Embroidered Napkin


Damask Linen (Chap. I, Par. 45).

1 table napkin. White Thread No. 80. Needle No. 9. Fine embroidery cotton. Padding cotton. Embroidery needle.

Introductory Statement

Fine linen gives a distinction to the appearance of the table which can be obtained in no other way. For this reason, linen has long been popular as the choice table covering. On account of the great demand for this fabric it is frequently adulterated.

To be able to select table linen wisely requires considerable study and experience. Cotton is so cleverly made to imitate linen that it is often difficult to distinguish its presence when mixed with linen. It shows very plainly, however, after the linen is laundered, as the ironing gives linen a fine gloss which cannot be obtained on a piece of material containing much cotton.

The double damask is very serviceable and with careful treat-ment, table cloths and napkins made from this material will last a number of years. As a good linen gives such excellent service, it pays to finish the edges by hand.

The napkin, finished with a French hem, in this lesson, gives an example of the most common method used in finishing the ends of both napkins and table cloths. This form of hem is very neat and serviceable.


Flax, Shelter and Clothing, Kinne and Cooley. Macmillan.

The Linen Industry, Textiles, Woolman & McGowan. Macmillan.

Suggestions For Optional Modification

Suggestions For Optional Modification 61

Plain Napkin

No. 1. This napkin is made like the one described in the lesson with the initial omitted.

Luncheon Napkin

No. 2. This napkin is made of plain linen. The hems are held in place with double overcasting stitches made to cross each other. The design is worked in cross-stitch.

Luncheon Napkin

No. 3. This napkin is finished with a crocheted edge.

Luncheon Napkin

No. 4. This napkin is finished with a plain scalloped edge.

Fringed Napkin

No. 5. This is a luncheon napkin with fringed edges made by hemstitching the napkin about one inch from the edge and raveling the threads up to the hemstitching.

Luncheon Napkin

No. 6. This napkin is finished with hemstitched hems, and embroidered with the satin stitch.

Working Directions For Embroidered Napkin

Preparing Material

Napkins are rarely sold singly; they are usually joined in a long strip with six or twelve in a set; two or three coarse threads mark the dividing line between the napkins. To separate the napkins, cut between two of these coarse threads. If necessary, straighten the edges of the end napkin (Chap. II, Par. 102).

Finishing Raw Edges

Ordinarily napkins are finished only on the two raw edges, the two selvages being left as they are. The hems of the cheaper napkins which are used daily are sometimes stitched on the sewing machine to save time, but fine table napkins should always be hemmed by hand. The French hem (Chap. II, Par. 119) used to finish the raw edges of the napkin in this lesson is more commonly used than any other. It is neat ,strong and very easy to make. This hem should be rather narrow (about 1/8 or 3/16" is considered a good width).

If desired, the hems may be finished with hemstitching (Chap. II, Par. 115) or with damask hemstitching (Chap. II, Par. 117).

Luncheon napkins, which are always smaller in size than the regular napkins, may be finished more elaborately. They are usually hemmed on four sides. A hemstitched hem is frequently used; a narrow edging of crocheting is also quite common.


Table linen is embroidered very little, as the beauty of the linen is considered its chief attraction, and it is not necessary to enhance it with elaborate forms of needlework. However, it is customary to mark each napkin with an embroidered initial or monogram (in-terwoven initials). Table linen for a bride elect should be marked with the initials of her maiden name; the matron should, of course, use the initials of her name after marriage. While any style of in-itial may be used to suit the individual taste, old English or script is probably more commonly used than others.

The initial may be placed diagonally in one corner of the napkin. If the center of the napkin contains a wreath design, the initial may be placed in the center of this design. When this napkin is laundered it should be folded in thirds lengthwise, then in thirds crosswise. This will show the initial in the center of the folded napkin.

Transferring And Working Design

Select an initial. If a commercial pattern is used, transfer the initial to the napkin by placing the rough side down over the place selected, and pressing with a hot iron; remove the pattern. If necessary, transfer your design with carbon paper by placing a piece slightly larger than the initial over the proper place in the napkin; place pattern for the initial over this, pinning it to keep it from slipping; trace the initial with a lead pencil. Remove the pattern and carbon paper; work the initial.

This initial is to be worked with the satin stitch (Chap. II, Par. 131). It should be padded. The padding should be thicker in the center than on the edges in order to make the letter rounding.

Paper Mache letters may be purchased and used in embroidering initials. When they are used it is not necessary to use a design for the initial on the napkin, nor to do any padding. Each paper mache letter should be sewed securely in place with the satin stitch. These letters will crack in time and are not as satisfactory as the letters worked over the padded design.

Finishing Table Cloths

The ends of the table cloth should be finished the same as the napkins. The initial, or monogram, may be placed in the center, if there is a wreath design (any table decorations in the center of the table will cover this, however). The design is often placed diagonally in one corner inside of the border, or straight across one end (inside of the border).

Finishing Table Cloths 62