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Kitchen Confections in Moda's Vintage Modern: Patchwork Napkins

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Paper napkins are... well... paper! Cloth napkins are more beautiful, more absorbent, and more green. Today is the second project in our Kitchen Confections series for Moda Fabrics, featuring the new Vintage Modern collection by Bonnie & Camille. On Monday, during our debut placemats tutorial, we showed you a technique for building patchwork strips called a 'strata.' Today you get to practice the technique again to make a set of coordinating napkins. Then, hold on to your honey buns.... we have four more projects on tap as well as two super cute downloads of matching recipe cards and gift tags, and a marvelous Great Giveaway to round it all out. Our thanks for Moda for sponsoring the entire series.

We're often asked about our fabric choices and why we work almost exclusively with designer fabrics like Vintage Modern from Moda. One word: Quality! This mantra extends beyond fabric to notions, tools and your sewing machine. If you start with quality materials you're more likely to end with a quality project. With fabric it's a difference you can literally feel in the texture, drape and weight. There are no odd distortions or stiffness. Color is consistent and true. And, everything from pinning to cutting to stitching goes more smoothly and easily. Plus a designer fabric is just that, produced by creative talent, like Bonnie & Camille, to be more stylish and unique – truly a coordinated work of art.

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The Vintage Modern collection by Moda has six colors ways (Sky, Pebble, Cream, Candy Apple, Melon and Pear) with 40 quilting weight prints and 10 flannels, plus Fat Quarters, Fat Eighths, Layer Cakes, Charm Packs and Jelly Rolls. It is hitting the shelves now at your favorite independent shops, both in-store and online. You'll want to indulge in all its mouth-watering goodness today!

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Supplies listed below are for FOUR reversible napkins; each finishes at 20" x 20".

  • 14 cuts from the Vintage Modern collection by Bonnie & Camille for Moda Fabrics: yardage is shown below both with and without pre-cuts in the mix
    NOTE: You could certainly use fewer cuts, but the beauty of this collection is how marvelously it all mixes and matches, so we have given you the information for how to build a set that looks just like ours. We also always err on the side of a little extra versus to-the-inch cuts. This allows for better fussy cutting options.
  • All purpose thread to coordinate with fabrics
  • Machine quilting thread, 50 wt: we used white
  • Adhesive dots or masking tape
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle

Specific Yardage Notes

Our patchwork strip is made from the same 10 strips for each napkin; it finishes at 4" x 20".

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The Front/Back combination for our first napkin is as follows:

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The Front/Back combination for our second napkin is as follows:

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The Front/Back combination for our third napkin is as follows:

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The Front/Back combination for our fourth napkin is as follows:

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Fabric Name/Number

Yardage w/out pre-cuts

Yardage w/pre-cuts

Fabric 1: Floral Wish Pebble/55044-13

One Jelly Roll Strip

Fabric 2: Floral Vintage Sky/55040-11

⅝ + One Jelly Roll Strip

Fabric 3: Floral Hopscotch Pebble/55041-17

Fabric 4: Floral Snickerdoodle Pear/55046-16

One Jelly Roll Strip

Fabric 5: Floral Wish Sky/55044-11

Fabric 6: Floral Dots Pear/55049-16

One Jelly Roll Strip

Fabric 7: Floral Snickerdoodle Sky/55046-11

Fabric 8: Floral Wish Melon/55044-14

One Jelly Roll Strip

Fabric 9: Floral Hopscotch Sky/55041-11

One Jelly Roll Strip

Fabric 10: Floral Swirl Candy Apple/55047-15

One Jelly Roll Strip

Fabric 11: Floral Wish Candy Apple/55044-15

Fabric 12: Floral Dot Stripe Candy Apple/55045-15

Fabric 13: Floral Vintage Cream/55040-17

Fabric 14: Floral Vintage Pebble/55040-13

 Getting Started

Fabric 1 - Floral Wish Pebble:

Without pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 2½" x 19" strip

With yardage/pre-cuts:

Cut the Jelly Roll strip down to 19"

Fabric 2 - Floral Vintage Sky:

Without pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 20½ x 20½" square and ONE 2½" x 19" strip

With yardage/pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 20½ x 20½" square and cut the Jelly Roll strip down to 19"

Fabric 3 - Floral Hopscotch Multi:

Without pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 20½" x 1½" strip, ONE 15½" x 20½" rectangle and ONE 2½" x 19" strip

Fabric 4 - Floral Snickerdoodle Pear:

Without pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 2½" x 19" strip

With yardage/pre-cuts:

Cut the Jelly Roll strip down to 19"

Fabric 5 - Floral Wish Sky:

Without pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 20½" x 1½" strip, ONE 15½" x 20½" rectangle and ONE 2½" x 19" strip

Fabric 6 - Floral Dots Pear:

Without pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 2½" x 19" strip

With yardage/pre-cuts:

Cut the Jelly Roll strip down to 19"

Fabric 7 - Floral Snickerdoodle Sky:

Without pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 20½" x 1½" strip, ONE 15½" x 20½" rectangle and ONE 2½" x 19" strip

Fabric 8 - Floral Wish Melon:

Without pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 2½" x 19" strip

With yardage/pre-cuts:

Cut the Jelly Roll strip down to 19"

Fabric 9 - Floral Hopscotch Sky:

Without pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 2½" x 19" strip

With yardage/pre-cuts:

Cut the Jelly Roll strip down to 19"

Fabric 10 - Floral Swirl Candy Apple:

Without pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 2½" x 19" strip

With yardage/pre-cuts:

