Cloth Napkins

Cloth napkins were one of the first eco-friendly steps I took a few years ago, without really understanding what I was doing. The why was basically that my grandmother had left me a bunch of tablecloths. They were beautiful tablecloths, and I can picture them in her kitchen to this day. The thing is, I don’t use tablecloths. I had them folded up in a cabinet for years before deciding I wanted to do something with them.


I took them to my mom (aka my seamstress – I can sadly hardly sew a straight hem) and we cut them into squares. For some, “we” (she) hemmed the edges, but for others “we” (she) just used a zig zag stitch to keep them from fraying.


We have a set we use at home, and a set we pack in lunch boxes to take to school. I love that my grandmother’s tablecloths are being put to a practical use, and that I can think of her whenever I use the napkins. On the plus side, the tablecloths made so many napkins that my mom kept a set for herself – and she’s been using them lately after using paper napkins for a long time! Small steps!

Do you or would you use cloth napkins? Do you have anything sentimental from a relative that you use in a way other than what was intended?


  1. I bought a bunch of cloth napkins at Pier 1 Imports years ago and still have them. We used to use them almost daily, but (sadly) we developed a habit of only using them when we have guests for dinner. This is a good reminder to use them daily!


    • It’s so funny – I feel like my guests expect paper napkins! I don’t buy them because I don’t have guests that much, but I feel like people would be grossed out by my cloth napkins. They’re not fancy-looking, just the prints in the picture here. But maybe no one will mind! I think I need to host a dinner party.


  2. I’ve sewn a couple sets of cloth napkins & almost always use them for company, even when it’s casual. As i read your post I should bring them out everyday!


  3. We always use cloth napkins at home, and I pack a cloth napkin if I pack my lunch, but I don’t bring one along if I’m going to be eating out, or anything like that. I don’t think guests mind the cloth napkins as long as they look clean and freshly folded! In fact, some people think they’re more elegant. =)
    Black and White: C is for Cherufe


    • Yes I use them at home and pack in my lunch and my son’s lunch, but we don’t take them out. I know most places (that we go, anyway!) give you paper napkins no matter what, and wouldn’t reuse them if you don’t use them, so it would still be wasted. Might as well use it!

      I love your thought on them being elegant – that’s what I’ll tell myself! (It’s too hard to think of me and “elegant” in the same sentence, haha, even when it comes to napkins!)


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