The bishop’s hat napkin folding technique can transform any table from plain to elegant. A quality damask napkin is a good choice for the bishop’s hat fold. The double-weave damask is thicker than a cotton blend and holds the fold better. Crocheted or lace napkins are not recommended for this napery technique. Creating a bishop’s hat fold is easiest with a square napkin. A larger 20-inch-by-20-inch napkin (dinner-sized napkin) works quite well.
Before you begin folding the napkins, be sure to lightly starch and iron the linens. Starched napkins respond better to folds and may repel various stains. Folding a beautiful cloth napkin into an elegant bishop’s hat can be achieved in six steps.
Begin by laying the napkin flat on a hard surface. Fold the napkin in half so it resembles a rectangle with the open ends facing you. Lightly iron the fold to set the crease.
Take the upper right-end corner and fold it diagonally towards you, so the point rests in the center of the open ends of the rectangle. The napkin should now look like a square attached to a triangle. Iron lightly to set the fold.
Now take the bottom left-end corner and fold it diagonally away from you so its point rests at the top and it lies next to the previous fold. This fold will rest next to the closed end of the previous fold. It is important to iron this fold. You may also starch it lightly.
Flip the napkin over so that one end points to the upper left and the other points to the lower right. Take the bottom closed fold and bring it upward so it meets the top closed fold. There will be an upside down triangle shape still poking out from under this folder. Now reach under this fold on the right and pull out the napkin flap so the napkin looks like it has two upside down triangles pointing towards you. Lightly run an iron over the napkin to set this fold.
Roll the left half of the napkin toward the right half until you can tuck the left half’s end under the right side’s triangle. Flip the napkin over and repeat this step with the right side, tucking it into the left.
To finish the bishop’s hat fold, hold the napkin in both hands and by reaching under you can stand and pop the hat open. Press down the top material so the inside area begins to look circular like an actual bishop’s hat. It may take a little finessing to get the shape to look just right.
Always wash your napkins before and as soon as possible after use. A prewash stain remover product can be used to treat any stains like coffee, tea or even lipstick. Be wary when using a fabric softener as it might waterproof the linens making them difficult to clean in the future. A mild detergent is safest with a warm perma-press cycle and a cold-water rinse. The sun can help to bleach any leftover stains so line-drying linens is generally a good option. However, if you use the dryer, choose the perma-press cycle for no more than ten minutes and an eight-minute cool down setting. The napkins need to be remove promptly after drying and laid flat if still damp.
The bishop’s napkin fold can add to the elegance of any specialty luncheon, wedding, holiday, or even a romantic meal. Consider the art of napery by using the bishop’s napkin fold to take your specialty table setting to the next level of elegance.