Setting the Table: Sewing 101


In New York City most apartments are on the small side.  We live in shoe boxes.  Most of us all live on tight budgets.  And most of us are single and like to go out.  Sometimes though it is nice to entertain, even in our little shoe box.  I used to live in a 300 square foot apartment.  My husband to this day makes fun of it.  It was my bed, my work table, and 3 cats.  Plus a few bookcases here and there.  It was cozy.  It was in Hells Kitchen which is a very fun place to hang out in and filled with history.  Even though I lived in a small studio I still liked to have friends over.  I didn't have chairs or a dining table but we could have drinks and appetizers.  Entertaining is nice, pleasant, cozy and personal.

The next few weeks I will be posting a series of DIY called Setting the Table.  You don't need to be an expert sewist to do these projects but it will help if you know the machine.  

There will be projects for every living situation.  We will start with simple and easy, a napkin.

double sided napkin using Liberty Wiltshire backed with muslin

tea towel  (spoon by   Cor Pottery)

tea towel  (spoon by Cor Pottery)

Moving on to a tea towel with hanging loop.

felt octagon coasters (mug by LennyMud )

felt octagon coasters (mug by LennyMud )

Felt coasters

Table cloth

Embroidered placemats

Quilted table runner

table runner and coaster

table runner and coaster

Each above item can be used in any table setting, big or small, casual or formal.  What will determine the feel is what fabric you use.

The first project, the double sided napkin, can be used for every day meals or only when special meals with guests are held.


  • For 4 Reversible Napkins
  • 1 yard of 44" wide fabric - quilting cotton, broadcloth, or light to medium weight cotton woven fabric
  • 1 yard of 44" wide
  • 200 count muslin
  •  I use the higher count muslin because it is much softer than regular dress maker's muslin
  • matching cotton or poly machine thread.  I prefer Gutterman brand but Coats and Clark is also good.
  • Size 10 machine needle

All fabric should be pre-washed.

1. You can layer both pieces of fabric on top of each other for cutting.   Cut out 4 18" squares.

I use a rotary knife to make sure I cut a completely even square

2.  Lay one piece of muslin and one piece of your print face to face.  Muslin has no face so just choose one side.  Pin it together.  Sew 3/8" seam allowance on all sides leaving a 4" opening.  When you are sewing the sides continue with one seam,  you will pivot when you get to each corner.  Start your sewing in the middle of one of the seam allowances, so don't start at a corner.  Press with a steam iron.

The face is the nice side. 

Pivot at the corners

 3. Pivoting: Leave your needle in at the corner, raise your presser foot and turn the fabric to sew the next seam.

Leave a 4" opening so you can turn the napkin back to the right side.

Clip corners before turning out

4. Clip corners before turning back to the right side. This reduces bulk and will help you get nice pointy corners.  Use a point turner for this.  I like the bamboo kind.

5. After turning out, press with a steamy iron. And sew around all 4 sides using a 1/4" seam allowance. And press again.

 Finished! Beautiful and soft spring napkins!

The next post will be making a tea towel with hanging utility loop.




In the Kitchen with The {NewNew}

Members of The {NewNew} create some fantastic treats for your home.  Deck out your kitchen and dining table with handcrafted ceramics, light switches, magnets, coasters and more!  Our featured designers are just as creative when it comes to cooking too.  Each one has shared a favorite recipe

Kitschy Retro Light Switch Cover
by LuCrafts
Lu's Apple Crisp
Lu strives to add a "little lovely to every day."  Light switch covers and magnets in a range of patterns are available in her shop LuCrafts. The name of this recipe should really be Lu's Lovely Apple Crisp! It is baked just long enough so that the apples that get soft but not mushy and the topping gets crisp and wonderful. You can warm up leftovers in the microwave.  And don't forget the vanilla ice cream. 

6 large Granny Smith apples
2 tbls white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbls lemon juice
1/4 cup butter
3/4/cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
Peel, core, and cut apples into quarters then cut each quarter into 3-4 slices. Place in buttered pan. Sprinkle with lemon juice, white sugar and cinnamon. With a fork, mix the brown sugar and flour. Using 2 knives or your hands, cut in butter until you have coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Bird on a Branch Wood Coasters
by Peppersprouts
Peppersprouts Peppered Up Margarita
A full time graphic designer who says she has too many ideas for things to make!  Visit her shop Peppersprouts to see the results of some of those ideas.  In the meantime, give this Peppered up Margarita a try and be sure to use a coaster.

