When I pack my kids' lunches for preschool, I need to send them napkins to use--one they unfold as a placemat to define their own space during lunch, the other they use to wipe their mouth, etc. I have a couple of cloth napkins that I've been using for the purpose, but when I was sorting out the old baby stuff for donations, I came across a baby hooded bath towel that inspired me.
|Awww. Remember these?|
This was the extra-thin, soft stuff that baby washcloths are made out of. Not too absorbent, so it didn't get much use. So I had no sentimental qualms about cutting it up.
First I cut the hood and binding off of all of the edges to get the cloth to lay as flat as possible. Then I cut the terry into four rectangles--two big, and two small, to make the placemats and napkins for each kid. They were not exactly the same size (and not exactly square...) since I wanted to maximize the amount of terry I had. You can measure a placemat to see how big to make it, or just eyeball what you think a reasonable size for a kid's eating area would be.
Once I had the terry cloth cut up, I just laid my terry rectangles out on the printed fabric that I would be using for the other side and cut around it. I laid my terry cloth face down on the face-up fabric so I would be ready to stitch them together, wrong-side out.
For me, a kids' placemat is not an area where I'm too worried about precision. As you can see, my rectangle is a little off--and I didn't even use pins when I sewed them together! Just make sure to leave an opening (3-5 inches wide or so) for turning it right side out, then clip the corners and turn.
Once they are right side out, you can give them a pressing if you want, but I skipped that and went straight for the topstitching. It keeps the edges nice and flat, closes up the hole you left from turning, and allows you to skip pressing. Three wins!
And voila--cute little matching, semi-absorbent napkin/placemat sets to tuck inside the lunchbox!
The kids, while not jumping for joy about new napkins as you might expect (I know!), did appreciate the sets. And I appreciate that they don't get as wrinkly and bunchy as the cloth napkins I used to send. Now to find another old towel so I can make a backup set while these are in the wash...