I've always thought about making a pile of cute cloth napkins. What's stopped me? The thought of making all those narrow hems - the ironing!
However, I've been making lots of receiving blankets lately, which has meant lots of narrow hems. Thankfully, I quickly discovered an easy and quick way to do it.
Instructions for narrow hems usually say to fold the edge over a little bit, iron down, fold it over again, and iron it down again. That takes forever! So, here's a better way to do it:
Fold the edge over a little bit and iron down. Try to fold over less than 1/4 inch, if you can. Don't try to measure your hem while you're folding - that takes way too long! Just eyeball it, and it will turn out just fine.
Then, instead of ironing the second fold, you're just going to sew it! Starting on one side, and folding the hem over as you go, start sewing your hem down. I have found that it works really well to fold it over and hold it with my right hand to apply a little tension while I sew. Don't pull it and make it hard for the machine to sew, but applying just a little tension keeps the hem straight and neat.
Don't bother with fancy mitered corners or anything like that - just fold it over on one side....
...then the other side, and sew.
While it may not be fancy, it looks good, and it's quick and easy.
Another trick I discovered - a zigzag stitch is perfect for narrow hems. Not only does it add interest, but it is great for hiding minor flaws. No one will notice if your stitching isn't perfectly straight!
I was so happy to discover this simple way to hem! It is seriously to fast that I can make a nice big receiving blanket, from start to finish, in about 20 minutes.
I may just get to that pile of cloth napkins one of these days after all!