Casual napkins

bright cotton napkinsI am a beginning sewist, but I’ve been wanting nice napkins with mitred corners. Today I realized that there was no good reason not to learn, not when I had some fat quarters hanging around doing no good.

Sharp corners. Clean lines. Easy tutorial used: no big dill’s Mitering Around.

I learned things.

On my first napkin, I missed the part of Step 5 that says  to leave 1/4 inch open along the raw edge of the fabric when sewing the corner mitres. This step is not a joke. Reminder to self: If you miss this step, then when you turn under the raw edge and sew, you can only make a curve, not a nice line.

I varied when and how to press each part, trying to improve my process. By napkin three, I figured out a folding-and-pressing strategy that works better for me.

Less Work Press-All-At-Once Method

  1. With wrong side facing up, fold each side in 1″ (so that wrong side touches wrong side). Press. (Work Savings: when you get to Katy’s Step 8, the “Press Again” step is dead easy since your fold is already made facing the right direction.)
  2. Turn raw edges under 1/4″. Press. (Work Savings: the turning-under can be accomplished more quickly and precisely at this stage than when the corners are sewn up.)
  3. Fold and sew mitres. The bulk of the pressing is already done, so it goes fast.

Thank you Katy for a clear and simple tutorial! I’m looking forward to practising some more.


Storing bulk foods in jars

Glass jars with hand-printed labels

I buy a lot of my baking staples and spices in bulk. I’ve accumulated glass storage jars over time, but only recently have I hit upon a labelling convention that:

  • can be applied to many types and sizes of jars
  • creates a uniform look among said diversity of jars
  • doesn’t take too long to create
  • can be made with the supplies I have at hand.


  • graph paper (or other plain paper)
  • Sharpie
  • decorative tape (mine is from Daiso)

To make these, just write out the label on the graph paper. Then tape the paper to the jar. That’s it. Cute, coherent, and finished. The fact that it’s so easy helps me get over the pressure of making ‘nice’ letters. If your first try is not as nice as your imagination says it can be, you can always replace it with another try for the cost of five minutes’ effort.

Pro tip: If you try this with decorative tape that is not too sticky, consider using a bit of glue. Trust your instincts. You can see, if you look closely, that my tape is peeling at one edge.