no-sew custom dinner napkins & fabric launch

Marian ParsonsArtistic Endeavors, design, my business story, Running a Business41 Comments

After years of design work, coordinating, learning, waiting, and creating, my fabric line is finally going to be available for sale (find a store HERE), so this week kicks off the official launch of Bunnies, Birds & Blooms by Free Spirit Fabrics.

I have partnered with some talented creators and Instagrammers to show off the fabrics.  They are amazing quilters.  I am not.  They will be showing the super-fancy sewing projects.  I’m going to show the super simple, no-sew project for my non-sewing, non-quilting readers.

As I was thinking about a good, no-sew project, I was also working on a table setting for a photo shoot and I realized I had sold the majority of my colorful cloth napkins when we moved.

I had a moment of inspiration.  My fabrics would be perfect with my table setting and cloth napkins would be ridiculously simple to make.  That’s the project I can share!  No-sew, custom dinner napkins.

Let me tell you…  this project is so easy.  It’s almost embarrassingly easy compared to other tutorials I’ve written.  Sometimes, though, we want a project that is ridiculously easy.  And, the best part about it is it doesn’t come off like a simple craft project.  It comes off like, “Wow, where did you find napkins that match your style and dishes so perfectly?”


You’ll need…

  • 1 yard of quilting-weight cotton fabric
  • a quilting ruler (clear plastic)
  • pencil
  • a pair of pinking shears


Measure out four 18″ x 18″ squares with the quilting ruler and mark with a pencil on the back side of the fabric.  This is where the quilting ruler really comes in handy, because you can easily ensure square corners, so you don’t end up with a trapezoid napkin.


Cut along pencil lines with a pair of pinking shears.  This gives the napkin a pretty edge, but it also prevents the fabric from fraying.

Give the napkins a quick once-over with an iron and they are good to go!  You can wash and reuse them just like any other cloth napkin.

I told you.  Crazy simple.

Think of all of the options!  Table runners, placemats, and even simple cafe curtains that can hang from clips.  Just because you don’t sew doesn’t mean you can’t make custom linens for your home.

And, if you want to get fancy, you could always add an embroidered edge or stitched details around some of the design.   Whether you keep it simple or add some custom touches, this is a great way to open up your table linen options.


Throughout the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring other things made with my fabrics on Instagram (the grid and my stories).  I’ve already seen a preview of one of the quilts being made and I’m so excited to share it!  If you want to follow along, here are the makers participating in the tour…

My Bear Paw, April 19
Lish Dorset, May 10
Or you can follow the hashtag #missmustardseedinstagramtour

Until then, here are some cute things made with my fabrics by Susan of Dunn by Designs

To learn more, check out the BB&B Look Book, the full fabric line HERE, and the Free Spirit Fabric Store Locator HERE.

This is another exciting milestone in a business that started out with the goal of making just $200/month to help with groceries.  And I feel like I haven’t said thank you in a while, so thank you.  Thank you to all of my readers who have followed me and supported me through this journey.  Thank you to my family, friends, mentors, coaches, clients, customers, cheerleaders and everyone who believed in me and took a chance on me.

This is a dream come true for me and you are a part of it.

Thank you.

no-sew custom dinner napkins & fabric launch

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41 Comments on “no-sew custom dinner napkins & fabric launch”

  1. Congratulations & thank you for the easy tutorial from a person who can’t sew a lick! Can’t wait to purchase some of the patterns.

  2. Happy Eastertide! And, congrats on your launch.

    My sewing machine bit the dust so I’m excited to sharpen my pinking shears! What an inspirational idea for napkins and runners.

    Happy creating in your future design work.

    Diney on Camano Island

  3. I noticed that you face the knife blade outward…I read someplace that it should face inward; the outward facing knife is said to be ‘aggressive’! Did you ever read that? I just saw this and wanted you to know so you could research it—or not! (you are the most UN-aggressive person I know!)

    1. Gilda, I’ve been thinking the same thing about the knives. Both of my Grandmothers would not be happy if I put the blade of the knife facing away from the plate. I thought maybe Marion was making an artistic statement, or she likes being a rebel. “ Napkins should always be to the left of or under the fork, or possibly placed on the plate for a decorative accent. “. My Grandmother was always quoting Emily Post. She told me one time that a woman would be judged on whether her table was set correctly Lol. So many silly rules. I’m so glad life is more casual these days.

