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Tutorial for "Dress" Kitchen Towel

A Tutorial on creating a little dress of a kitchen towel that hangs nicely over your stove handle. This dressed up dish towel is double sided. It could even be made with two totally different sides. Imagine one side for Halloween the other side for Thanksgiving. One side for cupcakes, one side for ice cream! It can be embroidered using vintage transfers or embellished with collage or pictures printed onto fabric from your computer. It's decorative and functional- an easy to make project for a last minute gift.

This project requires less than a half a yard of fabric, one new dish towel, thread, 10-12 inches of lace or rick rack, buttons, or other embellishments like fabric yoyo's. You will also need about 1 1/2 - 2 yards of ribbon for the ties.

Posted by Kim S. from Sarasota, Florida, United States • Published See Kim S.'s 2 projects »

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 1
    Step 1

    This project can be designed in many different themes. It is double-sided and each side could be made differently. You could also modify it to be reversible. Once you make one or two then the possibilities are endless. You may copy this pattern for your own personal use but please don't resell it. You may make the towels and sell them but if you use my pattern, then please give me credit.
    After printing out my PDF Pattern (located on my sidebar on the blog) cut it out. It already has a 1/4 inch seam allowance added to the pattern. Trace around the cut out pattern on to a larger piece of paper. I like to use a brown paper bag from the grocery store. This will give you a window to decide which section of fabric to cut your dress from. In quilting this is called "fussy cutting".
    Usually I fold the fabric in half and after placing window around and finding the design I like best I put the pattern back into the cutout section then lift off the window. Then I just hold it down and cut around it.
    This will allow you to cut two pieces at once. You may want to use a micropen and trace a cutting line.
    You could also cut the pattern several times from freezer paper and iron it on and then cut it out.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 2
    Step 2

    Using the "window" or negative of the pattern helps to see the design you will have when the dress is cut out. You can move it all around till you see what you like. It is often better to have the designs off set instead of smack in the center. Your eye should wander around the design and rest in the blank spaces.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 3
    Step 3

    To begin your project pick out color coordinated dish towels and theme fabrics. For this example I used a Martha Negley for Rowan & Westminster and a sage green dish towel and a Nancy Wolff fabric with flamingos and a bandana linen towel by Martha Stewart for Kmart. This is a great project for repurposing those old linen dishtowels or secondhand linen dresses. I have used chenille and embroidered tea towels and denim and flannel for the "dress" part. This is so easy you might want to make one for every season to or to match your kitchen or bath or as a gift to your favorite chef, hairdresser or dog washer!!

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 4
    Step 4

    You will need two sets of the dress section. I cut out two at a time with the fabric folded in half with the wrong sides together. Once I pick a design I like then I just cut and don't really mind what the bottom fabric looks like. You will only see two sides not all four. Although you could probably make this pattern reversable if you wanted to.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 5
    Step 5

    Once you decide on a view then place the cut out (or positive) of the pattern back in the empty hole and then lift off the (brown paper) window. Either trace around and cut fabric or just hold and cut. You will need to do this twice. Less than a half yard of fabric is required. [You could use groovy old pillowcases too!]

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 6
    Step 6

    This is for a friend of mine who collects flamingos and just painted her kitchen and used pink bandanna fabric for curtains.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 7
    Step 7

    Iron to remove wrinkles and place a fold line down center. Open and lay ruler on the crease line and cut with rotary cutter(using a self healing mat below) or just cut in half with scissors if you don't have a rotary cutter and mat.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 8
    Step 8

    When you iron the crease in the center it helps guide your cut.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 9
    Step 9

    If you are working on several pieces then it is easy to sew them one after another to waste less thread. After you have sewn shoulder seams together then iron seam open.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 10
    Step 10

    Sew top of shoulder together.
    I sew both sides then clip them apart. It helps to save a little thread.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 11
    Step 11

    Leave the bottom open. Sew using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. After sewing press with iron then trim with pinking shears or clip into curves; trim corners on the diagonal to make sharp corners. Turn right-side out and use a chopstick or sharpened dowel to push out corners to make nice and square. Press again. Turn under raw edge at the bottom 1/4 inch and press to crease and hold.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 12
    Step 12

