More DIY Tea Towels

Tea towels are easy to make and fun to give as hostess gifts. 

I started loving unique tea towels when I spotted them at Anthropologie many years ago.

Anthropologie Tea Towels
Just a sample of tea towels available at Anthropologie for $22 EACH!

I have to fess up that I did buy one and made it into a pillow.

Pillow from tea towel
I couldn’t spend $22 for a tea towel but no problem spending that for a fun pillow!

You can get less expensive towels at Cost Plus World Market but we don’t have any of those wonderful stores in the Tampa Bay area.  The ones that I bought when I lived far far away are worn out now. 

So I started making my own tea towels. I’ve posted about making tea towels in the past and today I just want to give you some hints that I’ve discovered on my “tea towel making journey”.

Tea Towels I've made

The easiest method is to use finished plain towels that you can get just about anywhere.  That’s what I used for the LOVE towels in the upper left corner.  The applique fabric is a Moda Charm Pack. 

Then I discovered Moda Toweling which is also easy to use. The towels in the upper right corner are made with the Moda toweling and fabrics. The lower right corner geo-heart towels are made with the toweling and a Moda charm pack. The toweling is finished on two sides which is wonderful since I don’t have to do all that hemming.  I had a problem with the corners being kind of lumpy.  But no more!  I found an easy way to do that hemming.  Once again, Sew4home taught me something new about sewing and now I can make those clever corners!

Narrow Hem
Here I am, making clever corners!

Then I didn’t know what kind of fabric to buy. Another one of my favorite sewing websites came through for me, PurlBee recommended Kaufman Essex Linen Blend so I ordered three yards of white from

This fabric is 44” wide, after washing and drying it shrunk a little.  I cut the towels 16 ½” wide and 20 ½” long.  Three yards is enough fabric to make 12 towels.

Now let’s discuss the appliques.  I love to use tea items for my tea towels and I pulled the teacup and teapot from Sew4home.  But I also use designs from many other sources and even cut them out of magazines and scan them into my computer.  An easy one I recently discovered from another blog (sorry can’t remember which one so I can’t credit them) is SweetClipArt.  It’s free and there are numerous fun graphics for every season.  It includes a download program which I didn’t use because I worry about picking up viruses.  I just right clicked on the picture and copied it to my computer then made it in different sizes through Photoshop.  You can do the same in Word.

For my latest creation, the warm spring-like weather inspired me to go with butterflies and I again used the Moda Charm Pack “Chance of Flowers” that I bought at our local quilt store, Tomorrow’s Treasures.

Now a little hint about where to put the appliques.  If they fit, I like to place them in the lower half of the tea towel.  For instance, this towel is 22″ long so I put these butterflies in the bottom 11″.  I also centered them in the middle third of the towel so all of the butterflies are visible when hung on a towel rod.

Placed Appliques
This is just before I ironed them down. Of course, when I took them to the ironing board, the butterflies had flown about and I had to place them all over again.


Butterfly tea towel
Here they are appliqued.


Hope those little hints inspire you to make some fun tea towels on your own!

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