Jan 17, 2011

The Reincarnated Napkin Skirt…

Okay, so yesterday I gave you all a peek at this skirt that I’d made for Little Little Miss M:


And for a little fun I asked you to guess what I might have refashioned it from. As you can see from the title of this post, it was in fact originally a napkin! Most who had a go at guessing were pretty close but Amie from kitty cats and airplanes was spot on!

Anyhow, it gave me a days grace to get the tutorial together – this is a SUPER EASY project that anybody could have a go at!


  • 1x Square (21” x 21”) napkin
  • 2x strips of contrasting fabric for waistband (4.5” x 21”)
  • Length of elastic for waistband (mine was 18” but it will depend on the size you are making)
  • Usual notions, thread, scissors, sewing machine & serger (optional)


I chose this napkin for a few reasons; it was on markdown ($1.40), I liked the vintage type floral print and the trim was a nice detail. The skirt will be constructed by folding the napkin in half, cutting it to form a front and back and adding an elastic waist.

Here’s how I did it:

side trim


Lay napkin flat and use scissors or a rotary cutter to cut the trim from the two sides that will form the side seams of the skirt.






half napkin


Cut napkin in half as shown, from one raw edged side to the other (I pressed the napkin prior to beginning the project, folding it in half and pressing a fold into it to help act as a guide for this step).




overlock waist



With right side of fabric together serge or sew the waist panel to the top edge of the napkin half (complete for both halves of the napkin). If using a sewing machine zig zag stitch the raw edges to prevent fraying and to give a nice neat edge.






I used a overlocker and finished the top edge of the waist panel also at this point.










Press the seam you have just completed upwards towards what will be the top of your skirt.


Fold waistband in half lengthways and press a seam into it but open it back up at this stage after pressing.


Sorry, no photo for this step, but its a REALLY easy one! You should now have two panels, each with a contrasting waistband fabric attached. One will become the front panel of the skirt, the other will be the back.

Place both panels right sides together, ensuring you match up the hem and waist seams. Serge or sew the two panels together along both side edges. You should now have a tube that is beginning to resemble a skirt body.

Flip skirt right side out and fold down the waistband along the pressed guideline you did earlier.

topstitch 2Topstitch around the waistband as shown in the picture with the white cotton seam (this will catch the waistband that you have folded over – ensure you leave an opening of about 1.5” to allow you to insert the elastic after the next step).

(Optional) Topstitch along the top folded edge of the waistband the same distance from the edge as you did for the first waist seam – see presser foot placement in the above photo.



Use a bodkin or safety pin to insert your length of elastic into the waistband casing.

Sew both ends of the elastic together with a zig zag stitch (ensuring that the elastic is not twisted in the casing) and then sew the opening in the casing closed.




OKAY…. Time for a VICTORY DANCE! WOOHOO! How easy was that! I have to admit I just love repurposing/upcycling/refashioning. I am always on the lookout for items that could be made into something else – especially at thrift stores or in the markdown bins. This napkin was only $1.40 and I just love that I didn’t have to hem it – it already had a beautiful subtle trim detail; and the print – I think – is just gorgeous.

finished skirt

I hope you liked it too! I will be linking this project up to some of the FABULOUS link parties over there to the right in my sidebar – Please check some of them out, they are a wealth of inspiration and creativity, not to mention that the hosting sites are also fantastic – but while your here please check out some of my other tutorials and my blog in general. I love reading your comments and any feedback is always appreciated!


I am contemplating hosting a linky party once a week here on The Quick Unpick called “The Reincarnated Roundup” which will be for anything that has begun life serving a different purpose to the final result but I’m not too sure whether there is already enough linky parties out there… is this something that YOU, who read my blog from time to time would be interested in????

Hoping you have all had a wonderful start to 2011!


  1. skirt from a napkin! WOW...genius! come on over and link up to MMM :)

  2. WOW! This an all your other redo's are AWESOME!!

  3. This is absolutely adorable! I love it!!

  4. I will be looking for napkins now at the thrift stores.

  5. I really like the thick red waistband. Great print choice too!

  6. Cute and inspiring re-do. I featured you today on my favorite things :)


  7. this is beautiful!! I am going to feature this in handmade features so come stop by for a badge if you like :) and thanks so much for coming and linking up to handmade tuesdays @ ladybug blessings!

  8. Adorale skirt you made for your little miss.

  9. very pretty and a great idea!

    Visiting from PP, wonderful tutorial thanks!


  10. VERY cute!! Thanks for the great tutorial too! :) Thanks for linking it up at Sassy Sites for our Trash to Treasure Tuesday! Have a wonderful weekend! xoxo!


  11. This is so creative & fun. Now, if only I could sew! :)

  12. wow! I love it that it was made out of napkins! so creative!

    thanks for linking up at our crafty saturday party! can't wait to see what you have for next week!


  13. Hi! You were featured in our blog:


    can't wait to see what you have for next week! ^^^)

  14. So cute! I shared on my FB fan page!

  15. cute print! I was handed down a box of vintage linens and napkins and I know what I'm doing with them now!

  16. Are you kidding--I would never have thought of that--you are so clever--and you have a nice sewing machine too


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