We love Moda Toweling! How could you not love something that comes to you pre-hemmed into a handy 16" width - perfect for towels, curtains, pillows and more?! We chose a beautiful solid natural for our tea towels, accenting it with bright wide ruffles and ribbon. But, you can also choose from a wide array of softly nostalgic prints in classic pastel stripes and plaids as well as pretty fruit and floral border prints. I think my grandmother had towels in all these patterns. They are 100% cotton and machine washable... so get ready to dry some dishes! Stay tuned; later this week, we have some Moda Toweling to give away!
Thanks to Fabric.com for providing the Moda fabric for this project. They not only sent the cool Moda Toweling in natural, but also the three super pretty cuts from Moda's Domestic Bliss collection. This is vibrant set of fabric designs with pinch of retro, a dash of sizzle and a splash of happiness.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome DC4030 Pink Ribbon)
Fabric and Other Supplies
Amounts shown below are for ONE towel
- 1 yard of 100% cotton toweling; we used Moda's Toweling in Natural (as mentioned above, this comes in a 16" finished width with ½" double turned hems along both sides)
- ½ yard of 44-45" wide accent fabrics: we used Domestic Bliss by Moda Fabrics in At the Table Eggplant, Lattice Garden, and Beaded Stripe Eggplant
- ½ yard of ½" ribbon in colors to coordinate with the accent fabrics; we used a pink grosgrain ribbon with brown accent border lines
- All purpose thread to match fabric and ribbon
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Straight pins
- Pre-wash the toweling, the fabric for the ruffle accent and the ribbon. Pre-washing is always a given with our projects, but when the item is something that is likely to be laundered often, like these tea towels, we like to emphasize it. The rule of thumb is to pre-wash the fabric and trims in the same way you plan to launder the final sewn item. If you plan on being able to throw the project in the washer and dryer, then that's what you should do with your fabric and trims. Here's more information about pre-shrinking.
- From the Moda Toweling, for each towel you are making, cut ONE 28" length, which means your rectangle is 16" x 28".
NOTE: If you are not using the cool, pre-hemmed Moda Toweling, you will need to cut a rectangle 18" wide and make a ½" double turned hem along both sides.
- From the fabric for the ruffle (Domestic Bliss in At the Table Eggplant, Lattice Garden, and Beaded Stripe Eggplant in our samples), for each towel you are making, cut ONE 33" wide x 6" high rectangle.
- From the ribbon, for each towel you are making, cut ONE 17" length of ribbon.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Create a ½" double-turn hem along both short sides (both 6" sides) and the BOTTOM long side (the bottom 33" side) on the ruffle band. To do this, fold the raw edge of the fabric under ½" along all three sides and press. Fold under another ½" and press again. Pin in place.
- Topstitch in place close to the inside fold.
NOTE: If you are new to hemming, read our tutorial: How to Make a Simple Hem .
- For super neat corners like ours, read our tutorial and adjust the ¼" measurements to be ½": Quick Tip: ¼" Double-Turn Clean Finished Corner.
- Using a long basting stitch, stitch ⅜" along the top raw edge of the now hemmed ruffle band (the remaining 33" side), leaving 4-5" thread tails at the beginning and end of the stitch.
- Using these 4-5" lengths of thread, pull the thread to gather the ruffle evenly to a 16" width.
NOTE: If you are new to ruffling, we have a short tutorial on the subject.
- Place the newly gathered ruffle band and a toweling panel WRONG sides together, aligning the raw edges of each piece. Pin in place.
NOTE: Yes, this means your seam will show on the RIGHT side of the towel. That's okay. We're going to cover it up with the ribbon, then the back of the towel will have a nice, clean finish.
- Stitch the ruffle band to the toweling panel, using a ½" seam allowance.
- Trim the seam allowance back to ¼". Press the seam allowance up towards the towel.
- Lay the ribbon over the seam. Trim to size if need be, leaving about ½" extending beyond both sides.
- Fold under each end of the ribbon so it is flush with the side of the towel and lightly pin in place.
- Re-thread your machine with thread to match the ribbon in the top and thread to best match the toweling and accent fabric in the bobbin. In our sample, we went with pink thread in the top and a neutral thread in the bobbin. This makes a neat finish on both the front and back.
- Edgestitch the ribbon in place around all four sides.
NOTE: Pivoting at the corners of the ribbon will be a bit of a challenge because you are working through multiple layers close to the edge of the fabric. Once again, my Janome was able to power through with barely a notice. If your machine normally has challenges with layers and edgestitching, you might need to stop with your needle in the down position to pivot and then turn the machine's handwheel manually to slowly make your way around the corner.
- Press well from both sides.
- Here's what our towels looked like at the edge from the front and the back.
- Finally, create a ½" double-turn hem along the top raw edge of the towel. To do this, fold the raw edge of the fabric under ½" and press. Fold under another ½" and press again. Pin in place.
- Topstitch in place close to the inside fold.