in this blog post you can find easy instructions on how to sew a dish towel out of old linen and fabric remnants.
Today, on the fourth day of our advent calendar, I would like to show you a quick, sustainable, and practical gift idea: We will be sewing a modern dish towel out of old linen and fabric remnants.
I have a habit of collecting old linen (pillows, cloths, sheets, or offcuts) that I have inherited or purchased at the flea market. I like this durable natural material with its unevenness that was once so commonplace in every household and now is so quickly gotten rid of. And it still works well today.
Material and Preparation
For this dish towel you will need:
- Old linen the size of a dish towel. The normal size of a dish towel is 40 cm x 60 cm or 50 cm x 70 cm plus 1 cm seam allowance on each of the four sides. I don’t go strictly by these measurements. Instead, the available piece of linen will determine the size. For example, after cutting the side seams I got exactly three towels out of one pillowcase.
- 100 % cotton thread
- Fabric remnants of your choosing – a variety of colors, remnants of a charm pack, …
Before you start working with your linen, wash it in the washing machine on hot with heavy duty laundry detergent. This will remove most stains that sometimes occur. Then iron the linen with a hot iron using steam. If you want to divide a larger piece of linen into smaller pieces: Linen tears wonderfully and you will end up with edges ready for thread.
Cut or tear the edges along a straight line and also iron the fabric remnants with a hot iron using steam so that any possible shrinkage is taken care of beforehand. Next you need to cut the fabric remnants, for example, into rectangles with an edge that is 6 cm long. The other edge can be of any width.
Sewing the Strips of Cloth
Now sew the pieces of material onto each other along the 6 cm long edges. You can determine your own seam allowance. Since I prefer sewing with the #97 patchwork foot, I will be using a seam allowance of 1/4″.
Sew a strip that must be as long as the dish towel is wide.
Now iron the seams and separate and iron the seam allowances.
Then iron both long edges of the strip, each one centimeter to the left. Here you should use your fingers to determine the length of a centimeter. You could also draw a guideline with a trick marker 2 cm from the edge or iron directly with a seaming iron.
Your strips should look like this:
Now, using a trick marker or tailor’s chalk, draw a line at an interval of 12 cm to the lower edge of the dish towel.
Place and attach the previously sewn strips on this edge.
The strips are now stitched close to the edge using the #10 edge stitch foot. Afterwards, pin down the other side of the strip. When doing so, make sure that the strips are lying smooth and straight.
This edge is likewise stitched close to the edge.
Then the strips of material should be sewn firmly onto the linen. If the strips protrude over the edge, you can shorten them as needed.
Completing the Dish Towel
Now we only need to hem the four edges of the dish towel and sew in a loop to hang it with.
First iron the long edges of the towel one centimeter – I prefer using a marking line at an interval of 2 cm.
After that, turn it once more and iron.
Pin the edge firmly and sew close to the edge using the #10 edge stitch foot. For this, I moved the needle two positions to the right.
Repeat this double step on both narrow sides of the dish towel. A loop can be sewn onto the top edge. Take an approx. 12 cm long cotton band and place it as follows on the middle underside of the edge.
Make sure that everything is tucked neatly inside along the corners of the towel. To get a beautiful seam beginning with backstitching, secure the upper thread and bobbin thread when you start sewing.
Alternatives with Remnants from a Charm Pack
Maybe you have remnants from a charm pack? I have halved nine leftover 5″ squares and sewn them together.
The strips here are wider but, with the help of the pattern from the fabric series, a precious dish towel can be made.
I hope you have fun rummaging around for linen in your closets. Wishing you happy and relaxed sewing during this advent season!