Holiday Machine Embroidery Tutorial: Festive Christmas Napkins

Now that the holidays are in full swing, it's the perfect time to stitch up some special hostess gifts or finishing touches for your own holiday table. Here's a fun holiday machine embroidery tutorial for using machine embroidery designs to make beautiful Christmas napkins.

Photo via Oma's Place

The napkins above are stitched with holiday machine embroidery designs by Monika at Oma's Place . The napkins shown in the photo are done in red and white. I made a white napkin and stitched the lace in red — it was beautiful. Forest green and dark blue napkins will also look nice with holiday designs. Included with the designs are instructions for making your own napkins.

Coastal-Themed Napkins - Pattern by Bluprint member Photo via Bluprint member dragonflyquilts

To further customize this machine embroidery project, stitch up your own napkins using the Napkin with Mitered Corners pattern , seen above, from Bluprint designer dragonflyquilts .

If you don't have time to sew your own napkins or don't have the fabric you need on hand, you can also purchase ready-made napkins and personalize them with beautiful holiday machine embroidery.

Holiday Embroidery Tutorial: Custom Christmas Napkins

You may already have some beautiful holiday machine embroidery designs that you would like to use on your set of napkins. I used the Filigree Christmas Trees designs from Sew Inspired by Bonnie.


  • Napkins - pre-purchased or make your own using good quality fabric that measures 18"  to 20" per square
  • Machine embroidery designs that will fit a 4" by 4" hoop (See design tips below)
  • Vellum for making a design template
  • Machine embroidery thread
  • Soft lightweight cutaway stabilizer
  • Soft lightweight tearaway stabilizer
  • Glue or temporary spray fabric adhesive
  • Water soluble marker

Step 1: Design placement on napkin.

Print a 1:1 image of your machine embroidery design onto vellum to use as a placement template. Lay out the napkin with the corner to be embroidered in front of you and position the vellum template exactly where you want the design to be stitched. Using a water-soluble marker, mark the vertical and horizontal centers from the template onto the napkin.

Step 2: Position napkin in hoop.

Hoop stabilizer and using the water-soluble marker, mark the horizontal and vertical centers on the stabilizer. With water-soluble glue or temporary spray adhesive, position the napkin on the hoop matching the horizontal and vertical centers. Use pins around the outer edges of the hoop to be sure the napkin stays in place during stitching.

Step 3: Stitch the design.

Stitch the holiday machine embroidery design, changing and clipping threads as needed. When stitching is complete, remove napkin from the hoop, remove tearaway stabilizer and trim the cutaway stabilizer near the embroidery edge. It is very important at this time to use water to dissolve and completely remove the water-soluble blue marker from the napkin.

Step 4: Use and enjoy!

Some machine embroidery tips:

1. Water-soluble marker.

Be very careful when using any kind of marker on fabric. Water-soluble marker should always be thoroughly removed with water before using heat from an iron on the design and/or fabric.

2. Stabilizer.

In my recent post Stabilizers for Machine Embroidery: Getting It Right , I talked about stabilizers and the importance of choosing a one that will support the machine embroidery stitches and will be consistent with the way the stitched article will be used. Because napkins will be washed frequently, I felt it was important to have a cutaway stabilizer that would stay in the napkin and with the stitches. Since more stabilizer was needed during stitching, I chose a lightweight tearaway stabilizer, too. You can see in the photos below how soft and light these stabilizers are, but also how they can support the machine embroidery design.

3. Fabric selection.

Cotton broadcloth or quilting cotton is an excellent choice for napkins. I chose Kona cotton because it is inexpensive, comes in many colors, launders well, and is a staple fabric for machine embroidery. When choosing a linen fabric for napkins, be sure to get a fabric with a solid weave that will hold up to machine embroidery.

4. Design selection.

The designs shown in both sets of napkins are light enough to work well on a single layer of cotton or linen fabric. Designs with high stitch count and high density are not recommended. Another serious consideration in design selection is the size of the design. The maximum size that works for a napkin is approximately 4" by 4".

[box type="shadow"]You might also enjoy our post on holiday machine embroidery appliqué ideas and our machine embroidered gift tag tutorial .[/box]

 What machine embroidery projects are you working on for the holidays?

December 15, 2013
More to Explore
Now Reading
Holiday Machine Embroidery Tutorial: Festive Christmas Napkins