How to Serge Perfect Fabric Napkins

How many times have you made placemats or a table runner, and then thought it would be so lovely to have matching napkins.  Truly, fabric napkins on the serger are very fast.  You can make a whole set in under an hour.  There is a trick to getting perfect serged corners, and I’ll show you how.

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Start by cutting your squares for the napkins.  The ideal size is 16 inches, but I have made them at 12 inches for luncheon size, or up to 20 inches for a formal dinner size.  This fabric goes with the Three Maple Leaves Table Runner and the panel placemats.

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Set your serger for a three-thread rolled edge.  Be sure to move your cutting blade down.  If you have a differential feed, set it on 1-to-1.  Serge the first side, stopping about 1 or 2 stitch lengths before you get to the edge.  This is a bit tough to see at first, but you’ll soon figure out where to stop.  Raise the needle up.

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Lift the presser foot, and gently pull the fabric toward the back of the machine ever so slightly (just a millimeter or two) to release it from the flange, then turn it 90 degrees, pivoting around at the corner..  Try to minimize the amount of thread you pull.  Place it back under the presser foot lining up the top edge with the needle position.  Lower the needle and put the fabric next to it.  Lower your presser foot.

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Serge the next side, and repeat until all four sides are done.

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By limiting the amount of thread at the corner, you end up with perfect corners, no knots, no extra bunching up.

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Here’s the back side.

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On the last corner, serge off the end, then tie off or bury your threads.  I did four napkins in about 30 minutes!

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Practice on some scraps first.  It will take a few tries to get the pivot point just right, but once you do, it is easy from there!

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If you don’t have a serger, you can make the napkins quickly on your sewing machine by using a rolled edge foot to hide the raw edge. A serger makes this project super fast.  You can have beautiful matching napkins for all your table top creations!  Just get an extra yard of fabric, and you’ll have enough for six large dinner napkins.  A beautiful table is only a few stitches away.  Happy Serging!  I’ll be doing another post soon on using specialty threads in a serger, like wooly nylon, so follow along for more great ideas.

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How do you use your serger?

Sharing – Tips & Tutorials on the 22nd.

13 thoughts on “How to Serge Perfect Fabric Napkins

  1. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I need to dust off my serger and do some practicing. I also need new napkins, so this is perfect timing. Definitely bookmarking this post!

  2. Thank you for your tutorial! I have not used my serger in quite some time and may have to pull it out. Your idea makes perfect sense and will be so much easier than pulling the threads through on all four corners.

  3. Irena Mangone

    Love your table setting. I don’t have a serger. But will have a go at making. Servietres on my sewing machinę. Thank you for the tutorial

  4. I know this is very old, but it’s still just as useful now as it was a few years back! It did take a little practice but its definitely worth the few mins time! I dont care for the look of knots or threaded ends on napkins, but that holds longer than a glue, which it a must if planning to wash and reuse for years.
    I made simple red napkins in a linen rayon blend. They are absolutely beautiful using this method. It’s too fiddly and slick for a rolled edge, at least for me.
    Thanks again!

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