Monday, July 26, 2010

Kitchen Linens: A Quick Tutorial

I grew up in a family that had big, wonderful family dinners every Sunday evening. We always used the nice dishes and put a lovely table cloth on the dining room table. If whoever set the table was feeling particulary fancy, we even had candles. We ate a lot of roast (my mom and Nana make the world's best roast), sometimes chicken or pork chops, and all of the usual sides like potatoes, carrots, salads, etc. And, of course, no Sunday dinner was ever complete without some type of delicious bread product. Soft, pillowy dinner rolls; sweet, wholesome muffins; hearty, golden corn bread--all served in a bread basket lined with a clean kitchen towel.

I don't have lots of room for storing kitchen linens, so my collection of table cloths, place mats, and cloth napkins is fairly limited. And, between mopping up spills and drying little hands, my kitchen towels get quite the work-out. So I decided that I needed some new kitchen linens, small enough to fit in a bread basket, but big enough to fold over warm, fresh-from-the-oven bread until dinner is ready. Making them was quick and satisfying; here's how:
  • Buy two fat quarters of the same fabric. Or buy half a yard of fabric and cut it in half to make two fat quarters (18x22"). Wash, dry, and iron your fabric.
  • With the right sides touching, lay your pieces one on top of the other, line up the edges, and pin. I used 3 or 4 pins per side.
  • Using a 1/4" seam, sew your two pieces of fabric together, going almost all the way around the outside. Leave a 4" gap.
  • Trim the corners, turn right side-out, and iron flat.
  • Top stitch around the whole thing, getting as close to the edge as you feel comfortable (for these kitchen linens, I stayed about 1/8" from the edge). Make sure you close up the opening you left for turning.
In addition to lining a bread basket, these kitchen linens are the perfect size to be sweet placemats, go under a centerpiece, or wrap up cookies for the neighbors.


  1. I always make my own napkins, but had never thought of making these. I've got some fabric......

  2. Great idea! Thanks for sharing. Am I one of those lucky neighbors receiving your yummy cookie treats?! I put one of your red velvet cupcakes in my freezer for my mom's visit last week - she loved it, especially the frosting!

  3. Hi, I really really want to make these. Can you please give me an idea for the best fabrics to use? I really get stuck there. I want them to be soft for my baby faces to wipe, but also strong of course. And...Can you please also give me an idea for placemat fabric type? I am betting they are different. I think of a placemat being much thicker. Thanks for the delightful help!