Make a tea towel

By Molly Freudenberg, April 6, 2011

Making a kitchen tea towel is easy.  Once you choose the right fabric, and understand the basic methods of making a tea towel, you can make tons of them in no time flat.  They make fabulous hostess gifts and are the perfect base for your embroidery, applique, and even screen printing projects.  Plus, they’re totally useful -who can’t use a cute, and absorbent towel around the house. ( Want to see how I did the embroidery? Check out our review of Sublime Stitching’s embroidery patterns here >)
Choosing The Fabric
It is important to choose a relatively thick, heavy duty fabric for this project.  High thread count, 100 percent cotton tends to work best.  You can choose a plain fabric, or one with a pattern — it is up to you.

What you’ll need for this project

  • Heavy cotton fabric
  • A sewing machine or needle and thread if you’re very, very patient
  • An iron
  • Measuring tape or a ruler
  • Something to mark your fabric -a pencil works just fine and should wash out

Here’s how to make your custom kitchen tea towel:
Start by cutting your fabric.  The cut size of this tea towel his 19 inches by 27 inches.  (Once you have hemmed the entire piece, you’re finished size will be about 16.5 inches by 24.5 inches.)
Next you will iron your hems in place before sewing, starting with the sides then folding over the tops.  Measure 1/2 inch on each edge and use your fingers to press the fold across the entire length of each side.  Next, iron your folds flat.

 

You will fold each folded edge over once more and iron that flat as well.

Do the same with the top and bottom edges.

You can sew the side hems first or iron the top folds the same way and sew them all at once. I used a zig zag stitch in the picture below but a straight stitch works just as well.

If you haven’t already,  fold over the top and bottom to make a clean edge just as you have the sides, then sew across each to finish your tea towel.

Iron your fully sewn tea towel so it looks pretty and you’re done!

Caring for your new tea towel
Your kitchen towel will be a multi-purpose item -you’ll want to care for this to protect any design you applied to it, and also make sure that the fabric is not treated in a way that will decrease its absorbency.  Fabric softeners coat the fibers of your fabric, making them far less absorbent, so when you are wondering your kitchen towels and tea towels, make sure you avoid fabric softener or other additives.

Ironing
If you are using a cotton/linen or other wrinkle-prone fabric, you’ll need to iron these – especially if these are your “good” tea towels (i.e. the ones that only appear when guests come over – not on everyday kitchen duty!) When ironing anything that has embroidery, you’ll place it design side down on a triple piece of fabric to avoid smashing stitches.  I have found that using a spray bottle with plain water while ironing cotton fabrics helps get the wrinkles out more easily as well.

Comments

comments

3 Comments

  1. [...] Selling Crafts « Make a tea towel [...]

  2. Rachel says:

    That’s super cute! What a great basic to be able to make. Thanks for the how-to, I’ll be linking.

  3. [...] it turns out that making your own tea towel is super easy. And then you can embroider it with cute things. Because that’s pretty much [...]

  4. I found middle weight to heavy linen makes an excellent towel. It just gets better the more you use and wash it.

  5. pebblesbaby42@hotmail.com says:

    wow that was really great, and the easy to follow instructions made it all the easier i have made to tea towels in 3 days, i do alot of cross stitching and have tried alot of different waxs for the string but my string still knots have any other ideas i can try thanks

    lizzie