Thursday, August 12, 2010

Simple, reusable napkins for school lunches

The Greenhabilitator gets crafty...

Last year, two of my three kids started school and we were lucky enough to get samples of the CitizenPip and Kids Konserve lunch box kits. Both were great, but I found the CitizenPip to be more kid-friendly. The only problem I encountered was that I constantly ran out of cloth napkins. Let's just say I'm not a huge fan of doing laundry. I'd end up folding their dirty napkins inside out and hoping none of their teachers noticed.

This year, all three kids will be in school {Haaaaaaaallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!} so I took some time to make a few napkins for them. I have a ton of adult-size cloth napkins, but I found that they're 1) bigger than the kids really need, and 2) take up too much room in their lunch boxes.

Instead, I used some scraps of flannel that I had left over from another project.

I cut out 8" squares in coordinating colors - blues and greens for the boys and pink for the princess. Pin the squares with right sides together and sew all around, leaving a 3" opening for turning.

Once you've sewn all of them, clip the corners, turn right side out and iron so they lay flat.

Top stitch all the way around so the two layers don't shift too much when you wash them.

This is a very quick and easy project you can do with any scrap fabric you have in your house. I chose flannel because it was soft, but you could use a man's dress shirt, old sheet, or just about anything else you can find.

Happy sewing!


Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I'm planning on making some napkins in the next month. Do you have a preference for the type of fabric to use? I have some old napkins that I bought at Ikea a long time ago that are 80% polyester, and their absorbency sucks. So they work fine for wiping our hands on, but they're useless for big messes. I was thinking maybe I need to find some 100% cotton fabric. What do you think?

Kellie said...

The napkins the kids used last year were 100% cotton. I don't know that they used them for any big spills at school, but they seemed to be great for regular lunch messes.

Sandy said...

I used an old cotton (or linen?) tablecloth to make napkins last year. I bought one with holes in it at the thrift store; the pattern was retro and cool, and the holes easily avoided. Great napkins, for pennies!

Diane said...

The napkins look wonderful. We homeschool so I don't have to pack lunch boxes, but last year I crocheted a bunch of napkins and washclothes. We haven't looked back since. I haven't purchased paper plates or paper napkins in about 6-8 months.

Kathryn Grace said...

I don't have a sewing machine, so several years ago I took some 100 percent cotton fabric remnants, cut them in napkin-sized squares plus hem room, pressed a hem all the way around, then folded it over and pressed again so there would be no rough edges hanging out. I blindstitched the hems by hand while watching television or chatting with my sweetie in the evening. I found myself waiting for the day to end so I could set to stitching again. Wonderful quieting meditative time with the TV off!

I like your idea of folding the squares in half and stitching together. For people with a machine, that would be the super quick way to go, eliminating all that pressing!

Love Sandy's idea of cutting up an old tablecloth.

Very useful post and comments. Thank you.

Truffula said...

re: fabric choices - I agree: cotton or linen. I've made some great napkins from worn out woven shirts, both flannel and other. I got smaller napkins out of the sleeves and front, and larger ones out of the back. My biggest failure/learning opportunity was using polyester shirting fabric. I ended up quietly throwing those napkins away one by one when their non-absorbancy drove me nuts.


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