Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Terms of Endearment Tea Towel tutorial

~One of my favorite things about our family and close friends is the sweet names we come to call each other. I have so many names for my burger, I add to them almost weekly. Watching burger come up with a learn the family's names for each other has been a sweet experience. The ladies in his family have some lovely terms of endearment that all have their own history. One of my favorites is Donda, burger's great grandmother. She is Kg's mother's, mother. I am still unsure of the actual meaning but I now Kg's older brother and the first grandson coined it. Donda's husband's name was Don( which I assumed when I first met her was the origin) but I am not so sure it is really from that or just a sweet first child's utterance of love. My burger, the first great grandson coined his own grandmother's call of love as MaMe. We all tried a few things before that but he came up with Mame and I think it is perfect. I decided for Spring and Mother's day this year to make a set of tea towels that had each recipients term of endearment from our evolving family. Adding the wild flower theme made this the perfect way to send these ladies some flowers for mother's day!

fabric cut as follows:
One piece of fabric 19"x26"
one strip fabric 19"x4-6"
one small piece of fabric 3"x6"

scraps of various sizes to make your applique' from
thread and embroidery floss

embroidery hoop

heat and bond lite
sewing machine(optional)


1.Cut and press all your fabric to the sizes specified above. I chose to use woven cotton for my towel fabric(19"x26"). I think linen would be especially nice and pays special homage to the Victorian England Tea towel tradition. For the 19"x4-6" strip choose something that will lend itself to embroidery and accent the overall towel design well; I like to use lighter values for this fabric strip to make transferring the embroidery design easier . At this point if you are digging through your scraps you might as well make a pile of stuff that might work with your applique design.

2. embroider name on the 19"x 4-6" strip of fabric.
I have really terrible handwriting I mead gawd awful . It is embarrassing .really.but I have overcome this by choosing from the multitudes of handwritten looking available fonts. This site has some nice stuff. I think the ones I used for the towels is school cursive. Print and cut out your name, making sure the font size is right for your design.With your fabric in your hoop tape your paper printed name to the back side of your fabric. Holding the hoop up to a window or over lamp shade trace the name onto the front side of your fabric. I like to use those little plastic pencils(pictured) because the new points are nice and sharp and make a thin precise, dark enough line. Now simply embroider your names, make sure you use a complimentary thread that you will be able to see on your towel, you cam use floss but if you do not have the color you like you can use several strands of regular thread; (floss will be smoother but since it is such a minimal amount of embroidery you can get away with regular thread). I am a real novice when it comes to embroidery I usually just use a running stitch when I am stitching a name, however you may want to do something a little fancier. After you have finished your stitches add a piece of feather weight interface to the back.

3. Attach strip to the piece of fabric 19"x26. I put all of mine across the bottom to use as a visual anchor for my floral appliques'. Apply your heat and bond to the back of your strip and trim the edges neatly if needed. Iron and stitch your strip to the towel. You can use your machine here or use a decorative embroidery stitch. I used my machine mainly because I was making five at once, but in my original fantasy idea of this project I envisioned myself doing all the sewing by hand in the true tradition of a tea towel. But back in the real world I had like a week to get them done( mothers day gift) and I always add way too much in the way of applique design that would make hand sewing more difficult. I do think this is a perfect project to make as all hand sewn.

4. design, cut, and attach your applique. I use flowers as my theme for this set of towels.
I was sleeping, eating, and breathing Texas wild flowers this past spring I had so many ideas and inspirations from so many different flowers. All these wild flowers were the major inspiration for the concept of this project.This project was a perfect way for me to play out a lot of my design ideas. Since all the material I used for this project came out of my scrap containers, I felt very free to do whatever I wanted to try. If you are looking for a theme for your towel you are making as a gift for someone I suggest to try a think of something that reminds you of that person, like My sister loves humming birds so maybe I would do some humming birds on hers. Or if you wanted to make a set you could think of a theme for your set, such as a Holiday or a group of animals like birds. I think this would make a wonderful Christmas gift project... and there is so much imagery to mine for Christmas themes.

5. Finish the edges of your towel. to create a finished hem along your towels edge, press 1/4" fold on the edge . Then press and fold over another approx 1/2 " and pin into place. Machine or hand stitch the hem of your towel.

6. make and attach your hanging loop. Press the 3"x6" piece of fabric. Turn, press and stitch the top and bottom 3" edges, 1/4 ".
Press and stitch right sides together in half vertically making a 1 1/2 " x 5 1/2 " tube. Turn and press your tube. top stitch your tube. Make a loop with your tube and hand sew the bottom corners together. Stitch your loop to the backside of the top left corner of your towel. Attach the button to the front side of the same corner to hide the stitching.

7. Wrap it up! Wrapping this gift is fun there are lots of options.I thought it made a sweet gift with a tea cup and couple of yummy tea bags. It would also be sweet included with christmas cookies, or homemade preserves.What ever you choose make it with love and you will have fun!!!


Unknown said...

The bluebonnets are my favorite.

Judy said...

Sweet, Chas. Very.


Anonymous said...

Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [15 Jul 12:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

Erndog said...

Totally recognized your hubby when I went to Half Price on S. Lamar and I saw him working on the new Phil's wiring...your blog has made him famous! :-)

Angela Brian said...


i just wanted to let you know that i featured this project on my blog greensubmarine today!

thanks for the email.

your project was great!

*also if you want, i noticed you are collecting a few "i was featured on...." buttons. feel free to grab a new one from my blog to add to your list!

Mindy said...

I've been plundering around some more and there is so many neat things to see here. I love this idea! These fabrics are some of my favs. I love their vintage feel, and the personal touches and appliques.

Ags said...

You did a beautiful job on these towels, and on the tutorial. But what makes this so lovely to me is the sweetness of thought that went into making them. I love the terms of endearment idea. :) Thanks for posting.

refabulous said...

I just spotted these on Pinterest... and OH MY GOODNESS these are so fantastic. I love how they have so much thought and sentiment poured & stitched into them, and are just plain darling. Thanks for sharing the tute, too.

Kimmie said...

As a lover of color, flowers and warm sentiment to make home your tea towels. Thanks for sharing your heart!

Mama to 8
One homemade and 7 adopted