      1. Ha, yes. I love the old-fashioned sentiment, but I just set the table and didn’t even think about whether I was doing it “right” or not. My grandmothers probably would’ve had a thing or two to say about it as well! 🙂

  4. Marian, An easy alternative is to use a pinking blade for a rotary cutter, if your readers already have a rotary cutter and mat. The blades are pretty universally available and they make the job easier yet than the pinking shears! Just an FYI, which you may already know. Best wishes on your new fabric line from a quilter!!

  5. Congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Please give us some white on white ——– I agree with Katie.
    Also, we are waiting for the REDS.
    I am a quilter so I know you are involved with an EXCELLENT group.
    Like your napkins.

    1. Yes, reds are coming in the next collection. I’ll have to think about a white on white. That would be pretty!

  6. My experience with pinked edges (I have sewed/tailored for more than 70 years, and back in the dark ages, “pinked” seam edges were our only non-fraying option) is that they fray, beginning at the tips of the little /\ points, even in firmly-woven fabric, with that fraying becoming worse with each successive laundering (and napkins will receive a LOT of washings). I hope I’m wrong.

  7. Congratulations! As someone who loves to sew and quilt, seeing beautiful fabric patterns sparks my creativity. Do your fabrics come in only quilting cottons or are there any heavier weights available? I am developing a new product that needs a very durable fabric, but in the beautiful designs that you have created.

    1. They are only in quilting cotton at this point. I don’t even know how to make the jump over to decorator weight fabrics, but some of these prints would be so pretty as curtains or upholstery!

      1. Maybe until the fabric is available in a heavier weight, I can figure out a way to make the quilting cotton work for my project. 🙂 It’s so beautiful!

  8. question: Is there another way to see your quilters? Not everyone uses instigram. Help with this!

    1. I do not have instagram either, many of us do not use lots of technology and still would like to see what is going on in the world without so much technology. just sayin’…

      1. You can look at Instagram on your computer without having an account. I’ll post some previews here as well, though.

  9. Beautiful! Are you moving on to Jaftex? I hope so, (I designed for them years ago) since Free Spirit will be no more. Heard Jaftex signed on a lot of my favorite Free Spirit designers.

  10. Marian, will this material fray after repeated washing? It’s a wonderful and beautiful idea but I’m afraid to give this a try for fear the napkins will not hold up to the washings.

    1. This particular fabric has a pretty tight weave, so I don’t think fraying will be an issue. It might fray some after numerous washings, but you can always make a fresh cut if/when that happens.

  11. It’s time I thanked you, too, for letting us have a peak at your home and for working so hard to do an amazing blog. You are an inspiration.

  12. So happy for you, Marian! I can “hear” the excitement in your text today. Love these little prints! I’m going to make some napkins and a table runner. Congratulations!

  13. So pretty! I have been following you for a while now and love and admire all that you do! I love to be creative in many ways, and one of them is sewing so these beautiful patterns are very welcomed! I have just had to learn to quilt to make ten quilts as keepsakes for our graduating ballet dancers at our ballet studio (someone had to!). I am so grateful to the amazing quilters and their video tutorials for showing me a basic pattern/method. You inspire me and so many others – thank you! : )

  14. Congratulations! Your fabrics are absolutely wonderful! I can’t wait to find them in stores near me. I LOVE your tablesetting. I especially love blue and yellow. What is the pattern of those bowls with the blue and yellow on your table. And what are the dishes. Your photos always make me feel as if I’m right there with you!

  15. Congrats! Since I just finished my first quilt I accomplished all by myself I am ready for a new project. your fabric is so pretty and you deserve this next chapter of success!

  16. Just a quick note about the knives. Long, long, long ago, people didn’t have knives for their guests. People used the knives they carried for hunting, etc. They were very sharp so blades under the plate edge so you didn’t cut yourself.

  17. Love this post! Congratulations on the fabric launch Marian. Love seeing your style on products we can all enjoy and integrate into our own homes and projects. I’m looking forward to whipping up a little something from your pretty fabrics.

  18. Hi Marian
    The fabric rep who takes orders for Free Spirit called on me this week and I am delighted to say I ordered the whole set of your fabrics for our new store in Taupo, New Zealand! I’m looking forward to the fabric arriving in July and hope to make up some gorgeous samples to showcase your lovely designs! 😊

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