Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Quilted Turkey Napkin Rings And Napkins for Thanksgiving

These fun little turkeys are just waiting for you to make them for your thanksgiving table.

Many years ago I made this set of napkin rings for our traditional thanksgiving dinner table. They have become a little dated, but it does not matter they are part of our family tradition and will continue to adorn our Thanksgiving dinner table. I was fortunate to come across the pattern recently and thought I would post it in case anyone would like to start their own tradition.
I can really see them made in a more up to date linen for the napkins, or even a very popular burlap. I am thinking of maybe changing just the napkins just to give them a new look.

They are such a simple design and take very little time to make, if you have some sewing experience. They are not a five minute project. They are really easy to use as well, you fold your napkin in half and then fold it in a fan and insert it into the turkey ring holder and that is the "tail" of the turkey. I have always just fanned them out onto the plate and this has been my dinner table decor. I am afraid I have not done much to break from this over the years as this just seams to work. I may have changed the floral arrangement slightly, but that is all.

The supplies to make the napkins and napkin rings are as follows
These quantities make a set of four napkins and napkin rings. I do not know about you but as far as Thanksgiving dinner goes you may have to times this by four or five to get the right number of rings. They go together pretty fast so that is a good thing.

1 meter of 115 cm width fabric for the napkins in the fabric of your choice
1 meter of 115 cm width fabric for the napkin rings (this fabric can be of multiple prints)
small scraps of red and yellow fabric for the beaks and waddle
.25 meter of 115 cm width of quilters fleece
5.5 meters of 1 inch single fold bias tape in a colour of your choice (I did not use this) I made strips of denim .25 meter twill in yellow for the ring on the back of the turkeys (or to match lining colour)
4 metres of medium rickrack
4 meters of 1 or 2 1/2 inch trims in different colours of your choice
matching threads
Black embroidery floss for eyes ( I used blue beads)
scraps of fusible web (any brand)

Cut four 46 cm squares for the napkins, from the 2 meter fabric. Finish the edges of all of the napkins with a narrow hem. If you have a Serger you can use a rolled hem if you wish. Finish one edge of your napkin with two or three trims of your choice. I used red rick rack and yellow bias tape for my two trims, to co-ordinate with the embellishments on the front of the turkey. Be sure to fold under the trim at the edges of the napkin on each side. Set aside the napkins.  My napkins are made of quilters cotton in an autumn pattern of pumpkins, gourds and corn. All of the napkins are made of the same fabric. The napkin rings are made from different quilters cottons of assorted brown prints. You could do yours how ever you chose. They could be country like mine, or they could be elegant in linen or satin. The options are limitless to the imagination. I do believe I will make some new napkins this year. Just for a new look.

As you can see there is trim added along one edge to mimic the plumage of the turkey tail. On this napkin I have used yellow bias tape and red rick rack along one edge of the napkin. The other three edges are left plain with just a hemmed edge. When the napkin is folded in half and then pleated you do not see the other edges.

Cut out the body of the turkey from fabric, lining and fleece. Apply fusible web to the red and gold fabric and then cut out the beak and waddle pattern pieces. Apply the waddle and then the beak to the front of the turkey cutout. Iron in place following manufacturers instructions for your fusible web. Use a short zigzag stitch in corresponding red and yellow threads to the pieces to applique them in place. Either use black floss to stitch embroider the eyes or stitch on two blue (you can use other colours) beads for the eyes. Put the front and the fleece together and stitch the wing lines on with a straight stitch (or you could do a hand embroidered stitch here if you desired).

For the rings cut four 8.5 cm x 18.5 cm strips of fabric. You can cut 8.5 cm strips longer and sew them and then cut them to length later as this is much easier. You are going to fold the strip in half length wise and sew it with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. You will then cut it into 8.5 cm lengths. Turn your strips right sides out and press it. Top stitch down both sides to give it a nice finish. I used a zigzag stitch and it looks very nice and clean. See the pattern for placement lines.

Pin the strip to the lower back of each body lining piece as indicated on the pattern. Place the strip between the two notches and baste in place. Stitch along the two stitch lines on the strip and the lining only. Put the front and back pieces of the body together and stitch with a 1/4 inch seam allowance between the dots. Leaving an opening at the bottom of your turkey for turning. Clip and notch any curves to help your turkey lay flat. Turn your turkey right side out and press. Your almost done, blind stitch the opening at the bottom closed.

Take the napkin you set aside and fold it in half with the trim on the top of on half. Fold the napkin in an fan or accordion pleat and tuck the end that does not have trim into the ring. Fan out the napkin as the tail of your turkey.

I like to place the napkin in the centre of each plate facing each diner. Somehow they have their own personality and children love them. You could embroider a name on the back of each of them just for fun. It could be part of a new Thanksgiving tradition to see who got which turkey.

I made a new set of napkins, using a dark brown fabric, with a brown on brown pattern. I then used a very small yellow rick rack and a red ribbon and then a yellow ribbon trim. To speed things up now that I have a Serger I did a narrow rolled hem around the outer edge of the napkin rather than a narrow hem. I used an orange wooly nylon and a red thread in a two thread rolled hem.

This is what I had on hand so this is what I used. To make sewing the trim on much faster and easier and keep it nice and straight I glued it in place using a washable glue stick. I find this works very well as long as you let the glue dry totally before you sew it. I also use a product called sewers aid on my needle when I am using glue stick to hold my trims. It just helps keep my needle sliding through whatever I am sewing without getting hung up. You can find sewers aid where ever sewing notions are sold.

The glue stick works much better than pins to keep trims in place. I am liking the change from a country print to more of a solid. It is not such a big change as to take away from tradition, but it is enough to bring it out of the eighties and into a new generation. I hope you agree too.

One down, nineteen more to go.

Here's the pattern for the turkey napkin ring. Click here to download!

Happy Sewing

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