Cut the Jelly Roll strip down to 19"

Fabric 11 - Floral Wish Candy Apple:

Without pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 20½" x 1½" strip and ONE 15½" x 20½" rectangle

Fabric 12 - Floral Dot Stripe Candy Apple:

Without pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 20½" x 20½" square

Fabric 13 - Floral Vintage Cream:

Without pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 20½" x 20-1/2" square

Fabric 14 - Floral Vintage Pebble:

Without pre-cuts:

Cut ONE 20½" x 20½" square

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create a 'strata'

  1. A strata is a quilter's term for a block of pieced fabric made up of strips sewn together side-by-side.The completed strata can then be cut into smaller strips for the project. It's a wonderful time-saving technique!
  2. Collect the TEN 2½" x 19" strips.
  3. Place the strips in a row in the desired order. Number the strips using an adhesive dot or a small piece of masking tape. This will help you keep track of the order.
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  4. With all purpose thread in the top and bobbin, use a ¼" seam allowance to sew together the 2½" x 19" strips to create a 20½" x 19" strata.
  5. To do this, place the first two strips right sides together, aligning one 19" side. Pin in place. Stitch together. Add the third strip to the remaining 19" raw edge of the sewn pair. Pin and stitch in the same manner. Continue in this manner to create the finished strata 20½" x 19".
  6. Press all the seam allowances to one side, toward the very first strip.
  7. Using a rotary cutter, quilt ruler and cutting mat, square the end of the strata, removing as little fabric as possible. This means aligning your strata along a cutting mat grid line, then also aligning your ruler along the grid lines and trimming the edge perfectly straight.
  8. Cut the squared strata into four 4½" x 20½" strips, one for each of the four napkins. Discard the extra 1" strata strip.
    NOTE: We folded our strata into thirds to make it easier to cut with a smaller ruler.
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    NOTE: If you are new to patchwork techniques, take a look at our earlier article on this series' coordinating placemats. LINK There are additional photos of us making the strata for this project.

Finish the napkin

  1. Following the diagrams above of our mix-and-match selections (or using your own design), find one one "front set" made up of one 1½" x 20½" strip and one 15-½" x 20½" rectangle.
  2. Place the 1½" x 20½" strip right sides together with the left side of the 4½" x 20-½" strata strip, aligning the 20½" sides. Pin in place.
  3. Using a ¼" seam seam allowance, sew the two pieces together. Press the seam allowance together and toward the strata.
  4. Place the 15½" x 20½" strip right sides together with the right side of the 4½" x 20-½" strata strip, aligning the 20½" sides. Pin in place.
  5. Using a ¼" seam seam allowance, sew the two pieces together. Press the seam allowance together and toward the strata.
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  6. Flip the sewn 20½ x 20½ square to the right side.
  7. Re-thread your machine with white quilting 50wt in the top and bobbin.
  8. Topstitch along the long edge of the strata on each side, approximately ⅛" in from seam on the patchwork.
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  9. This completes the napkin front. Press well.
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  10. Find the appropriate 20½" x 20½" back square for the front you've just completed.
  11. Place the front and back squares right sides together. Pin around all four sides, leaving a small opening in the middle of one side for turning.
  12. Re-thread your machine with matching thread in the top and bobbin.
  13. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides, stopping and starting at either side of the opening you have left for turning. Remember to stop at each corner, with your needle in the down position, and pivot.
    NOTE: We're using our Janome Quarter Inch foot to keep an exact seam.
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  14. Clip the corners at a diagonal, but be careful not to clip into your stitching.
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  15. Turn the napkin right side out. Using a long, blunt-end tool, such as a large knitting needle or a chopstick, poke out each corner so it is nice and sharp.
  16. Press well.
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  17. Turn in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
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  18. Re-thread your machine with the 50wt quilting thread in the top and bobbin.
    NOTE: Although your final topstitch will help close the opening used for turning, with the narrow ¼" hem, we recommend hand stitching the opening first and then topstitching. An extra measure that helps insure that area doesn't open up with frequent laundering.
  19. Topstitch around all four sides of the napkin approximately ⅛" from the edge.
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  20. Repeat for each of the remaining three napkins.

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Contributors
Project Design: Alicia Thommas  
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

Other machines suitable for this project include the Bernina 350PE and the Brother CS6000i Sew Advance.

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Comments (5)

Heidi Wingerd said:
Heidi Wingerd's picture

I've used cloth napkins forever, and the ones I have are showing their age (like me).  They're also just one layer of nicely hemmed cotton, heavy but one layer.  I'll have to make a new batch to go with the new placemats.  These are terrific.  Thanks!

Kristiina said:
Kristiina's picture

I have gleened so much inspiration from your well written and illustrated tutorials!  Even though I have been sewing on/off for 6 years, I still consider myself a beginner.  Lately I've dove in head first and have made everything from matching dress/bloomer/shoe set for my daughter to cloth napkins, unpaper towels, aprons and table runners.  Your most recent posts have prompted me to create completely hand made wedding gift set.  Cloth napkins, table runner, and double sided pot holders, plus a scrap decorated tote for the new mrs. I only wish I could see her face when she opens it!  Thank you again for all the great tuts and I eagerly wait for more!

Amy @ Positively Splendid said:
Amy @ Positively Splendid's picture
These napkins are lovely! Our family scrapped paper a couple of years ago, and I've found the nominal increase in laundry is very worth the decrease in waste. Not to mention, my table is prettier! I have to ask: where did you get the utensil-themed napkin rings? I love them!

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