This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
With Many Handsome Styles and Diagrams Which Show How it is Done.
This is one of the easiest methods possible of ornamentally folding a serviette, and we recommend a novice to commence with it. Indeed, we have arranged the folding as progressively as possible. Although it will sit more crisp and fresh in appearance if made with a fine new well starched material, the Escutcheon can be made very well with old or even crumpled damask, though, of course, serviettes should always be scrupulously clean and smooth. First, fold the serviette in half lengthwise; and then fold it in half again lengthwise, keeping the edges to the lower end, which comes where in the diagram A A and B B are marked (see fig. 1). It is necessary to be always very precise in making the folds, bringing the edges and corners exactly to meet, a rule which applies to all the designs; , but without strict attention to which, the more elaborate patterns cannot be represented.
Now turn over each end of the serviette (which you have already folded in four), in the manner shown in fig. 1, creasing it quite flat. Then take one of the ends and roll it up in the manner shown in fig. 2, from C to D. Take the other end, E, and roll it in the same way. It is to be observed that these rolls are brought exactly to meet (not to overlap) the triangle formed at the top. It is, however, necessary to remark that the napkin is to be rolled in the reverse way from that apparent in the illustration; that is, to be rolled under and not over, a difference which must not be neglected. Keep the rolls one in each hand, and with a twist of the wrist bring over the roll C, to the point F (causing the fold marked by the dotted line), and with a twist of the other wrist bring the roll up to the same point to match it. Then lay it flat on the table, the rolls underneath (see fig. 3), and keeping them down with the hand, raise the other part and shape it as shown in fig. 4, and slip the dinner roll in the hollow at the back.
Fold the serviette in half both ways, and open it again. Bring all the corners to the centre. Turn it over and again bring all the corners to the centre. Turn it back again and slip the chestnuts in the four pockets to be observed in fig. 1.
Fig. 2. the Pocket Serviette, is made in the same way; but the corners are brought three times, instead of twice, to the centre, turning it each time (see fig. 2).