Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tutorial - Fabric Border Dishtowels

Fabric borders are a simple, quick embellishment for dishtowels for the hope chest. This tutorial shows how to make a simple thick/thin border. Because I wanted to use this pretty border print, the contrast is subtle in these towels, but more apparent with other, more contrasting, fabric choices.

Materials for TWO towels: 1/4 yd. of 44-45" fabric A, 1/4 yd. 44-45" contrasting fabric B, matching thread, two flour sack dishtowels, tape measure, scissors, rotary cutter, ruler and mat, pins, iron and ironing board.

First, cut the hem from the bottom end of the towel. From both fabric A and fabric B, cut one 5" strip and one 2 1/4" strip. Measure the width of both towels from side to side. Trim a wide strip and a contrasting narrow strip to fit each towel width, plus 1 inch. You'll have to measure each towel because they will vary in width.

I'll continue to give directions for one towel. Just repeat with the opposite fabrics on the second towel. Press 1/2 inch along the top of the narrow strip.

With the right sides together, fold the larger strip in half. Use a 1/2" seam allowance to sew across both short ends. Clip the corners and trim the seam allowance. Turn right side out and press.

Pin the larger strip to the cut edge of the wrong side of the towel, aligning the side edges.

Pin the cut edge of the narrow contrasting strip atop the rest with 1/2" overlapping the edges on each side.

Sew the layers together, using a 1/2" seam allowance.

Fold the towel up and press the seam. This is the back of the towel.

Turn the towel to the front side and press the narrow strip up. Tuck the 1/2" overlap around the seam at the edge and press and pin the narrow strip across the front side of the towel. You may need to adjust a little to make the edges flush and neat.

Edgestitch around the three sides of the narrow strip, pivoting at each corner. Be careful to keep the seam line neat and straight and as close to the edge as possible.

Press the towel and clip any loose threads.

And it is finished!


  1. Very timely post for me, as I have fabric to make dish towels for a friend's Jan birthday. I had to read through a couple of times to grasp the raw edge treatment, but I understand now and think it will be perfect! Thanks so much.

    1. Kath, I wish that I had fabrics that were more contrasting in the pictures. It would make more sense, visually. I sure hope your project turns out well!

  2. Do you prewash fabrics/towelling before starting the project?

    1. Carol - I don't usually prewash for this project, assuming that the fabric and the toweling will shrink together at the same rate or near enough. This is probably NOT a smart thing to do! But, in my defense, I don't use a clothes dryer at my house - I don't even own one - so to preshrink, I have to travel 30 miles to a laundromat, which just prevents me from getting any projects started let alone finished. So preshrinking is a huge problem for me. But if I had a dryer at home, I would really try to do that. I do often prewash fabric, if it looks iffy as far as dye stability. I don't want Abigail to have a nasty surprise sometime in the future because the dye ran all over the item. But, then it just gets dried on the clothesline, so that doesn't help with shrinkage.


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