A couple of years ago I made some reusable kitchen towels for my sister-in-law’s Christmas gift and posted them on my little craft blog I had then. They still continue to be one of my most frequently searched posts, as well as one of my favorite things in my own house. After making a set for my family, I also made some for my mother-in-law. They make a great gift because you can personalize them with fabrics and they’re practical. We still use paper towels for some things, but in the past year since making our set, we’ve only gone through four rolls of the paper towels. That’s down from at least one roll a week prior to switching over!
Here I’ll show you how I make mine. Now, I have a snap press and I realize a lot of you may not. Other options would be Velcro or sew-on snaps. I also have included a scan of the unrolled plastic canvas (edit 1/8/14: the links to the roll template take you to Craftsy.com via an affiliate link. It's free to join Craftsy, and you can store all your patterns you download from there directly on your account. And it doesn't give me fits like Google Docs was. Thanks!) roll if you want to use it as a template for your own. These towels, with their plastic roll fit on a standard paper towel stand. We use ours for pretty much everything, including the occasional baby dress-up party.
When soiled, we throw ours in a special wet bag we keep hanging on the stove handle. It’s a bit larger than the ones Christie showed yesterday, but exactly the same concept. When we wash, I dump the towels out and wash everything together with the rest of our rags. I do line dry the wet bag, but there is no special care for the towels.
Let’s get to it!
For a standard baker’s dozen (13) towels, you’ll need four yards of fabric. I like to use quilter’s flannel as it is sturdier than regular flannel, absorbent and comes in a wide range of prints. For these towels I also used terry cloth. So, two yards each of the flannel and the terry.
A standard paper towel is 13”*12”. Cut your fabric into 14"*13” rectangles
Lay two rectangles right sides together. Since I was doing one side flannel and the other terry, I put one of each down, right sides together
Sew together on three sides, 1/2 inch seam allowance. I serged.
Fold the raw edges of the open end inside, 1/2 inch
Press flat, pin if necessary
Top stitch around all edges, sealing the open side as you go
I like to do a decorative stitch
Here is where I add my snaps. Again, you can do either Velcro (which may get messy in the wash) or sew-on snaps, which I think would work great. But here is how I do my snaps
Mark the snap placement, you can use my roll as a template on a piece of paper and then hole punch the marks. Transfer the markings onto one of the shorter sides of all the towels
Starting with either studs or sockets, set all the snaps for the one side of all the towels
Once all of the one side of the snaps is done, flip the towel upside down and over. Repeat the above steps with the other snaps.
Now let’s make the roll.
Cut a piece of plastic canvas 12.5” by 6”
Now, you can sew the plastic canvas closed, but I use snaps. Here is the roll I made, if you want to use it as a template on where the snaps go.
I put three sockets along one long edge
Then on the opposite side, three studs facing the other direction
Followed by two sockets in the middle at either end
Roll the canvas and snap in place
Snap a towel onto the center snaps of the roll.
Continue snapping all your towels together and roll it up.
So, I’m giving this roll away. Though my husband asked me not to. He kept saying over and over, “but these are *really* nice!” I think I may need to make us some with terry cloth backings now, just to appease him. But these are for you, well, one of you.
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2) Tomorrow, when we do the Earth Link Party, post a link to your blog where you’ve covered any Earthy-related topic, at all.
Good luck! And Happy Earth Day!