How to thorn stitch napkins

Make Mollie Johanson's linen napkins embellished with thorn stitch blooms to pretty up your dining table or picnic.

thorn stitch napkin designs

You will need

  • Linen fabric: 32 x 32cm (13 x 13in)
  • Quilting cotton: 32 x 32cm (13 x 13in)
  • Stranded cotton in green, yellow and blue
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Basic sewing kit
  • Matching thread
  • a template: download the Simply Sewing issue 59 templates for this template

Note

Use a 1cm (38in) seam allowance unless otherwise stated.

how to sew Thorn Stitch Napkins done5
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Working thorn stitch

Step 1

Come up at the bottom of the line of thorn stitch and go back down at the top. Leave the long stitch slightly loose. Come up on one side a short distance from the long stitch and go back down just on the other side of the centre line.

needle and thread demonstrating thorn stitch

Step 2

Come up on the second side a short distance from the centre line and go back down just on the other side.

needle and thread demonstrating thorn stitch

Step 3

Repeat the steps along the line. Always work the ‘thorns’ in the same order, from right to left and left to right.

needle and thread demonstrating thorn stitch

Making the napkin

Step 4

Embroider the flower pattern on the corner of the square of linen. Stitch the stems with thorn stitch, the flower with lazy daisy stitch, and the tiny dots with French knots. Use six strands of embroidery thread for the flower and stems and three strands for the dots.

hand stitched flower pattern on the corner of a napkin

Step 5

Pin the embroidered square to the quilting cotton square with right sides (RS) together. Sew around the sides with a 7mm (¼in) seam allowance, leaving an opening for turning. Trim the corners to reduce bulk.

napkin sewn to quilting cotton right sides together

Step 6

Turn the napkin RS out and then press the seams open. Now neatly stitch the opening closed by hand.

Step 7

To finish, stitch around the edges of the napkin with three strands of stranded cotton and running stitch.

napkin with edge stitching
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Top tip: Embroider the flowers on just one corner of the napkin for a more simple look as we have, or stitch one in each corner for added detail.

thorn stitch napkin designs