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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Napkin Folding Tutorial

Anyone who knows me  and knows me well, is aware of my love for folding napkins. It's one of my idiosyncrasies (one of many, admittedly.) I think it actually started when I was a senior in high school and for awhile I had a part-time job working as a bus-person in the dining room of a very large,somewhat upscale, hotel. (I had also worked at this same hotel as a maid at the age of fifteen; I still fold the ends of the toilet paper on the roll in a point when I clean my bathrooms, but that's a totally different story.)

One of the duties of the bus-boys and bus-girls was to fold napkins; the dining room used lovely, heavily starched, pressed, 20-inch white dinner napkins that came up from the hotel laundry in crisp stacks in big wheeled carts and we'd fold, fold, fold and tuck the folded napkins into bins until needed. We only did simple Fan folds, but I loved it. Everyone else I worked with hated folding, but not me!

I thought I would post a tutorial on two very simple folds and another that has a bit more steps, but looks very lovely when mastered. Maybe you'd like to try them out on your next table!


The Rugby fold is a perfect addition to the table for an informal meal, a lunch or an outdoor supper.
1) Fold the napkin in quarters
2) Place the napkin so the free corners are at the top and folded edge is at the bottom:

3) Accordian-pleat this diamond shape into 1 inch pleats:
4) Secure the pleats by slipping the napkin through a napkin ring or tie a ribbon around the middle:

For this fold, a heavier-weight fabric works best, or a lighter fabric that has been starched to give it weight and "body". I used my red damask napkin for this one, because the fabric is very stiff.
1) Fold the napkin in half diagonally to form a triangle
2) Place the napkin so the folded edge is at the bottom.
3) Fold up the bottom edge 1/3 the total height of the triangle.

4) Turn the napkin over:
5) Fold the napkin into 1 inch accordian pleats:

6) Slip the bottom edge into a napkin ring, stand up and pull the points out on either side:
"Regimental Stripe"
Although this fold requires quite a few steps, it is easy to master and makes a very elegant shape. It looks good in the center of a plate or to the left of the forks. I used my plain white hotel linen 20-inch napkins for this one. A plain white or light colored napkin really shows off the "bands" in the middle.
1) Fold the napkin in quarters
2) Make sure the free corners are at the top left.
3) Fold the top left corner of the top layer down to the bottom right corner:
4) Bring this corner back up so you make a diagonal band about 1 inch wide:
5)Tuck the corner under the fold
6) Fold the corner of the next layer to the center:
7) Bring the fold just made to the center, forming another diagonal band about 1 inch wide.
8) Fold under about 1/4 of the total width on the upper right and bottom left corners:

I made this one using one of my monogram napkins, so I had to turn it around after I folded the sides under so the P would not be upside down, but with a plain napkin, there really is not a top or bottom. A place card could be tucked between the bands as well.

I hope you feel inspired by my tutorial!
Thanks for stopping by!


Anita said...

Oh thank you for posting this! I love the look but know only one fold, so I will learn these so I have some variety.

GrannySue said...

I have at least three books on folding napkins and I can never make them come out. Tomorrow, I'm trying your tutorial.

Bella said...

Hi Again:-) I am catching up tonight!
Your napkin folding tutorial is a cool idea! I love the fleur, and the regimental stripe is completely new to me!
You have very pretty hands... nice tan:-)

Katie@LeBeauPaonVictorien said...

@ Bella: LOL! I always call my hands "Skeletor Hands"... but amazingly for once I have nice nails. ;-)

raggygirlvintage said...

Okay, you make this look way too easy! I can do one fold in my sleep and that's from waitressing my way through university!
Thanks for stopping by...

Debbie said...

This is great! I never use anything but linen and vintage napkins...even with hot dogs!! So this gives me ideas for my table settings.
Thank you for sharing.

The Blackwood Cottage said...

Now that is one useful post! Thanks for sharing!!