SUNDAY SEWING: Embroidered table napkins

As seen recently on Instagram Live and also on Janome Sewing Machines Facebook Live. I promised I would provide the  written instructions with pics.

The video of the Instagram Live is also available if you have not yet watched it or want to watch it again while you make this project. Just go to Janome Canada Instagram page and scroll down to the photo that shows the little redwork flower pot and IGTV icon. Click and watch the video. It will also be posted shortly to You Tube on the Janome Life channel (Instagram Live playlist).

  1. I am sewing  on the Janome MC15000 for this project BUT the project can be made on ANY of our embroidery machines so long as you have a hoop large enough to group and stitch 4 designs in the centre of the hoop. I could have used the SQ14 hoop and used less stabilizer but I find the SQ23 hoop easier.
  2. SIZE of design: depending on the size of the little embroidery you are going to stitch in the one corner of a napkin, will determine the hoop size. I chose the little redwork flower pot in the FA section of the Mc15000 and the minimum hoop side for that was around 4-5 inches square – so SQ14 could work. So could the RE18 and SQ23 hoops.
  3. Cross stitch monograms  on napkins – these are also built-in designs on the MC15000 – also in the FA hoop section. I stitched in silver metallic thread. Have used other small designs as will show another sample a bit later in the process.
  4. Thread choice: I used Madeira metalllic for the silver monograms above and polyester embroidery thread for the redwork and flowers. Madeira polyneon is one of the thread brands that we distribute in Canada. I wound a bobbin with the SAME red poly embroidery thread >>> reversible embroidery as this is a napkin which people could turn over to the back! If more than 1 colour in the design: then you will need to wind a bobbin for each of the colours and change both needle thread and bobbin each colour change – to make a reversible embroidery.

    Madeira polyneon thread

  5. Red tip needle  
  6. Stabilizer: do you want to pick out little bits of tearaway from the back of your napkins? No? neither do I so a water soluble stabilizer is my preference here. Tearaway will work but then you will have the get all those bits out. On a redwork design – no way. Something more dense with not so many little edges and in-between bits not stitched – maybe.
  7. Bobbin case – yellow dot. What is the difference between the yellow dot bobbin case and the one with the red marking?  Strictly speaking if you are using Janome pre-wound bobbins, you don’t really need to use the yellow dot. If you wound them yourself, yes you do. However, the higher tension pulls the thread to the back more so on something like this napkin or a quilting -in-the-hoop project, we really don’t want that extra build up of thread on the back so the regular red bobbin case would work here – especially if you follow my advice and have a bobbin thread the same as the needle thread.


  • Hoop the water soluble stabilizer Not the fabric.
  • Draw a line vertically and horizontally right across the MIDDLE of the hoop with a marking pen. Line a ruler up with the corresponding markings on each side of the hoop.
  • Clamp the magnets onto the hoop to secure the stabilizer if the hoop uses magnets

Prepare the fabric:

  • poly blend or 100% cotton. For 2 of my sets of napkins I used 100% cotton about 22 inches square – ie I used half the width of the fabric – so I could get 8 napkins out of 22 inches of fabric with a width of 44 inches. The light tan coloured fabric with the red work flower pots was a bit bigger at 28/29 inches square.
  • At the iron: fold the fabric in half vertically with the wrong side of the fabric on the outside. and press a good crease. Fold in half again and press so that you have a vertical and horizontal crease across the middle of your big fabric square. You can mark this with an erasable marking pen if you prefer.
  • Spray the stabilizer in the hoop with a little Artistic Tack adhesive spray.
  • Lay fabric over the hoop and line up the folds with markings made previously on the stabilizer.

Set up the machine for your embroidery:

  • Attach the P embroidery foot on the machine.
  • Insert a new red tip needle.
  • Thread up the needle and insert the bobbin with same red thread.
  • Open the embroidery arm
  • Go to embroidery mode and EDIT screen
  • Select Hoop size as SQ23 (Or hoop size you have decided to use)
  • Touch the house icon bottom left on the screen and the flower icon to go to built -in embroidery designs
  • Select FA hoop design category
  • Select design of your choice – we are using the redwork flowerpot # 6 – It will come into the centre of the edit screen
  • Rotate the design by 45 degrees clockwise using the rotate icon. OK
  • Move this design into the top right quadrant of the hoop and position it 2 blocks up and 2 blocks to the right. Use the stylus pen or the jog key arrows to do this.
  • Now select the Cornering icon on the right hand side of the edit screen. Scroll down to get to it.
  • Voila! You now have 4 flower pots perfectly mirrored from the centre and you are ready to embroider. If your embroidery machines does not have the cornering icon, simply copy and paste and rotate/mirror the designs until you have 4 mirrored exactly around the centre of the fabric.
  • Press OK to go to the Ready to sew screen.
  • Attach the hoop with fabric that was lightly glued in place.
  • BASTE the fabric to the stabilizer using the Trace & baste function. Remember to use the tip I showed about how to pull up bobbin thread: press start TWICE so that the needle stops in top right corner before starting to baste. Use needle up/down TWICE to bring up the bobbin thread. Hold both threads and press start again to baste. This helps “catch” the bobbin thread which needs a little help as the stitch for basting is long and has a very loose tension  – which is what you want in order to easily remove the basting later.
  • Touch cross hair so you can follow the progress of the embroidery.
  • It is just under 4000 stitches and 6 mins of embroidery.
  • Press Start to set machine going. Change both bobbin and needle thread colours each time if you have more than 1 colour in your design.

How to finish the napkins once the embroidery is completed:

  • Cut down the centre vertical and horizontal with a rotary cutter and ruler which you pressed before the embroidery.
  • You will now have 4 table napkins with raw edges.
  • End off these edges: you could use the narrow hem/rolled hem foot to make a narrow hem  check out this link. We have an Instagram Live this week on Thursday 4th June about how to use the Janome Narrow hem foot D. Watch at 1pm Eastern @janomecanada
  • OR you could serge a rolled hem around the edge with your Janome serger.

Have fun creating personalized monogrammed  or embellished napkins for  your home or as special gifts for friends and family.

Sunday Sewing? ……..what are you up to today? 

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2 Responses to SUNDAY SEWING: Embroidered table napkins

  1. ---- says:

    Where can I get the flower pot redwork design you used?


    • lizafrica says:


      It is a built-in redwork design on the Janome MC15000. It is also a built in design on the Janome MC120000. We did, at one time, have a Janome Redwork embroidery collection on CD but I don’t know if we still have inventory of these. But you can ask your favorite dealer to check if this is still available? Not sure as it was a long time ago. Please note that I have not checked to see if the flower pot is on this CD. Sorry, but I don’t have access to that Redwork CD at the moment – with the Pandemic I’m not able to ask a coworker to check as most of us are working from home. Sorry.



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