aka: The One Where I Make the Mistakes so You Don’t Have To. (you’re welcome)
Happy Monday everyone! How about we make some dish towels today? But these aren’t just any dish towels. They are super duper patchwork, reverse applique, seasonal, mistake-free dish towels!
For 1 dish towel you will need:
– 2 16×24 inch rectangles of fabric for the body (I used linen).
– fabric scraps for the patchwork, at least 16 inches long if you’re doing strips like mine.
– A scrap of cheap muslin or broadcloth, at least 16×10 inches.
– some other stuff that I’ll get to in a minute if you keep reading.
Lay out your fabric scraps on the bottom third of your dish towel in a pleasing manner. I made long strips, but you could use any manner of patchwork for this. This could be a great scrap-buster if you piece together lots of small fabric bits too. Or a nice way to use 4 of the 5 different red polka dot fabrics you own. Geez, someone is predictable.
Sew them together! Press! Don’t these instructions sound more exciting with exclamation points?!
Find an image that you would like to feature on your dish towel. Use an everyday shape, or make it seasonal. Just make sure that the shape is very simplistic and doesn’t rely on too many sharp curves or points to give it it’s identity. And watch out for that negative space. For example, this image is NOT a good idea:
Why, yes, this is the image I used. This is the part where I make mistakes so you don’t have to. The problem with this image is that the negative space between the top of the apple and the leaf was too narrow, so I wasn’t able to turn it right side out later. Just make sure you watch out for areas like that and you’ll be ok. Moving the leaf up a half inch would’ve solved my problem.
A good way to find simple images for projects like this is to do a Google Image search, then click on “line drawing” down there on the left. You’ll end up with better search results like this:
Once you have an appropriate image, trace it onto a rectangle of fabric that matches the measurements of your patchwork rectangle. You can use cheap broadcloth or muslin for this fabric.
Lay the fabric with the traced image on top of the right side of your patchwork piece. Pin all around and inside the image.
Sew all around your image directly on the traced line.
Cut out the inside of the image, making sure to clip very close to the stitching lines at any points and clip the seam allowances around curves.
Push the scrap fabric through the image to the back of the patchwork piece. You’ll need a chopstick or other pointy object to push out all the detail areas. Press well.
Lay the patchwork piece over the bottom of one of your main dish towel fabrics.
Use a disappearing ink pen to mark where the top of the patchwork piece hits the dish towel.
Then flip the patchwork piece up so it is laying upside-down and right side down. The top of the patchwork piece should still be aligned with the mark you made. (ignore the pins in this picture – don’t pin yet)
Pull the patchwork piece down so it overlaps the mark you made by about an inch and pin it to the dishtowel:
Sew the patchwork piece down to the dishtowel, using the edge of your presser foot as a guide.
Flip the patchwork piece down and stitch around your shape through the patchwork and dish towel. Wow, wouldya look at that? The apple magically turned into a pumpkin! Bibbity bobbity boo! (this was due to magic, and not the fact that my apple was so hideously wonky at this point that I didn’t want you to see a close-up. Magic.)
Lay the second dish towel rectangle right sides together over the patchworked dish towel. Sew all around the border, leaving a few inches open to turn. Here’s a little trick (one of the many I’ve learned from Oliver + S patterns): Sew down the seam allowances when you leave a little space open like this:
That way, when you turn the whole thing right sides out, the stitching will force the seam allowances to the wrong side, making your job easier when it comes time to press and stitch closed.
Flip the whole thing right side out and press. Edge stitch all around the border, closing the opening as you go.
That’s it! Now hang it up in your kitchen and make sure your whole family knows that it is a decorative dish towel and not actually for wiping your marinara-covered face, thankyouverymuch.
I made a couple seasonal versions.
And of course, you don’t have to use patchwork. A plain length of fabric will work nicely too:
I’m already planning some Christmas and Valentines Day versions too!
Have fun with these and make sure you put any dish towels you make in our flickr group so we can all admire the loveliness!