1 chili pepper (pick based on you heat preference)
1/2 cup tequila
1/4 cup Cointreau or Grand Marnier
2 tbls fresh lime or Rose's Lime juice
Slice the pepper into thin strips and rub it around the rim of a chilled margarita glass.  Drop a pepper strip into the glass. Fill cocktail shaker half full with ice and add tequila, Cointreau or Grand Marnier and lime juice. Shake vigorously and strain into glass.

Linda's Jazzed-Up Curried Lentils
Linda is not only known for her adorable bright colored birds and decorative magnets, she is also famous for this Lentil recipe.  I'm so glad she shared it with us!  Visit her shop PurtyBird.
2 large onions
2 carrots
3-4 large stalks celery
2 Gala apples 
4 cloves garlic
1 pkg. dry red lentils
1 handful anise seed (more or less to taste)
3-4 handfuls raisins
3-4 tbls curry powder (more or less to taste)
6-8 cups water
Salt to taste

Saute onions, garlic and celery in enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot until translucent. Add anise and let cook approx. 2 minutes. Add lentils and water, then apples, carrots and curry. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for approximately 1 hour or until lentils are cooked. Add raisins. Continue cooking over low heat for another hour or two. Salt to taste.  Can be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated to allow the flavors intermingle and develop.

May Luk's Pineapple Pound Cake with Pineapple Rum Glaze
May's unique ceramics are both beautiful and functional.  Working with clay and glaze, May creates each of the items in her shop MayLuk by hand.   Try your hand with a different king of glaze, a delicious pineapple pound cake with pineapple rum glaze.

Eat Pink Platter
by MayLuk
Whole wheat pastry flour - 2.5 cups
Butter - 1 stick unsalted at room temperature
Sour Cream - 1 cup
Eggs - 3,  separated
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Vanilla - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Baking Soda - 1.5 tsp
Crushed Pineapple - 1 cup  drained

Whip egg white until stiff on high. About 3 minutes. Set aside. Mix flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.  Whip butter for one minute. Then add in the sugar mix well. Add in the egg yokes and mix well. Then add the vanilla. Alternately add in the flour mixture and the sour cream and mix well. Add in pineapple and rum, mix well. By hand, slowly fold in the egg white. Do not over-mix
Pour the batter into a buttered bundt pan. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 deg F for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean and the edges are slightly golden brown.

Pineapple Rum Glaze
Cream Cheese - 4oz   (1/2 package) at room temperature
Butter - 1/4 stick at  room temperature
Powder Sugar - 3 tbsp
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Salt - pinch
Crushed Pineapple - 1 cup drained
Bermuda Gold Liqueur - 2 tbsp. Add more to taste.

Beat cream cheese and butter on high until well mixed. Add in the remaining ingredients and beat until it's nice and fluffy.  Mix in pineapple and rum. Serve with cake.

Hope you enjoy these recipes and hanging out in the kitchen with The{NewNew}.  For more kitchen and dining related items visit the In The Kitchen treasury on Etsy.

Ellis Design 

Get Your Spring Bake On! Coconut Lime Chip Cookies

Spring is in the air and Earth Day is just around the corner. I like to combine these two events with celebration cookies, although really I can use any event as an excuse for the baking of cookies!

How can sweets possibly relate to eco-friendliness, spring time and Earth Day all at once, you ask? Oh, but I will tell you.

All my recipes are vegan, which means using no animal-derived ingredients. A large part of my veganism comes from my concern for the environment and the impact that a plant based diet can have. If everyone in the United States ate even a vegetarian diet for seven days, the impact would be the same as removing all of the cars from the roads in the US. It is also important to bake often in the spring time, because soon it will be 110 degrees in your tiny NYC apartment with no air conditioning and the idea of turning on the oven is horrifying!

With that I give you:

Coconut Lime White Chip Cookies

1/3 c shredded coconut
1/4 c sugar
1 1/4 c flour, unbleached all purpose
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda

1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c canola oil
2 T soymilk
2 T lime juice

zest of 1 lime

1/4 c or more vegan white chips

Mix the wet ingredients, maple syrup through lime juice in a medium bowl.
Mix the dry ingredients, coconut through baking soda in a large bowl.
Add the dry to the wet and mix, adding in the lime zest. Don't overmix.
Add the white chips and fold in.
Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Let cool 3-5 minutes before removing from pan.

Some {NewNew} selections to help you get your spring bake on!

A sweet Baking Betty Apron with Hawaiian Print from Meegun. Get out your mixing bowls! Whisk!
Serve those cookies up on an Brooklyn Chinoiserie Platter from MayLuk.

And finally, wow your guests with Recycled Cloth Napkins from cakehouse rather than the paper ones you collect from the deli.