This hand towel has seen better days.
Much better days.
But that is only one side. The other side still looks good. no pulls, no patches. Just the frayed edge.
I have an attachment to my fiber belongings. I'm not a pack-rat or a miss-saves-it-all. I will throw away Christmas cards, I give away furniture, I've lived in 8 different places in the past 8 years without even blinking, but it is really, really hard for me to throw out holey socks, stained shirts, worn-out pants and even, sad looking towels.
Since learning to sew I've been able to save some of my favorite pieces of clothing!
And this week, I up-cycled that hand towel!
Our 7-year wedding anniversary is coming up this year and you know, I still haven't bought towels. We have been using the same ones we received as gifts at my bridal shower. So all in all these towels have been pretty good to us.
Our guest bathroom doesn't have a place to hang a towel ring, but it does have an extra bit of counter space, just enough for a small towel.
Right now I have the new towel nicely folded on the counter, but I think I may need to get one of these:
- 1 up-cycle ready towel
- 3 jelly roll strips OR Three 2 1/2" x 44" strips of fabric, OR Six 2 1/2" x 22" strips of fabric
- Matching thread
- Optional embellishments
- Optional 11" x 18" piece of wonder web
1. Cut your towel down to measure 11" x 18", the average size of a fingertip towel.
Just a note* Fingertip towels are generally for decorative purposes, but it is considered acceptable to use them in place of hand towels in smaller bathrooms.
2. Take the 3 jelly roll strips, fold them in half and cut at the middle, so that you have six 2 1/2" x 22" strips.
3. Arrange 5 of the pieces in the order you want them to appear on the one side of the towel. Sew together lengthwise with 1/4" seam allowance. Cut down to measure the same size as the towel (approx. 11" x 18"). Set aside.
4. Take the remaining strip and fold it in have lengthwise. Press. Open. And fold the sides in lengthwise to meet at the first fold line. Press.
Sew to the nicer side of the towel as a small embellishment.
5. Take the jelly roll pieces you sewed together in step 3 and place on top of the towel, right sides together.
Optional** Place the wonder web on top. I used the wonder-web here so I wouldn't have to stitch the material to the towel, since this towel is a bit thin and the stitching would really be seen on the other side.
6. Sew along all 4 sides using a 1/2" seam allowance and leaving a 4" turning gap on the center of one of the sides.
7. Clip the corners and turn right side out through the gap.
Straighten, smooth out wrinkles and push out bubbles and press.
8. Edge-stitch along the outer edge, finishing the towel and closing the turning gap.
Initially, the towel will be slightly stiff from the wonder-web, washings will help work this out and give the cloth side a quilted look.
Add any additional hand sewn embellishments like buttons now.
There are so many options for up-cycling towels! Appliqué patches or letters over any ruined spots on the towel. Add ribbon, buttons, lace, etc. If your towel is thicker then you could quilt the the cloth side to the towel and give it an even more special look.
So get to it! Save your towels or just dress them up!