    This is one design element that gives you several options. The towel will need to be gathered to fit into the dress opening. I have machine gathered it , by stitching two straight lines using a wide stitch length then pulling the end threads to gather. I also just eyeball it and make pleats and pin then sew a basting stitch close to edge to hold. The raw edge will be on the inside of dress bottom and then a ribbon will be sewn on top of that.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 13
    Step 13

    Decide which gathering technique is best for your dress and then run over to the sewing machine and do a basting stitch no wider than 1/4 inch. I remove the pins as I go, after breaking enough needles I don't even try to sew over them anymore.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 14
    Step 14

    This shows fewer pleats evenly spaced on sides with center smooth.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 15
    Step 15

    The width of the towel needs to be just slightly smaller than the opening at bottom of dress.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 16
    Step 16

    You're halfway finished!! Yippee!!

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 17
    Step 17

    After you have basted edge of towel insert it into dress and pin.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 18
    Step 18

    Check the back before you start to sew to make sure towel is inside between the layers of the dress. Stitch down. Check back again. It is a good idea to stitch this twice so that any small rug rats pulling on the towel after it's hanging on the stove handle won't rip it apart. Or maybe there is a "bad dog" at your house, like my Mom's poodle who likes to ... oh sorry, that's a sock story.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 19
    Step 19

    Sew 1/4 inch seam at shoulders then press open. A bit of lace or rickrack will be added along edge of neck.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 20
    Step 20

    I like to iron everything after each step to keep it nice and flat.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 21
    Step 21

    You can hand sew this or machine stitch. You could use a bias tape or just embroider a decorative stitch also. You're only limited by your own imagination.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 22
    Step 22

    Here again is another opportunity for you to get creative! You can use any trim you choose: lace, rickrack, prairie points, yoyo's, beads. I save small scraps and sew them down on a ribbon and then give it a tea-dye and a bit of dog brushing and it ravels just a bit for a shabby look. Have fun with it or opt for the simple plain amish look and use no trim. Whatever.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 23
    Step 23

    Audition different things at front neckline to see which you like best. You could even sew a small pocket for a fancy teabag to fit in. Or you could make a bib like an apron and go back a few steps and add to dress top before inserting towel.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 24
    Step 24

    The final element is the ribbon tie. Choose something that contrasts nicely. Any ribbon: Grosgrain, striped, printed, sheer, gingham, swiss dot or any material that you choose for the ties. They need to be long enough to make a nice bow after the dress is hung over handle on stove or bathroom towel bar. If using something that ravels, I often use a candle or lighter to just melt the ends, lightly, so that it stops raveling.

  • How to make a tea towel. "Dress" Kitchen Towel - Step 25
    Step 25

    Ta Da!!! I hope you enjoyed this little Calamity Kim Workshop. Please email or use the comment area for any questions. Happy Sewing!!



Syreeta  H.
Syreeta H.
How do I print the template
Kitty S.
Kitty S.
Your directions on ever step are very clear, including the basics such as turning out corners, gathering and dealing with curves. A good second or third project for beginning sewers.Happy Computer Love Sad Shock Geek Cry Embarrassed Wink Annoyed Smile Shock Tongue Cooking OMG Sewing Knitting Origami Sleepy Ruler Sorry, of course I had to use all of them!
Phyllis S.
Phyllis S. · Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, US
I love the way you explain all the steps, thank you for that. I want to make some for Christmas gifts. Thanks and God Bless Phyllis
robert & madeline N.
robert & madeline N.
these are so cute and look like will be easy for me to make ...thank you...
Eliza P.
Eliza P.
Jessie  G.
Jessie G.
for some reason I cannot find the pattern piece for the top of the dress. The directions on how to make it are there but not the actual pattern.
Sandra H.
Sandra H. · Toronto, Ontario, CA
I found the pattern here http://calamitykim.typepad.com/pattern.pdf
by clicking the "Pleasch check out my website" button
mypinkrainbow · North Olmsted, Ohio, US
i love this , it is so very cute and would make a fabulous bridal shower gifty ,
Fifi · Wexford, Wexford, IE
loving this but can't get the pdf - virus alert coming up
Kris L.
Kris L.
where is the pdf for the pattern?
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