The serviettes or table napkins should be neatly and tastefully folded when first put on the table. In ordinary family use they are often folded smoothly and slipped through napkin rings made of silver, ivory or bone; in fact, after the first use this is usually done, each member of the family having his own marked ring. In the following pages we give instructions and illustrations showing many ways of making these useful articles an ornament to the table, but these fancy designs are not fashionable in the household now, and the serviette should simply be folded neatly and laid flat on the plate.
The accompanying engravings depict the designs most in favour and the methods of folding them. It must, however, be remembered that it is useless to attempt anything but the most simple forms unless the napkins have been slightly starched and smoothly ironed. In every case the folding must be exact, or the result will be slovenly and unsightly.
The usual size of these indispensable accompaniments to the dinner table is a square measuring about 30 inches. The designs in the following pages are worked out with a square serviette, and there is a diagram showing how each fold is made and the effect that is produced in every case.
A small dinner roll or a piece of bread cut thick, about 3 inches square, should be placed in each napkin, when such designs as "The Boar's Head," "The Mitre," or "The Bishop," are used, and the appearance of the dinner-table may be greatly improved by putting a flower or small bouquet in napkins folded into patterns like "The Vase" and "The Rose."