Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tutorial - Herringbone Embroidered Border

Waffle cloth towels are marvelous! They’re wonderfully thirsty and just get softer with washing. Plus, they have perfect little squares with raised threads - just right for this woven embroidery technique. This tutorial shows how to take advantage of these raised threads by using a simple Herringbone stitch and an extra easy Running stitch to make a pretty border on the edge of the hand towel.

This project is really easy! It takes just a few minutes to complete the towel. You will first need a waffle weave hand towel. The brand of my towel is Dunroven House. If you are very ambitious, you can sometimes find waffle weave cloth and make the towel yourself. You will also need a large, blunt tapestry needle and a skein of Perle cotton - size 5. Six threads of the regular cotton embroidery floss, or even a sport-weight acrylic yarn will also work. Caution: Cotton waffle weave fabric shrinks! You will want to pre-wash and dry the towel and then iron it well. The microfiber waffle weave towels don't cause quite the same problem.

Measure a length of thread four times the width of the towel. Tie a knot and hide it at the back of the side hem of the towel. Bring the needle up on the front of the towel a few inches above the hem, and at the left side of one of the small squares. Make a diagonal stitch, picking up the vertical threads laying on top of the fabric of the square in the next row over and two above the row you started on. Always push the needle from the right to the left, each time you make a stitch.

Bring the needle diagonally back to the starting row and catch the vertical threads of the next square over, again taking the needle under the threads from the right to the left. Alternate the stitching in this same way. Keep the tension snug, but be careful not to pull the thread too tight. The fabric should remain flat and the thread should have a bit of a curved loop, rather than a tight X. Don’t worry about the long diagonal thread - it will be tacked down later. Repeat the Herringbone stitch across the width of the towel.

At the other side, after you bring the diagonal thread down, bring the needle up in the middle of the row of skipped squares. Catch the vertical threads just under and above each of the previous crossed stitches. This will tack down the long diagonal thread in the stitch and make it less likely to snag with wear.

Continue this Running stitch back across the width of the towel. As you pick up the vertical threads in the squares of the towel, make sure that each of the long diagonal threads of the Herringbone stitches are caught and tacked down.

To finish, bring the needle up on the back side of the hemmed edge and take three small back stitches to tack the thread. Then, bring the needle out at the edge of the hem and clip the thread.

You can call the border finished with just one row. One row is very quick and looks simple and elegant.

Or, you can repeat the process with another row, if you wish. Two rows are also very pretty.

I put three rows on this towel. Because it is a single hand towel in a bigger set, and, because it is going into the hope chest, I wanted a more elaborate border. I think it is lovely!


  1. The brown is beautiful. The finished towel is so elegant. Can't wait to try to embellish a towel of my own. Maybe white with red stitching for my cottage.

  2. And you said you couldn't smock! Haha! Thats a smocking stitch also ~ you just pick up one of the pleats in the fabric for the stitch!

  3. ellerinize sağlık çok güzel olmuş

  4. This is so beautiful! I really want to try this! You have a great tutorial. So thank you very much!

  5. Just a note to say thank you for your tutorial. You do such lovely work and what a blessing you are to share as you have.

  6. I have been looking for brown waffle style towels forever! I live in Ohio and have no way of buying them direct from Dunroven House. Here else can these be purchased?

    1. Trey, you should check first at a quilting store. I buy Dunroven towels at two different quilt stores. The waffle weave towels are much harder to come by than the plain weave gingham towels. Currently, Amazon has a bundle of six for $30. Kind of expensive. You could also buy unbleached waffle weave fabric (be aware that it will SHRINK!) at JoAnn's in the utility fabrics section. Cut, hem, and dye.

  7. I sure would like to add one of these dish towels to my little chest they look so old fashioned ...thank you for the tutorial


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...