dish towel.  Isn't it pretty?
And, if you did the math in your head, you know I ended up with a four inch strip of fabric leftover after making my 20-inch napkins.  I couldn't resist using some of that leftover fabric to embellish a kitchen towel.

Not bad for $16, wouldn't you say?



Alison said...

Those are great napkins, and so frugal to use a tablecloth! Brilliant.

Sew Ducky said...

Haha, I have some napkins I got somewhere (and by that I mean I have them but no idea where they came from. They have appeared in my stuff.) but we don't use them. Redneck napkins for everyone (but me!) aka paper towels.

Babies, men, teenage boys...heavy duty is the rule of the day here.