Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gift Towels for the Hostess (or Host) How to

Whenever I'm invited to someone's house for lunch or dinner the first time, I always take a tea towel as a hostess gift. They're always received well. Those of us who sew often think something as simple and easy to make as a tea towel isn't much. But, those who don't sew really appreciate the gesture. Actually, those of us who sew also appreciate it. I love getting a hand crafted gift from a friend. Here are some of the towels I have made recently with instructions about how they were made. I hope they inspire you.

All of these towels were made from 100 percent linen. The linen I have is 58 inches wide so I can make two across. I like the towels big, so I cut them 28 inches long and 22 inches wide (I cut off the selvage which is why they are 28 inches). Out of 1 yard, I can get two towels and have 3/8 of a yard left over. If you don't mind a narrower towel, you can get four from a yard by cutting them 29 x 18 inches.

After you cut the towel, finish all four sides with a zigzag stitch or serge them. Turn the side seams under by 1/4 inch and stitch them down. The back hem should be 1/2 inch. Follow the instructions below for each individual towel front.

These first three have been hem stitched. Fold the front hem up 1 1/2 inches and press. Either pin the hem in place, or use a product like Steam-a-Seam to hold it in place. Insert a size 120 wing needle into your sewing machine. Using a pin stitch set W=3.0, L=3.0 and stitch along the hemline. If you don't have a pin stitch, from the back, zigzag W=2.0, L=2.0 along the hemline with a size 80 needle. Change to the wing needle and from the front, stitch a reinforced straight stitch above the edge of the hem. Add the embellishment when you are done with the hem.

On this next towel, 4 inch wide lace was added at the hemline. Turn the front hem up 1 inch and stitch it down with a straight stitch. Place the lace over the hemline, about a 1/4 inch above the hem bottom. Stitch it to the towel using matching thread and a tiny zigzag stitch L=2.0, W=2.0. The zigzag stitch doesn't show like a straight stitch would. Embroider you design or  embellish the front above the lace.

The next two towels have a satin stitch at the hemline. Fold the hem up 1 1/2 inches. On the wrong side of the towel, using matching thread (white in this case), stitch a straight line next to the unfinished edge as close as you can get. If you need to, carefully cut away the excess fabric so when you sew your satin stitch, it will completely cover the raw edge. Set you machine up for a satin stitch. Place tear-away stabilizer under the hemline you sewed. Using contrasting thread, or a color to match the embroidery you plan to sew, stitch a satin stitch on the front of the towel, sewing along the line you previously have sewn. Remove the stabilizer and add the embellishment.

The last towel has a contrasting band along the bottom. Cut the band 4 inches by 23 inches (or 1 inch wider than your towel) Sew a piece of bridging onto the lower raw edge of the towel. zigzag or serge the raw edge of the bridging and towel to make it neat. Press the seam allowance toward the towel body. Sew the band on the front lower edge of the bridging. Press the band down toward the raw edge. Press the opposite edge of the band under 1/2 inch - make sure you turn it towards the wrong side - press it in place. Turn the band back up right sides together, matching the 1/2 inch back hem with the top of the ban. Stitch a 1/2 inch seam allowance on both sides. Turn the band right side out enclosing the raw edges and press again. Use a product like Stitch Witchery or permanent fabric glue to hold everything in place.

I hope you like these and start your own tradition of making towels as a gift. Let me know what you think below. (If you're the first, remember, you can click on the "no comments" link to add the first comment.

BTW you can get the fabric and embroidery designs at

Enjoy, Kandi