Nap­kins, folded neatly be­side each set­ting (or even bet­ter, in a nap­kin ring), are a sim­ple way to add the fin­ish­ing touches to a meal. (There is also a whole world of nap­kin fold­ing to dis­cover, but we shan’t be go­ing into that here)

The Simple Things - - NEST -


Once you’ve made a few fabric nap­kins, you’ll won­der how you ever made do with pa­per nap­kins or (on a bad day) pieces of kitchen towel. It’s a very quick and sim­ple pro­ject – they are just a square of fabric, hemmed, af­ter all – that en­ables you to co-or­di­nate nap­kins with table­ware, wall­pa­per, even food. To make four nap­kins, cut an 92x92 cm piece of li­nen* neatly into four 46x46cm squares. Fold one edge over by about 1cm and iron. Fold again, this time about 2cm. Iron. Do the same for the op­po­site side. Stitch in place. Re­peat for the other two sides.


The os­ten­si­ble pur­pose of nap­kins is to mop up spillages, wipe mouth and fingers and gen­er­ally keep things tidy, but they also make the ta­ble look fin­ished by adding a dec­o­ra­tive flour­ish. They are gen­er­ally square (ei­ther 40x40cm or 65x65cm) and look neat­est folded into a rec­tan­gle and placed on a side plate. Un­sur­pris­ingly, there are plenty to choose from: plain li­nen or heavy white cot­ton are pop­u­lar right now and suit most oc­ca­sions: try West Elm’s Bel­gian Flax Li­nen nap­kins, £8 each, or Habi­tat’s 100% li­nen Al­bany nap­kins, £5 each.


This is a clever way of fold­ing nap­kins. Fold the nap­kin in half from bot­tom to top to form a rec­tan­gle with the open end fac­ing away from you. Fold top layer half­way down. Flip the nap­kin over. Fold nap­kin in half from right to left, then in half again from right to left. Flip nap­kin over. This cre­ates a pocket into which you can neatly insert a piece of card. Use the card to write a menu or your guest’s name. Tie a piece of twine around it to se­cure a small bunch of herbs or flow­ers as a fi­nal flour­ish. Taken from How to Set a Ta­ble (Ebury Press)

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