Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lunchbox Napkins

Two sets of colorful napkins for two children. . . for each day of the school week. . . yes, I have made "day of the week" lunchbox napkins!

Don't ask me what prompted me to do this. We have plenty of cloth napkins, and we have been using them this year even in school and work lunchboxes. It may have been the bright Kona cotton solids on sale for half off at the beginning of January. It may have been the reason to try one of Amy Karol's fabric decorating ideas. It gave me an excellent excuse to practice using some of the decorative stitches on my inherited Pfaff Hobbymatic 955. But most of all, it was the desire to make the daily chore of packing lunchboxes a little brighter and give my children a colorful reminder of home.

It was a gratifying project that took four weekends:
  • one weekend to buy the fabric, wash it, and iron it
  • one weekend to cut the fabric (using the size guidelines and instructions here) and let the children pick out their color combinations
  • one weekend to apply the bleach pen to the top fabric and re-wash it (spelling out the day of the week on one edge and the children's names on the other edges of the napkin)
  • and this weekend to put the napkins together, sew them, and try out the fancy stitches.
The bleach pen took a little practice, and I would be more careful next time about applying enough to make my lettering bolder and more consistent. None of the local craft stores in town had the metal, precision tip (discovered after an afternoon of searching), so I ordered it from Joann Fabric and Craft Stores. I messed up several times trying out the decorative stitches on the sewing machine, but I learned several things by trial and error that will help me next time I want to use these. For the decorative borders, I used bright blue thread for my son and bright pink thread for my daughter so that we can easily tell the napkins apart when putting them away.

I think this project would make a sweet gift for anyone who mostly takes their lunch to work or school each day. It was the perfect way to spend a cold and slightly snowy day.

P.S. As reported by my 10-year-old daughter, taking cloth napkins to elementary school in Mississippi is just a little counter-cultural. When her friends asked her why she had fabric in her lunch box, she explained about global warming and reducing waste. I love that she tells me about conversations like this. Who knows, maybe we'll start a new trend!

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Carrie Bevell Partridge said...

So bright, cheery, and pretty! What a great idea!

Jen said...

They're wonderful! How creative!

mrs. misenar said...

you are too cool.

blujaded said...

Very cute idea! I also have the Hobbymatic 955, and can't get it to make the fancy stitches - they all come out straight. The manual is vague, and I'm not sure if it's user or machine error. If you don't mind my asking, how did you set up your machine to make the stitches on the napkins?