Running Stitch Napkins | Purl Soho

I love Thanksgiving traditions! Every year I need to turn on the parade and the dog show for background ambience as I make my requisite three pies (pumpkin, apple, and a chocolate truffle tart). And every year I need to dress up in something semi fancy and take a walk in the crisp fall air on the nearly empty streets of Brooklyn. I need to have turkey, even though I don’t really like it except in sandwiches the next day. Oh, and those sandwiches have to be made on white bread with cranberry sauce, iceberg lettuce, and mayonnaise. And finally, I need to make a set of napkins for the Purl Bee!

Running Stitch Napkins | Purl Soho

This years set is close to my heart because it uses three of the most beautiful Liberty of London Tana Lawn Seasonal prints that Ive ever seen. Together they make such a handsome autumnal mix! I chose to keep the sewing simple with a straightforward set of muslin-lined napkins, although at the last minute I couldn’t resist hand sewing the top stitching just to make each napkin extra special. You could certainly do a quick machine-sewn running stitch if the timers about to pop on the turkey!

Running Stitch Napkins | Purl Soho

With or without the hand stitching, these Thanksgiving Napkins will dress up the table nicely,  really adding to the richness of your Thanksgiving traditions. If youd like to see all of my previous Thanksgiving napkin projects you can browse our archive here! And Happy Turkey Day! –Molly

Running Stitch Napkins | Purl Soho


To make a set of six napkins, pick up a Materials for Running Stitch Napkins kit containing…


16-inches square



Cut two 17-inch squares from each of the Tana Lawn pieces.

Cut six 17-inch squares from the Muslin.


Pin a Tana Lawn piece to a Muslin piece, right sides together.

Sew the two pieces together with a ½-inch seam allowance, leaving a 3-inch gap unsewn in the middle of one side. Back stitch at the beginning and end of this seam.

Repeat for the five remaining pairs of Tana Lawn and Muslin.


Running Stitch Napkins | Purl Soho

Turn all the napkins right sides out through the unsewn gap and press them flat, making sure their corners are nice and pointy.

Pin the two layers together along all four edges.

Cut a 21-inch length of the Pearl Cotton and tie a simple overhand knot 4 inches from one end. Thread the opposite end through a hand sewing needle.

You will use the Pearl Cotton to stitch the two sides together with a small running stitch. Starting a few inches from a corner and 1/8 inch from the edge, insert the needle through the Tana Lawn side of the napkin and exit on the muslin side. There will be a 4-inch tail of Pearl Cotton on the Tana Lawn side. Ignore it for now.

Running Stitch Napkins | Purl Soho

Take a series of roughly 1/8-inch running stitches parallel to the edge of the napkin, 1/8 inch in from the edge. You can take a few stitches at a time as you go, as shown above.

Running Stitch Napkins | Purl Soho

When you have 5 inches left of the Pearl Cotton, make a French knot on the Tana Lawn side of the napkin. Wrap the thread twice tightly around the end of the needle close to the threads exit point.

Running Stitch Napkins | Purl Soho

Then insert the tip of the needle right at the point where you just came out and pull it through just the Tana Lawn layer, exiting an inch away. Pull the thread through, which will create a French knot. Snip the thread at the exit point to hide the end.

Please note, all beginning and ending knots will be on the Tana Lawn side of the napkin.

Running Stitch Napkins | Purl Soho

To hide the tails, thread each onto a hand sewing needle. Insert the needle into just the Tana Lawn layer, right next to the knot. Pull it through just the Tana Lawn layer, exiting about an inch away. Snip the thread end at the exit point to hide it. Repeat with all the ends and youre all done!