First of all, let me say thank you so much for all the lovely and encouraging comments I received on yesterday's post. I really, truly appreciate it, and you all made me feel much better about where I am right now. :)
So today I was in the mood to do something self-sufficient-ish. I decided on making homemade napkins. I have wanted to make some cloth napkins for a while now, but I couldn't find any that were affordable at the thrift store (really, the Value Village near me is ridiculously expensive), and I wasn't sure what I could make them out of. I knew I wanted it to be something soft and absorbent, and preferably free.
Finally I figured out what to do. I had an old cotton tablecloth that my grandmother had given me. It was already quite old when she gave it to me, and at our house it's been washed and used so many times that it had developed a few holes (see picture below). And it had some pretty bad stains, too. But I was able to cut 5 good sized squares out of the good areas.
That part was easy. After that, the frustrations began. First of all, this fabric was so old and worn and soft that it was very hard to work with! It was difficult even to press the hems, it just kept rolling all over the place. And while I was doing that, I accidentally melted my new seam gauge with the iron. I was trying to make mitered corners, using these instructions, but I accidentally cut way too much fabric off the first corner...No big deal I thought, on to the sewing, which is the fun part! But then when I was trying to fold over the messed up corner and sew it, my needle broke. I put in a larger size of needle, and then that one immediately broke! (I'm not sure why...are the really cheap needles really not able to go through several layers of fabric?) I put in one more needle and that one allowed me to finish the first napkin, but alas, by then the baby was crying...so after about an hour of work, I only had one napkin complete.
I thought making napkins out of such an old tablecloth was a great idea, but I think next time, I won't bother doing this with something so very old, because such worn and thin fabric is so challenging to work with. Lesson learned.