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Serviettes and how to make napkins

Homemade cloth serviettes/napkins

by Cybele
This is a very simple idea. They’re meant to be the best ones, aren’t they? Well, I’ll just keep telling myself that.
In an effort to cut back on my use of paper towel and reduce waste, I have been turning our ripped clothes that the thrift or charity stores won’t want into cleaning cloths. I was mid-ripping session (it’s quite therapeutic) the other day and admiring the lovely fabric in Gordon’s business shirts and I had an idea. Ding. They would make awesome serviettes, napkins or whatever you call them. I love cloth ones. They always remind me of being in a fancy pants restaurant. It would also cut out even more paper – no more paper serviettes or napkins. Before you despair at the extra work, stay with me, I promise you they’re easy.

No sew

If you feel inclined, you can of course hem these little numbers, but I prefer them with the frayed hem and I suspect turnover will be high with these, so I want to be able to whip up a new batch at the kitchen bench whenever I need them.
The idea is when the serviettes or napkins start looking a bit sad they move onto the next step in their life cycle and become cleaning cloths and eventually, the cotton ones end up in our compost bin.

No fuss napkins or serviettes

If you’re going to make these, you have to promise that you won’t iron them, particularly if you’re using them everyday. It’d defeat the purpose of the no-fuss. Besides, the rustic and wrinkled look is a badge of honour.
If Mrs Jones lifts her eyebrow at the lack of starch, give her a smug look and tell her about the trees, packaging, transport fuel, not to mention the bleaches, formaldehyde and… Feel free to keep going until you feel you’ve covered it, but don’t forget to ask if she’s still using paper ones. Just kidding! I would never do that ; )

Each to their own

Minimise washing by giving everyone their own serviette ring (I have gathered this motley crew at markets and thrift shops.) This means that you only  wash when they need it. Although, I realise that some still need to be washed everyday…

To make the napkins/serviettes you will need:

Scissors and unloved shirts, tea towels or other linen.

How to make your napkins/serviettes:

I like BIG ones that really cover the lap or can be turned into bibs, but have a think what will work for you. Simply, cut around the unusable parts of the fabric and cut into a square – fold on the diagonal for a guide line.
Pull some of the loose threads to fray the edge.
When you wash them more threads will come loose. Just snip them off and head on your merry way.
Some of you might recall that last time I hacked into one of Gordon’s shirts it didn’t go so well and is known as the crafty fail.
I would love to hear how you reuse old clothes.


About BlahBlahMagazine

Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn't cost the earth. Follow on google: +blahblahmagazine twitter: @blahblahzine or Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine

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  1. I thought those shirts looked familiar… generous Gordo!
    Your cherub is adorable in that photo too xo

  2. So that’s where my red Ralph Lauren shirt dissapeared to. The rip was barely visible near the cuff!!! At least it will decorate the table for guests in the future!

  3. Great idea. But the shirts look too nice to toss. I do think a cloth napkins brings a certain elegance to the table and these no fuss ones are my kind of elegance.

    • They’re lovely shirts, however I discretely concealed the various rips running from the shoulder blade, past the elbow to the wrist or all the way across the back. Sadly, they were beyond repair, even Gordon with his darning needle couldn’t fix them. I’m glad we found a way to keep them x

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