My Material Life

Linen Cocktail Napkins

These have a certain earthy charm, kind of Heath Ceramics-like, don’t you think? At least that’s what I’m telling myself. I made these napkins yesterday and machine-embroidered and delivered them to my friend Susan as a housewarming gift today. The linen was in my stash and came from IKEA. The embroidery floss is the French DMC brand and was also in my stash; it probably came from Michaels. I love that you can find things from France at Michaels!

To make the napkins, I cut 6 pairs of 6″ linen squares, stitched them wrong sides together with a 1/2″ seam (leaving an opening for turning), trimmed the corners, turned the squares right side out, pressed them, slip-stitched the openings closed, and then …

Now this is where it gets interesting – I machine-embroidered the embroidery floss (all 6 strands of it!) around the edges of the napkins. That’s right, machine-embroidered with 6 strand floss! This is a trick I learned from the book, The Impatient Embroiderer by Jayne Emerson. Though the floss is too thick to use in a sewing machine needle, if you wind it around the bobbin and loosen the bobbin tension (by increasing the needle tension), you can sew with it. It will just show up on the underside of your sewing because you use the floss as bobbin thread instead of needle thread. Neat, right?



  1. Kathie

    These are really cute, Colleen! Next time you’re here I’d love for you to show me how to do this on my machine – I have lots of embroidery thread with different thicknesses to experiment with.

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