Personalized Holiday Napkin Tutorial

Here’s a step-by-step guide to our personalized holiday napkins!


  • 18″ x18″ linen square (could also be a linen-cotton blend), natural color
  • Burgundy thread. We used Mettler’s 100% polyester, Metrosene 0764.
  • Serger set for a roll hem and Maxi-Lock’s neon serger thread cones- in pink, orange, and green.
  • Our current classroom machine, the BERNINA Aurora 450.
  • 2 strips of OESD’s Fusible Tear-Away stabilizer, 2″ wide
We’re able to take advantage of BERNINA 450’s extra-wide stitch width (9mm!), making decorative stitches and the alphabet look more substantial. With the machine’s memory functions, we can string different letters together giving us the ability to personalize the napkin with the name of your dinner guests and family members, or choose words like “yum”, “eat”, or “bread”.
Start by marking your stitch lines across the top and bottom of your linen square, 2″ from your cut edge and with a non-permanent fabric marker or chalk pen.
Fuse the stabilizer centered over your marked line, but on the underside. When you sew the right side will be facing up with your marked line and the underside will be stabilized.
Go ahead and fold the napkin in your preferred manner and mark the starting point of the name or word you’ll be stitching. You can choose centered or off left or right.
Select a decorative stitch from the machine’s extensive options. Satin stitches tended to be too heavy, so a nice line-based design will provide better results. Nice choices from class were these cross stitch inspired ones like #56 or #58. #121 has a woven feel that looked beautiful when stitched out.
The center notch of the foot will be guided along your marked line as you sew. Allow the machine to bounce around while it stitches and simply continue to guide the fabric. If you try to force the fabric back, your stitches can distort.
Only stitch along one line. The other will be for your personalization.
Open up memory and begin by choosing the font you’d like to use. I liked the simple block font because I felt aesthetically it worked best with the idea that the line of stitching grew into the word and then back out again. Enter each letter into memory and watch your number of place holders drop. Keep memory open to stitch and don’t forget to select Pattern End when you begin stitching the last letter of your word.
The machine then knows the stop at the end of that letter or it would begin the word over again. Practice on a scrap of stabilized muslin, to ensure your word is spelled correctly and practice Pattern End. We did end up with a happy accident on someone’s napkin–yumyum. Still works!! Close memory and select a straight stitch but move your needle position to the far left. Otherwise your word will look like this…
Normally we work with the bulk of our fabric off to the left, but unless you mirror-imaged all your letters, doing so would have your word or name upside down. Oops! Be sure to place the bulk of your work for this step inside the throat or to the right.
Straight stitch with the needle to the left, foot notch following marked line, until you reach the mark you’ve made for starting the word or name. Open memory, stitch, and don’t forget about Pattern End! When done, simply close memory. You’ll see temporary altered stitch memory of the machine will have retained the needle positioned left. Continue stitching straight along your line to the cut edge. Remove the stabilizer by peeling away. (Those pesky tiny bits will dissolve with washing so not to worry.)
With your serger threaded for a 2 or 3 thread roll hem, work your way around all 4 sides–trimming, stitching, and finishing the raw edge. I love the high contrast of the neon thread; it’s a little unexpected and provides a modern touch with the traditional feel of the linen. A dap of Fray Check at each corner and a snip of the thread tails, and you’ve completed the napkin!
–Don’t worry about the personalization and simply do a top and bottom row of decorative stitching. Still very lovely! Make a set of napkins with the same decorative stitch but with different roll hem colors or choose a different decorative stitch for each napkin and unify them with the same roll hem color.
–Instead of a roll hem, finish raw edges with bias tape.
–Use applique or embroidery to embellish.

One Response to “Personalized Holiday Napkin Tutorial”

  1. Restored Style | Personalized Napkins | Bungalow Decor & Restoration

    […] not going to dive into a full tutorial, as Modern Domestic has already done a fabulous one here, but here’s a few photos of my mini-class and my lovely finished […]

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