Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Finally, the March tutorial is ready.  I have a few more upcoming projects to go with these napkins, so there is a method to my madness.  For some reason blogger decides to rearrange my format, spacing and margins once it's posted.  Try as I may, I am so over it.  Hopefully you are not as OCD as the author.


A fabric napkin makes a statement.  What does it say?  “You are worth it; our time together is worth it”.  Since the napkin is the first thing you touch once you sit down, it sets the stage and raises the bar on even the simplest of meals…it has that kind of power.  So just imagine what these numbered napkins will say! 

I chose a solid color 100% linen fabric for a couple reasons: 1) Linen doesn’t have a front or back side, which is a good thing for napkins and 2) Linen is elegant yet casual; formal yet relaxed.

I chose Sealah tape for this NO-SEW project because it is  However, you can use other double sided iron on adhesive, but I suggest sewing the numbers and ribbon onto the napkins.

Note of Interest: 100% linen comes in various widths.  Divide the width of whichever fabric you use your fabric by 16” to get the number of cuts you can fit across and down to estimate total yardage.  So, with 60” wide fabric you can get 6 napkins out of 1 yard of fabric.  If you choose 44” wide fabric you will need 1 ½” yards to make 6 napkins.

Another Note of Interest: I chose Sealah Adhesive Sheets to apply the numbers because it is a transparent double-sided adhesive that is washable and provides industrial strength. You may choose a different iron-on adhesive, but I strongly suggest if you do, also stitch the numbers onto the napkins after applying.

16 x 16 squares of cut fabric for each napkin

6 x 11 ½” 100% cotton fabric for numbers (quilting weight fabric works great)

16” length of ribbon for each napkin (I used 3/8” gingham check)

Sealah Adhesive Sheets 6 x 11 ½” to apply for the numbers

Sealah No Sew tape for ribbon

Cotton thread to match fabric

Sewing machine

X-ACTO knife

Rotary cutter (optional)
Cutting mat
Pencil or fabric marker
Iron and ironing board

Cutting the napkins

1     Lay the napkin fabric out on a flat surface and cut 16” squares using either a rotary cutter and cutting mat or a ruler and scissors.

Add ribbon trim

2     Turn a napkin front side up and using a ruler measure 1 1/2” up from the left bottom of the napkin and make light marks with a pencil or fabric marker 1 1/2” across, which will be the guide for your ribbon placement.  (Diagram 1)

3     A great way to apply the ribbon to the napkin is by using Sealah No Sew tape.  It comes on rolls in a variety of widths. Choose a width slightly narrower than the width of your ribbon.  Begin by applying one edge of the sticky side of the tape to one edge of the napkin at the 1½” mark and apply the tape all the way across.  (Diagram 2)  Cut the tape off at the other end of the napkin.  Press the tape down with your fingernail to make sure it adheres to the fabric.  Peel the top paper off the tape.  (Diagram 3)

4     Cut a 16” long strip of ribbon.   Apply the ribbon directly over the clear adhesive strip.  (Diagram 4)  If you need to, you can reposition the ribbon, then iron the ribbon in place using a pressing cloth.  The heat from the iron is what causes the tape to securely adhere two fabrics together.  You may decide to machine sew the ribbon to the napkin, or possibly sew the ribbon on without even using the tape.  If that is your preference, pin the ribbon securely in place before stitching.

Mitered Corners 
5     Turn the napkin over with the ribbon facing down.  Fold one edge in exactly ¼”.  Press.  Rotate the napkin and press the next three edges in the same way.  You will end up with a single fold hem.  (Diagram 5a)
Now fold one edge of the hem in again over the first ¼” hem.  Press.  Rotate the napkin and press the next three edges in the same way.  When you are finished you will have a ¼” double fold hem; all the raw edges will be encased.  (Diagram 5b) 

6     Open up the corners.  You will see a grid made from the pressed seams.  The diagrams have been outlined to accentuate the grid lines.  Using a ruler, draw a diagonal line, as shown on the diagram.  (Diagram 6a or Diagram 6b).

7     Cut along the diagonal line and fold the corner over, as shown.  (Diagram 7)

8     While keeping the corner tucked in, refold each side hem along the previous fold lines.   Once you fold the hem over twice, the corners will become mitered.   (Diagram 8)

9     Pin and sew a seam close to the folded edge, pivoting at the corners.

Making the Numbers

  10     Select a number font of your choice.  Make sure the numbers are reversed
       (mirror image) and resize to 3" in height.  Plan to fit four numbers inside a
        6" x 11 1/2" which is the size of a Sealah Sheet. 

    11   Print out the reversed numbers on copy paper.  Loosely cut around each     number and tape them onto the white side of the Sealah Sheet at several places to prevent the numbers from shifting.  I actually printed my numbers directly onto the white side of the Sealah Sheet and let the ink dry.  While the Sealah Sheet fed through my printer just fine, if you are unsure just tape the numbers on.

12   To make your life simpler, cut the sheet in half, separating the numbers 1 and 2 from 3 and 4.     Cut a piece of the fabric for the numbers the same size as the Sealah Sheet.   (Diagram 9)

13   Turn the Sealah Sheet over so the orange side is facing up.  Begin peeling the orange backing off the Sealah Sheet and carefully place the fabric over the adhesive.   (Diagram 10)

14   Using a new X-ACTO knife blade and a cutting mat, carefully cut along the edge of each of the numbers.  You will be cutting through a few layers so you will most likely need to go over an area twice to get a clean cut.  Make sure to use a new blade as this minimizes fraying of the fabric.  (Diagram 11)

15   When you are finished cutting out the numbers flip them over.  The added bonus is that you can save the negative cutouts for other projects!  

     To center the number on the napkin, just fold the napkin vertically and lightly press with your fingers; also known as “finger fold”.  Open the napkin; remove the white paper on the back of the number.  Center the number over the fold ½” above the ribbon.  The Sealah tape is pressure sensitive and cures within 24 hours.  If desired you may iron the project to set the adhesive even quicker.  (Diagram 12)

May your guests "digits" dance across these numbers!


  1. These are beautiful! I hadn't heard about Sealah before...must check it out! The mitered corners are awesome, too! (I am a brandnew blogger and thought it was ME with the funky borders and such!)

  2. Love this Paula!

    I have alot to share with my Mom and how you had fun with her sealah no sew tape! Yippee

    Stay warm today..raining a lot here in Riverside:)

    Kay Ellen



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