My favorite method is illustrated really beautifully here on LoLo Craft. But I knew I wanted to make mine fold like paper cocktail napkins. So instead of the 6" squares of fabric which will result in no fold napkins, I made mine with 12" inch squares, so they fold into quarters.
Choose 100% cotton fabric. As these are practical items, 100% cotton will ensure they'll absorb. I chose muslin for the backing (so cheap!) and my super adorable puggy chair high quality quilting fabric for the front. You could easily use the same fabric for back and front, but I thought having the option of a plain side might make them more versatile.
And because they will get dirty and need to be washed, you have to pre treat the fabric. Machine wash with hot water and dry in the dryer on regular heat. Shrink the holy hell out of it so you don't end up with wonky napkins after you've sewn them. I find that the napkins I purchased from the store shrunk up on me and man, I am annoyed every time I have to iron them!
Each napkin consists of two 12" squares. One for the front and one for the back. If you need a good pattern to cut your squares, a piece of scrapbook paper will be the perfect size. And as I wanted to see what pattern was going to come through on the front, I used a piece of velum scrapbook paper. I would say that something with lines would be great to ensure those squares are perfect....I, not being the most exact of sewing enthusiasts, did the best I could
With right sides together, stitch the napkin around the outside edge leaving a hole for turning. I used a .5" seam allowance which worked perfectly. Clip the corners.
Time to iron! Before flipping the napkin right side out, I ironed out the seam to help when the napkin was flipped right side out. This seemed to make a big difference in getting that square shape just right.
Flip fabric to the right side and pay particular attention to the corners. Iron down to set the sides.
Now it's time to top stitch! I did one really close to the edge to make sure the hole that I left for turning was covered. Then I did a second, closer in for a decorative touch. I am in LOVE and will definitely be making more.
And how cute for a hostess or housewarming gift? Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go get lost on fabric.com coming up with possibilities for these!