A Special Occasion Napkin Fold

napkin folding

It occurred to me as I started writing this post that you’re probably getting sick of seeing this cloth napkin! I just want to assure you that this is indeed the LAST time you will! :-) I just had so much fun rediscovering my sewing machine with this simple cloth napkin project, the creative juices just kept flowing!

Since my daughter’s wedding is right around the corner (T-minus 10 days!) I’ve been on the lookout for ideas for those little touches that make a reception “special”. When I saw this idea for folding a napkin from the Church Ladies, I knew it would be perfect for our “elegant barbecue” theme.

So I grabbed one of my DIY cloth napkins and gave it a try. I actually love the way it turned out (even if it’s not exactly like the one the Church Ladies did,) however, I didn’t take into account that MY napkins have a “wrong side” that ended up showing in the final folded product. I don’t mind the look, but it’s just something to take into consideration.

Let’s see if I can manage to describe how this is done. Luckily the pictures really do tell the story of how to do this.


napkin folding

napkin folding

napkin folding

Step One: Fold the cloth napkin in half and then in half again. (If your napkins has a “wrong” side like mine, you want the “wrong” side facing up at this point.)


napkin folding

Step Two: Fold back the top layer until that corner is touching the opposite corner.


napkin folding

Step Three: Fold back the second layer half as far over as the first layer, and then fold the third layer half again as much.


napkin folding

napkin folding

napkin folding

Step Four: Now flip the napkin over (making sure the folds stay in position) and fold both sides in towards the center with one side slightly overlapping the other.


napkin folding

Step Five: Flip the napkin back over and insert your knife, fork and spoon in the “slots” you have just created!


napkin folding

Pretty cool huh?


I also tried it with a bandana I had lying around and that was a fun option as well! And, of course, you can always use large paper dinner napkins as well.


I hope you have fun trying this out for your next “special occasion”…or maybe surprise your family or friends at dinner TONIGHT! :-)







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  1. Robin says

    Hi, instead of folding the second piece the way you folded it fold it the other way, and you will have the right side of the fabric showing.

  2. Linda J says

    Thanks for the new way to fold my napkins – I love to use cloth napkins too and am always looking for new ways to fold them. Some of my extended family worry about getting the napkins stained, so now I can tell them I also know how to replace them if I need to since you had the napkin making post on! Keep up the good work – I learn so much good stuff from you!!

  3. says

    I love the way it lays so flat, you can even set up a buffet with your plates divided with a set of flatware wrapped in the napkin this way. That way everyone just grabs a plate and moves on…. This method is one of my daughter’s favorites. Years ago she worked as a Stewardess on private yachts. She would really impress the Owners (and the Chef) with her ability to fold napkins. She would use a different fold at every meal. It’s the little things that make it special and bring a smile to someone’s face.

  4. Ana says

    I love this! My husband is always the special fold guy and I think I can impress him with this. :)

  5. Helen in Meridian says

    We use cloth napkins every day for the last 15 years. I have lots of styles, but the most used ones are large plaid (about 18″). Because they are woven plaid, not printed, you can use both sides. They keep our laps warm while watching tv, and can be used a day or two before washing. Another good thing is that they don’t have to be ironed; when folded, the weight of the stack keeps them almost crisp and ironed looking.