We {Heart} Handmade - Tea Towels - Week 1

Friday, Dec 20 - posted by Jessica

We are very excited to introduce you to our new 4 week blog series: We {Heart} Handmade!  Each week we will be posting a *new* free tutorial for gifts, home decor, clothing and accessories - and a giveaway to boot!  

Let's get started with our first tutorial: Tea Towels.  

We absolutely love all the fun tea towels from Anthropologie.  We actually each own a few ourselves.  If you were to purchase an embellished set of 3, it might set you back between $60-$80.

 

Now, you're crafty, right?  Even if you're doubtful, this tutorial is for you!  Keep reading, and you'll learn how to create your own original set of 3 for a fraction of the price, using embellishments you probably already have lying around your workspace.

Tea towels make for adorable hostess and housewarming gifts!  They're so customizable, you can make them to fit any gal's style.

We will be making a set of three tea towels; in saturated, bold colors.

Fabric Recommendations: The tea towel itself should be made from a light to medium weight linen as this fabric is durable enough for kitchen use.

Supplies: 3 linen rectangles that are 22" wide by 27" long.  We used Kokka linen for our tea towels.  We love the weight of the linen and all the fun mix and match prints and saturated colors. The three we have picked are:

  • Kokka - Echino Butterfly in Blue
  • Kokka - Echino Nico Patchwork in Multi
  • Kokka - Echino Nico Bicycles in Pink 
    Now you can decide embellishments!  
    We grabbed our big box of ribbons, trim, and buttons and started setting out the ones we liked.  This is where you can really have fun!
     
    We decided on a Linen Stripe for a double ruffle, blue pom-pom trim, vintage french floral ribbon (actually purchased in Paris),  some great Renaissance Ribbon in a Lemon motif, and some pink stripe Linen fabric for an applique.
     Cutting:

    Cut your fabric down to size.  The fabric should be 22" wide x 27" long. Note:If you purchase 3/4 yard of fabric you can create two towels.  So you can make one for you and gift one to a friend.

    Creating the Ruffled Tea Towel:

    1. Hem the top and bottom raw edges of the tea towel.  Turn the raw edge under 1/4" and iron, turn the edge under again 1/4" and iron flat.  Sew across the ironed hem. At this time the raw side edges will be left raw.
    2. Create the ruffle.  Cut two ruffles out of coordinating fabric. Each ruffle should be 40" x 3.5".
    3. Hem the raw bottom edge of the each ruffle. Turn the raw bottom edge up 1/4" and iron, turn the edge up again 1/4" and iron flat. Sew across the ironed hem.
    4. Sew a gathering stitch 1/4" down from the raw top edge of each ruffle. Gather up both ruffles until they are 1/2 the original length. NOTE: If you use Linen for the ruffle like we did, you'll want to use upholstery thread for gathering.  It will take the frustration away, because it won't break while gathering!
    5. Attach one ruffle the bottom finished edge.  The bottom edge of the tea towel should be lined up with the finished bottom raw edge of the tea towel.  The raw side edges should be lined up. Pin the ruffle to the towel.
    6. Sew the ruffle to the tea right along the gathering stitch.
    7. Place the second ruffle right over the first ruffle.  The finished edge of the second ruffle should overlap the raw edge of the first ruffle by 1/2". Pin the ruffle to the tea towel.  
    8. Sew the ruffle to the tea towel right along the gathering stitch.
    9. Pin the ribbon to the tea towel.  The ribbon should cover over the raw top edge of the top ruffle.  Sew the ribbon to the tea towel right along the top and bottom edge (not in the middle).
    10. Hem the right and left side edges of the tea towel. Turn the raw side edges in 1/4" and iron, turn the edge in again 1/4" and iron flat. Sew across the ironed hem.
    11. Embellish as desired.  We sewed on two cute navy bows!
     

    Creating the Pom-Pom Tea Towel with Squirrel Applique:

    1. Hem the top and bottom raw edges of the tea towel.  Turn the raw edge under 1/4" and iron, turn the edge under again 1/4" and iron flat.  Sew across the ironed hem. At this time the raw side edges will be left raw.

    2. Sewing the Squirrel Applique:

    • Print the squirrel applique Here.
    • Cut the squirrel out of coordinating fabric. (If you don't want the squirrel to fray, you can back her with interfacing before attaching to the tea towel.)
    • Embellish as desired (We sewed a bow around this neck).
    • Pin the squirrel to the tea towel.  We recommend pinning her off center about 6-9" from the side edge.
    • Sew around the applique.
      3. Pin the pom-pom trim right along the finished bottom edge. Sew the pom-pom trim to the tea towel.
      4. Hem the right and left side edges of the tea towel. Turn the raw side edges in 1/4" and iron, turn the edge in again 1/4" and iron flat. Sew across the ironed hem. 
      Note: if you machine is not powerful enough to sew over the pom-pom trim, sew as far as you can and then either hand-stitch or use hot glue to secure the bottom.

      Creating the Ribbon Tea Towel:

      1. Hem the top and bottom raw edges of the tea towel.  Turn the raw edge under 1/4" and iron, turn the edge under again 1/4" and iron flat.  Sew across the ironed hem. At this time the raw side edges will be left raw.
      2. Secure ribbons to either the top and bottom edges (or both) with pins.
      3. Sew the ribbons to the tea towel along the top and bottom finished edges.
      4. Add more ribbons if desired.  The fabric we chose was a cool patchwork print, and was pretty bold on it's own.  At first, we added just the Renaissance Ribbon in the Lemon motif, but it kind of got lost amongst all of the patchwork of the fabric.  So, we picked out 4-5 more ribbons and sewed them on one half of the tea towel for a more eclectic look. The more we added, the better it looked! 
      5. Hem the right and left side edges of the tea towel. Turn the raw side edge in 1/4" and iron, turn the edge in again 1/4" and iron flat. Sew across the ironed hem. 
      You have now created an amazing set of three handmade Tea Towels that rival any Anthropologie towel out there....
      and best of all, they're handmade by you, which always means a bit more to the recipient!
      We took a few quick pics of them around Jessica's kitchen, just for fun... although she doesn't get to keep them...
      Keep reading just a bit longer for the giveaway part of this post...
      We've got 2 Giveaways for you!
      First up, how would you like to win this exact set of 3 tea towels for your lovely kitchen??
      Secondly, how would you like to win the fabric to try your own hand at making similar tea towels yourself?
      Enter below to win:
      Contest ends 12/25 at 12 noon :)
      We have also teamed up with our blog sponsor Vivienne Rose Fabrics to offer special sets of pre-cut fabric to create your own set of 3. Each listing has each print precut to 22" x 27" for only $18.00.
      Click here to purchase.

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