Buffet Napkins

We recently hosted 25 dinner guests for Thanksgiving Dinner. Uff da, what a party.  We have an old home which means lots of small rooms, including the dining room. To seat the guests we had to think outside the box and move quickly.

While my husband carved the turkey, I asked a few guests to move some furniture from the living room and replace it with a folding table and chairs.

As time and space were at a premium, we left the lovely place settings on a Pinterst Board and went with mis-matched chic. We also went with simple.

A large button whole keeps cutlery tidy.

A large button-hole keeps cutlery tidy.

A few days before the big dinner, I added a large 2 inch button-hole to a couple sets of old napkins.

Here is the “how-to”: Fold the napkin in half, then in thirds. Place the hole in the bottom center panel roughly 1 1/2 inches from the fold. Use the free-hand setting to increase the length if necessary.

A 2 inch button hole- simply cute.

A 2 inch button-hole, simply cute.

Before guests arrive add your cutlery to your buffet napkins and layer in a basket.

Keep settings simple when serving large numbers.

Keep settings simple when serving large numbers.

Once the tables are up, place the buffet napkins on the table. Wa-lah. Easy, quick place settings.

A simple button hole makes setting the table quick and beautiful.

A large button-hole makes setting the table quick and beautiful.

I have to admit I don’t own dozens of cloth napkins. I borrowed a bunch and refrained from adding a button-hole to those. Instead I slipped on a napkin ring and tucked the cutlery in with the cloth.

Unfortunately some of the napkin rings were a bit slim. For those remaining settings I tied the cutlery together with heavy string and placed on top of the napkin.

Our 3 tables were up and set in less than 10 minutes.

A quick addition of candles from the mantle and we had a touch of ambiance.

Despite our lack of  tablescape, I think we pulled off a perfect evening.  We were able to visit with our guests and enjoy great food with little fuss and even less stress. For that, I am truly grateful.




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22 thoughts on “Buffet Napkins

    • Becky, I think you should! This was a pretty quick & easy project. They will be fun BBQs and picnics this summer too. Flip the cutlery around to keep it bug free.

  1. Love this idea! Also with a big group, it keeps the silverware together, and prevents accidental drops of someone’s knife/fork/ whatever off the table before the dinner even starts. (after pouring the wine they are on their own, but this way the table stays set and together while everyone is finding their place!)
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  2. Savannah Miller says:

    Button holes are a great idea!! Sadly I don’t host my own dinner we go to family, but I always do a mock dinner at my house for my hubby and kids. We have some cute cloth Christmas Napkins that this would work with 🙂

  3. Wow! This is simple, elegant and awesome! Great idea! Thanks for sharing, love it!

  4. I love how these napkins hold the silverware. Very decorative too. Sounds like you had a really nice Thanksgiving meal. Just the way the day was meant to be spent.
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  5. katherine bartlett says:

    I love these! I would love to give them to my mom

  6. This is way cool! Although I’m a little old fashioned and like them on the sides of the plate.

  7. love the button hole idea! Now, I just need to learn how to do that on my sewing machine…and buy some cloth napkins!

  8. I found flat sheets, plain ones..make great napkins. You can cut them to size and sew around the edge or use no fray on them and pitch when done.

    My little ones stamp the napkins and they love them. I like being able to toss them after the event.
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