May 14, 2014

Setting the Table: Sewing 101 Lesson 2

A few weeks ago I wrote about DIY and Setting the Table.  I taught you how to make a reversible napkin.   In today's tutorial I will teach you how to make a Tea Towel.  I like giving tea towels as hostess gifts.  I usually will give two wrapped up in pretty packaging.  Tea towels are great to use for many reasons.  You can hang them on a stove for decoration.  You can use them on a small table or coffee table for serving hors d'oeuvre.  You can use them in a basket as a bread roll blanket or under a dish rack as a drying cloth.  It is a very multi purpose textile.

In this week's edition of Setting the Table I will show you a quick and easy way to make a tea towel.  Very easy for the beginner.  There is also an option at the end of the tutorial to add a ribbon detail.


5/8 yard of home dec weight or medium weight cotton woven or cotton linen fabric
6" of 1/2" or 3/8" wide twill tape or trim (I use a linen cotton webbing)
3/4 yard of 5/8" wide ribbon or twill tape for decoration (I use a ribbon called Fettucia from Purl Soho)

Pre-wash all fabric.

1. Cut a piece 20" wide and 28" long
2. fold all 4 sides in at 1/2" and press

3. fold in again 1/2" seam allowance and press.  I press with the pins in to hold down the fabric for me. You can pin the pins all the way but I just push them into the ironing board. If you are more comfortable you can pin the seam allowance completely.  Once you press it with steam, the seam allowance should stay flat without the assistance of the pins.

(note: pressing is with the iron on steam)

5.  Cut 6" of your thinner webbing or ribbon for your hanging loop.  My fabric has a directional print, there is an actual top.  Fold your webbing in half.  At the top of my towel on the shorter side and 1" in from the side seam place the raw edges of the loop under the seam allowance and fold towards the top so it overlaps the top edge and pin in place.
Now sew a 3/8" seam allowance.

4. Sew all four sides at once, pivoting at each corner.

(note: Pivoting is sewing down one side to the corner, leave the needle in the fabric and lift presser foot.  Turn your fabric, place presser foot back down and sew the next side. There is no need to back stitch since this is one continuous seam.)

5. Press.  Finished!

Now an optional decoration is adding a ribbon, rick rack or pom poms to your tea towel.  You will need 22" long of trim. (Or 25" if you want to make a loop on one of the sides, read step 7).

I used a beautiful yellow ribbon called Fettucia.

6.  2" from your bottom fold place your ribbon with 1" overlapping each long edge.  Pin in place.

7. Fold underneath twice so the raw edge is not shown.  If you want, you can cut this ribbon at 25" long and on one side fold a loop to the back side.  You then have a side hanging loop. This is shown in the photo.

8. Sew an edge stitch, pivoting. Normally you shouldn't have your fabric underneath your arm of the sewing machine.  But in this case since you are pivoting you will need to roll up the fabric when you sew the other side of the ribbon.

9. Press and finished.

If you would like to give this as a gift I suggest making two so buy double the amount of fabric or buy the same amount in a complimentary print.

Happy Crafting!


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