A Stitch In Time

My Life In Words

How to make a napkin purse.

Posted by debraroby on November 2, 2005

My SAQA regional group is meeting on Wednesday, and we are having a small gift exchange (so if you are attending the meeting, stop reading now). With my recent stash of damask napkins, I thought I’d make a neat napkin purse/bag.

Ofcourse, when I started I realized that it would be a great thing to blog.


Use a napkin that is atleast 18″ square and with a finished appearance on both sides. This napkin has already had the necessary marks pressed in (then I went back to document the process).

Fold the napkin in half diagonally.

Then fold the points in. The napkin is close to thirds. Press those creased lines along the sides.

Using a measure, mark a line 2″ down from the top of the napkin along both side seams. Starting at the pencil mark, sew down the creased lines to the bottom of the bag.

Open up the outside edges, and fold those triangles back toward the center of the bag. Both sides of the center should now look similar to this. Sorry this step really needed it’s own picture.


Slide your hand into these pockets and pin the two edges together.

Then tack this spot to make the pocket stable.

Lay a ruler along the top of the bag, and make a mark 1″ down from the edge. On each side, sew along this edge. (but don’t simply sew all around the top in one swell foop.)

Your bag should now look similar to this.

Now comes the fun part. Find a ribbon or trim that coordinates with the napkin. Cut 2 pieces that are length of the top+6″ each. Ribbon #1 begins on the right hand side, travels in that casing your sewed, out the left hand side, back in the back casing, and out where it began. The second ribbon starts on the left, goes around, and ends on the left hand side. Tie the tips.

Now you have a bag that can by pulled open or closed. At this point, you can use velcro to hold the outside tips closed… or beads or buttons or snaps. You can embellish the ribbon with nice beads on the end.

The inside is clean and finished and roomy enough for hand sewing supplies or the yarn and ribbon for knitting socks.

All done, except the embellishing. I’ve added some beads and other doodads. Now on to the meeting.

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