How to Make Your Own Tea Towels

moth calendar tea towel

Spoonflower Makes it Easy to Create Your Own Tea Towels!

Pretty much everyone has a collection of tea towels in their kitchen. Not only are they useful but they can add a little character to a space where many of us spend hours putting love into cooking all sorts of delicious meals, being social, and of course, taking care of the dishes.

I, for one, am a foodie and I love to bake and cook so tea towels are a handy thing to have for all sorts of kitchen & eating related activities.

While you can pick up a few tea towels online or from your local store, as someone who loves a good diy project, sewing my very own makes sense. I can select fabrics with designs I love rather than being limited to what pre-made tea towels offer me.

I can even design my own fabric! I can sew my own tea towel, and even make matching napkins, tablecloths, aprons, and whatever else sounds fun!

Not only that, but you can gift your handmade tea towels to your friends and family. The fact that it’s handmade makes it all the more special! It’s also really easy to make, and it takes less than 15 minutes with prep time.

I’m going to show you how to get your design onto fabric if you have one, but because this tutorial is about how to make a tea towel and not how to design one, I won’t be going over how to do the latter which would entail a separate tutorial.

So if you don’t have a design of your own, just use fabric you’ve chosen for this project and hop on over to the materials section.

Overview:

DIY Tea Towel Step 1: Print your Design onto Fabric

When I began designing fabric I opened up a Spoonflower shop which is where I have my tea towels printed. You’ll need an account so once you sign up you’ll be able to upload your designs for print on the fabric of your choice.

Once your account is all set up it’s time to get your design ready for upload.

For this tutorial, you’ll need your design to fit on a piece of fat quarter of their lightweight cotton twill which measures approximately 18 x 27 inches (45.72cm x 68.58cm).

Your finished tea towel once the edges are sewn will measure about 16 x 24 inches (40.64cm x 60.96cm) give or take an inch to account for any shrinkage.

I absolutely love their lightweight cotton twill for the color vibrancy, durability, and absorption and it’s all I use when I have them print out my tea towel designs.

Keep in mind that if you select a different fabric the width may not be the same so you’ll have to do some math to adjust your design to fit their fat quarter.

This template is turned on it’s side and is how you’ll want to upload your design. The top of your design will be on the left side of the template.

If you have a background color make sure to extend it all the way to the edge (solid line) & keep your main design inside of the safe area (within the dotted lines) so anything important doesn’t get cut off.

By the way, you can purchase color guides and fabric sample packs to help you with color matching. It’s not necessary but I love using them for color references and recommend them.

Once you’ve uploaded your design select the lightweight cotton twill and fat quarter option. You’ll see how your design will be laid out for print on your fabric. If you’re happy with it place your order and I’ll see you in the next section!

DIY Tea Towel Step 2: Gather Your Materials

  • 18 x 27 inch (fat quarter) cotton or linen fabric with your design or fabric of your choice
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins or clips
  • Thread

By the way, if you would rather embroider your tea towel or embellish it by adding a few stitches, take a peek at my stitch library which I recently started. You can find some basic stitches to get started!

DIY Tea Towel Step 3: Prep Your Printed Fabric

Wash & Cut Your Fabric to Size

Once you have your fabric you’ll want to wash, dry, and iron it. If you skip this part you might be alright but sometimes your finished tea towel can warp when you do send it to the wash later. It’s less likely to do that if you prewash your fabric.

I highly recommend air drying vs machine drying too. It is gentler on your fabric and if you have a design with a border air drying will help keep its shape a lot better.

Trim your fabric down to approximately 18×27 inches (45.72cm x 68.58cm). A cutting mat helps a lot with measuring and cutting. You want your design to be perfectly centered before you cut.

I created my design with a border so I only needed to measure and cut 1″ outside of it.

If yours doesn’t have a border you can fold your fabric in half horizontally where you’d want the center to be, then fold that down in half again, this time vertically (so your fabric will be folded into 4 sections). Where the two folds meet will be your center.

Measure 9″ to the right of the center & make a mark. Do the same on the left of the center and make a mark. This is your width where you’ll need to trim.

For the height, measure 13.5″ to the top from the center, then 13.5″ to the bottom from the center and trim. You should now have a piece of fabric measuring 18 x 27 inches.

Prep the Edges

Fold half an inch of the edge in on the back all the way around and iron it down.

Now fold in half an inch again and iron it down. Use your sewing pins to pin down any edges you’d like to keep flat as you go.

Miter Your Corners

Open the fold just above the corner of your fabric like this:

If you want your corner to be less bulky you can snip about half an inch from the corner at an angle. This is optional but worth it when your fabric is bulky.

Next, take that corner and fold up along the inner fold on the right. Use the creases as a guide.

Refold the right side back into place. This creates a mitered fold. Iron it down and pin. Do this for each corner.

DIY Tea Towel Step 4: Sew the Edges

Now you’re ready to sew! Use a regular straight stitch close to the inside edge of your folds. That’s it!

Here’s how mine turned out. I made a 2021 Calendar tea towel & I’m turning these babies into gifts. They’re also be available in my new Etsy shop!

moth calendar tea towel

9 Creative Uses for Tea Towels:

Now that you know how to make your own tea towels you’ll have fun making them for your kitchen, friends, and family! We all know tea towels are great for drying dishes but their versatility is pretty much endless. Here’s a short list of creative ways to use your tea towels:

  1. Bread warmer
  2. Placemats
  3. Substitute as gift wrap or tissue paper
  4. Handmade gift
  5. Basket liner
  6. Use as a hot pad
  7. Dry & store your salad greens (keeps them crispy)
  8. Wall art
  9. Tea pot koozie

I would love to see how yours turns out so please feel free to share your creations! I’m sure they’ll turn out tea-riffic!

❤️ Have a lovely day & happy sewing!

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Sewing Tutorial: diy Tea Towels with Easy Peasy Steps
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