How to stitch wide hem cloth napkins with crisp mitered corners

Years ago I had a friend who insisted on drinking her morning orange juice from a goblet. It was her way of starting her day with an ordinary routine made special. Napkins are that extra touch for me. Perhaps it’s because I remember Mama making them when I was a girl. Or maybe it’s how much softer they are than the paper variety and they don’t fall apart within 10 minutes. Either way, they can ruin you for paper napkins in no time at all. And just in case you want to try a few of your own, Today I have a tutorial for you with lots of pictures on how to stitch wide hem cloth napkins with crisp mitered corners. Then you can let me know if you too are completely ruined for paper napkins.

How to stitch wide hem cloth napkins with crisp mitered corners

The wide hem and mitered corners give these napkins a very polished look. You can make them a variety of sizes by simply add 2 1/2″ to the finished size you are wanting.

Materials needed for your napkin

22″ square of fabric, this is the size I used the napkin pictured

thread to match

sewing machine


seam gauge

Hemming your napkin


Most cotton fabrics can be torn along the grainline, ensuring that you have a straight line without having to measure and cut all the way across the fabric

1/4 pressed napkin hem

Begin by pressing each edge under 1/4″.

pressed napkin hem

Fold under another 1″ and press in place. With up to 8 layers of fabric, the corners of a napkin can become quite bulky at the hem. Mitering eliminates some of that bulk, allowing the corners to lay flat.

Unfold the pressed edges to determine your pressing line for the mitered corner.

Press a triangle between the inside fold line at each corner, lining up the pressed edges to form one continuous line.

Open up the pressed triangle and match the pressed lines with right sides together.

Unfold the first pressed line so as not to catch it in the row you are about to stitch.

Beginning at the fold of the first pressed edge, stitch along the pressed “triangle” line to the second pressed hem edge. Use a reverse stitch for 2 or 3 stitches at the beginning and end of the row of stitches. Your finished miter stitch will look like the above picture. The first pressed line will be free and the stitching line will extend to the second pressed hemline.

Trim the seam to 1/4″ to eliminate some of the bulk.

Clip a small triangle from the inside corner, being sure not to snip the stitching line, to create a crisp clean corner.

You can use the pointed tip of your scissors to carefully push the corner out as far as possible before pressing the corner.

Refold and press your hems as needed and pin. It’s easiest to hem with the wrong side up, so you can stitch as close as possible to the first pressed edge. When you are going to machine stitch, place your pins with the bulk of the fabric to your left and the point of the pin furthest from you. This makes it easier to pull them as you stitch.

Stitch with the wrong side up, 1/8″ from the free edge, leaving the needle in the fabric while you pivot at the corners. You can overlap your stitching and use a few reverse stitches when you make your way back to your first stitch.

A quick way to dress up the table

And there you have it! A fairly quick way to dress up your table with each season that will last for years to come. You can look for another cloth napkin tutorial soon with a few new tips for a narrow hem too.

So what do you think? Is this a doable project for you? And what fabric would be your first choice for new cloth napkins?

About Beth Moore

A Christ-follower, wife, mom to 4, lifestyle blogger, seamstress and seeker of daily glimpses of God's grace and redemption.

5 thoughts on “How to stitch wide hem cloth napkins with crisp mitered corners

  1. Thank you for the tutorial. I have wanted to make mitered corners but didn’t know how. Now I do. I would use a red floral on a white background that has been calling my name. Thank you again.

    1. That’s great, Rebecca! I’ve done them other ways too, but I like the idea of not having to go back and whip stitch the corners closed by hand.I would love to see yours when they’re done, it sounds like a perfect spring and summer print ❤

  2. Beth, would you believe, we STILL use napkins your Mom made for me 23 years ago. They were smaller napkins with narrow hems. Each time we use them I think of her and smile! She knew I usually used cloth napkins so she gifted these to me. What a treasure!!

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