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« Molly's Sketchbook: Valentine Pins | Main | Japanese Crafting with Mari: Monk's Bag »

Molly's Sketchbook: Quick Dish Towels

Dish towels make a perfect housewarming or wedding gift, they are so useful and add a pretty accent to any kitchen. Best of all this cute and simple pattern whips up four towels in about two hours!

By the way this beautiful tea cup was made by my friend Diana Fayt, an incredible potter.  --Molly


The Nani Iro Woven Solids used in this project are absolutely lovely. They are super soft and absorbent and the brown color way is the perfect shade of chocolate.

Cut Fabric and Pin Twill Tape

Wash and Press your fabric.

Cut four 16 X 27-inch pieces from the fabric (two from the brown and two from the white)

Cut eight 16-inch lengths of twill tape (four lengths from each color way)

Pin a piece of twill tape three inches from each short edge of a cut piece of fabric. (I used the brown squirrel tape with the brown fabric and the white squirrels with the white fabric.) Each towel will use 2 pieces of twill tape, one on each end. Make sure that the squirrels are facing the correct direction, with feet down towards the 3-inch section.

Edge Stitch Twill Tape

Edge stitching is a row of stitches sewn very close to the edge of a seam (or in this case twill tape), it has never been my strongest skill! For me edge stitching almost always turns out wobbly or I miss the edge. For this project I knew I needed to step up my game.

After a quick call to my mom (a former professional seamstress) I realized that edge stitching isn't as hard as I've always made it out to be. All you need to do is line up the right hand edge of the twill tape with the inside of the foot as shown in the picture above. This will give you the tiniest seam allowance (approximately 1/32 of an inch). It's also important not to stop and start too much once you start sewing.

With these details in mind, edge stitch one side of the twill tape to the fabric. (If it doesn't turn out to your liking, rip it out and try again).  Use the brown thread on the brown dishtowel and the white thread on the white. Once you've neatly edge stitched one edge of your twill tape finish the other side in the same manner.

Make sure you've caught the both edges on both pieces of twill tape (remember each dish towel has two rows of twill tape, one at each end.)

Hem the Towel

Press a 1/2-inch fold to the wrong side (the side without the twill tape) along both of the 16-inch sides of the towel. Then do the same to the 27-inch sides as shown above.

Repeat this step again, first folding the short (16-inch) sides in a 1/2-inch and then doing the same to the long (27-inch) sides. Pin the sides down.

With a 1/2-inch seam allowance sew all the way around the towel, backstitching at both ends.


Repeat for the other three towels and enjoy!

Reader Comments (9)

Great instructions. Fear keeps me from doing some of these things. There's not too much that can't be "ripped out and started over," right? I'll definitely give this a try.
January 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBecky
Lovely fabrics! I love that chocolate colour!!!!
But you have forgotten a little detail - a little strip (perhaps in the corner) to hang them! :)
Sorry my English and boldness(?)
January 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterméri
Wow! Love the squirrel ribbons! I might make these for my friends who are obsessed with squirrels.
January 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFay
These are stunning. I love when people take some utilitarian and turn it into something gorgeous! I'll be linking.
January 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
I was wondering if there was any other fabric that would be similar to this as it looks like you're sold out of this gorgeous stuff! Thanks!
February 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulie
Hi Julie,
We're hoping we can get more of this fabric in. Please email our website at the link below and we'll let you know when to expect it. Its a unique fabric so there is nothing else comparable, but we do have some other fabrics that I would recommend for dishtowels, I'll link to those below too.

contact us:

other fabrics to consider:
Essex, linen an cotton blend-

Loose weave linen from India-

Other cotton gauze from Nani Iro-
February 1, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Beautiful and simple. Thanks for sharing this tutorial.
May 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
Adorable. Simply adorable.
June 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeigha
I know I'm very late in inquiring about this fabric. I see you don't have it currently in your store and wondered if it was Nani Iro Double Gauze?

This is a lovely pattern and I'd love to get started on making a few dish towels.
January 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCat

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