Around Christmastime I get a momentous rush to make things. It is the dark, cold time of year that most prompts me to make things that are beautiful as well as practical. It is the time when I am most likely to indulge in things purely decorative, but also to make handsome things that might otherwise be purely utilitarian.
I have, for a while now, been building a dinner set. Like most households I have a daily use mix of mishmash dinnerware, but I wanted a nice set that worked together, but I also needed to make it as inexpensive as I could. Simple supermarket dishes in a navy blue, blue glassware, gold accents.
As winter approached I finally made good my idea to make some napkins. To match the table theme I chose a lovely larkspur print in navy and gold. The gold is not a metallic over print, it is part of the cotton and truly more of a dark green-buff colour than actual gold, but with the contrasting colour makes it appear gold to the eye).
From a 150cm length of fabric, which I preached and ironed, I managed to cut 12 squares, each measuring 36cm. I had intended to make single-ply napkins to produce enough for two sets of six, but after consideration I decided on six double-sided napkins, the better looks and durability winning me over.
These were machine sewn, right-sides facing, with an 8cm turning gap, invisibly ladder stitched shut by hand, before being stitched 1cm from the edge to help them wash well and keep their shape.
I haven’t even laid the table with all of the new dinnerware yet, and though I could do this at any time I somehow find myself wanting to wait until the winter feasts. I’m catering for guests this year, so my treat to myself is going to be allowing myself to enjoy the act of laying the table out with all the beautiful, practical things I have chosen and made myself.