I recently discovered that one of the measures of a good chef is the amount of tea towels they use in the preparation of a meal. If it had been me, I would have had an army of teatowels ready for the wash, but our Supper Club chef, Phil only used two – which was a relief, because that was probably all I had. So it has been on the list of makes, to use some of our fabric stash to make some new, functional and vibrant tea towels.
This tutorial covers mitred corners, and a fasten on function for your teatowels
Here is the how to…
You will need material, scissors, a sewing machine, thread, optional braid or RicRac and a button
Choose your fabric carefully. The function of a teatowel is to dry, so here are some pointers
Use a fabric that is 100% Cotton, 100% Linen or a mixture of the two – these will absorb moisture more easily and dry more quickly and be stable and durable in the washing process.
Avoid material that is in a very smooth weave such as a sateen weave. Often tea towels are made from waffle weaves and this demonstrates how a textured surface will grab the moisture better.
Cut your shape to be a rectangle 52 by 68cm – we¬†have allowed 2cm seam allowance so your finished teatowel will be 48 by 64cm.
Using an iron, press 1cm seam allowance down the long edges, and then press a further 1cm along to make the edge twice folded. Do the same with the short edges.
Open up these folds and working one corner at a time, put a snip or notch into the two deepest fold lines as in this photo. (I have marked the fold lines with a water soluble pen to make everything clearer.)
Flip the fabric over and turn the corner back, lining the notches up to the deepest folded line and press (again I’ve marked the fold lines to make it clearer.) Ummm – not my best photography, this one!
Open up the corner and with this latest pressed line you will have created a guide for your stitching line for the mitred corner. Now fold so that the edges and the notches you have made match up and mark your sewing line, going along the latest folded line. Pin.
Stitch as marked, taking care to reverse stitch at beginning and end. Then trim the corner off, taking care to trim at an angle close to the point but not too close.
Turn and press the corners down, and repeat the process for all four corners.
Put the main teatowel piece to one side and move onto constructing the tab.
Cut two strips of fabric 6cm by 13cm. Working on one at a time, fold in half, matching long edges and stitch along a short edge and then a long edge using a 1/2cm seam allowance. Trim corner seam allowance away.
Turn through using a blunt edged object such as a large size knitting needle. Press.
Pin these together so they overlap by 3 – 4 cm. ¬†Position this across one corner so that it sits 6cm away from the corner point on both sides.
Pin and trim both ends of the tabs to follow the edge of the teatowel.
Tuck under the seam allowance and pin in place.
Mark a buttonhole that is the right size for your button to pass through (normally the length of the button plus 4mm) Sew the buttonhole as your machines instructions.
With the hems of the teatowel facing upwards, pin the pressed hems in place and machine sew with an edgestitch taking care to fasten off securely at the start and end of your stitching and turning corners with the needle down in the fabric for the tidiest finish.
Trim all ends.
We then applied some ric rac to our teatowel – it’s optional, but if you do, make sure you have a top thread that is tonal to the braid. Start at one corner, positioning over the hem stitching you have already made, and having turned a bit under at the start, stitch from one corner all the way around.
When turning a corner, fold the Ric Rac across at a right angle and stitch over, keeping the needle down to turn a corner, whilst lifting the presser foot and moving the fabric to turn. Finish by carefully folding the end of the Ric Rac under itself and stitching to the last corner.
Using a doubled thread, handstitch your button in place on the lower tab.¬†You now have a teatowel that can be fastened onto the bar of your cooker, looped through a belt loop, or use the buttonhole to attach to a button on your clothes. Always at hand, and looking pretty too.
Have any great ideas for other kitchen orientated sewing – post a comment here and share your ideas.