Colorful Cloth Napkins

I have been sick this week: without an appetite or any desire to cook, and at the same time, bored and restless. I had ambitious plans to cook a cassoulet last Sunday. Thursday I noticed an aching in my neck and shoulders and a little sore throat. I ignored these and set about making my duck leg confit. Friday was going to be the day for the lamb stew, but I couldn’t manage it. Saturday was a little better; I set the Tarbais beans to soak and assured myself that I could cook the beans and lamb stew the next day and still make the cassoulet . I was wrong. All the components of the cassoulet have been stored away and I’m hoping to try again this Sunday. In the meantime I have been consuming daily quantities of decongestant, analgesics, green tea, hot toddies, soup, and whatever mediocre meals I have been able to cobble together. But I found an activity to cheer me up and these colorful napkins are the result. I first saw them on Clotilde’s blog.  These cloth napkins are made of squares of fabric cut from what quilters refer to as “fat quarters”.  And guess who has a vast collection of “fat quarters”?  With a scarf tied around my neck and a kleenex tissue box close by,  I set up my old sewing machine and pulled out my mat and rotary cutter.   I got all those zip-lock bags of fat quarters out of storage.  Then I started putting pieces of fabric together.  I chose colors that looked like spring and coordinated them with solid shades.  Fat quarters are eighteen by twenty-two inches in size, so each pair has to be trimmed to an eighteen inch square.  After that it is as simple as sewing the two pieces together, turning them right side out, pressing the napkin flat, and top-stitching the edges for a finished look.  This is a practical way to use up my fabric and a great alternative to paper napkins.  I imagined these would look good on a buffet table, used as silverware pouches.  Here they are:

I tried a couple of different styles of folds:

Whether there is cassoulet for Sunday dinner remains to be determined, but I know the table will be set with white dinnerware and colorful cloth napkins.

For a tutorial on cloth napkin-making go to

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