So, I’m still throwin’ in the towels, only this time I’m throwin’ ‘em in our own kitchen. And since they were so much fun to make, I wanted to do a mini-tutorial to share the fun. Every towel I did was a little different, but for simplicity’s sake, I’ve only included a couple of styles here. Once you get the basics down, you can just do what I did – improvise!
I first washed everything, to make sure it was all finished shrunking – er . . . shrinking. Then I ironed everything really well.
cut into two pieces
matching washcloths for tops
I cut the towels in half width-wise, making a set of two from each original towel. On one set, I folded each panel in half and pressed a crease, then folded the sides towards the back, up to that crease, and pressed again. On the other set, I ran a basting stitch and gathered them up to about 1/2 the original width.
Next, I had to decide on rectangular or triangular topping. Being the (in)decisive person that I am, I made both! I used two matching washcloths for each set of towels.
These cloths had netting sewn in, so I didn’t use interfacing (I did use it on all the other towels, though. Follow mfg. instructions if you use it). I actually cut the netting out of one towel to cut down on bulk, leaving it in the other for some shaping. The cut-out netting was then used for another set of towels (yup, the ol’ REmissionary thing never goes completely away).
rectangles cut apart
I lay the two washcloths together, right sides facing. For the rectangles, I first drew a line at the center of one cloth, and sewed up each side of that mark, 1/4-inch away. Then I sewed around three sides of the two cloths, leaving the bottom open. I cut along that center line, making two rectangular pieces. I then trimmed the corners at the top, leaving the bottom corners uncut, and turned the rectangles right side out. Since these were finished on the edges, I used that as a decorative accent. This wasn’t laziness, I promise!! But it did save that extra step of folding a seam allowance under on that edge.
triangles cut apart
For the triangular tops, I sewed all the way around the outer edges, and then drew a line from one corner to the opposite corner, forming two triangles. I cut along that line, leaving the cut edges open. I folded and pressed the triangles to get the exact center of the top point, and laid the towel on top of the ironed-in crease. I marked where the towel fit, and drew my seam lines. After sewing the lines in, I tried the fit to make sure the points came out where they were supposed to. As you may notice in the photos, I wasn’t too terribly concerned that they weren’t perfect – but close enough to hang fairly straight when finished. Close DOESN’T only count in horseshoes and hand grenades, folks!! These were close enough for government work (a saying my government-employee friend used to detest).
those corners were cut off after sewing side seams
After getting the side seams to my satisfaction, I trimmed the excess corners off, trimmed the seam at the top point, and turned right side out. I pulled the corners out as pointy as I could get them, and then turned under a 1/2-inch seam on the open end and pressed it down really well. I slipped the top of the towel into this open end and stitched across as close to the edge as I could (about 1/8-inch), then up from the edge about 1/2-inch. That enclosed the towel inside the topping.
seam allowance folded/ironed
towel slipped inside
double row of stitching
Next was the top-stitching. I went all the way around the outer edge, starting and stopping at the first line of stitching on the bottom encasing edge.
example of topstitching
After topstitching, I folded the top in half and pressed a crease into the fold (the tops measured about 4 inches at this point). After that came the buttonhole and button. My oven door handle is about 1 inch around, so I measured down about two inches from the fold, to leave plenty of room. Handles come in all sizes, so I tried to plan for the biggest one that might be used. About two inches should be enough – I mean, who has stove handles bigger than that???
My sewing machine has a handy little gauge for buttons, so I measured them and set the buttonholer to the right size, and marked my starting point on the flap. Then W H I Z went that wonderful little buttonholer gizmo. Be careful cutting the holes open, not to cut through the top of the buttonhole. After the buttonholes were in, I lined up the button and marked the spot, sewed the button on, and rushed lickety-split to the kitchen to try it out. Whaddya know – it worked!!!
Here is how each top looked after finishing. I don’t know if I like the gathered look or the smooth folded look better. What do you think??