Thursday, December 4, 2014

Twelve Days of Christmas 2014: 1. linen teatowels

For the second year, we're bringing you a bunch of ideas for handmade Christmas gifts and also, lovely gifts for the makers in your life. (Or, gifts for you to hint loudly at with your loved ones!)

First up is the humble teatowel. In my house, we have a large stack in very high rotation, used for everything from actually wiping dishes, to potholders, covering food that's cooling on the bench, wiping hands, wiping up spills on the floor, you name it. They're often still doing the rounds when they're shamefully stained and threadbare. New teatowels are a great excuse to banish some of the worst old ones to the rag pile!

Everyone could use a simple and elegant new handmade teatowel in their life. Linen is the fabric of tradition, and it becomes softer and more absorbent, use after use. Combine our natural flax-coloured linen with some decorative machine stitches (you know, those ones your machine does and you probably never use?), simply hem and you're done.

  • Natural linen, 150cm wide: 50cm will make 2 teatowels, 75cm will make 3, 1 metre will make 4.
  • Coloured cotton thread.
  • Natural cotton thread for hemming.
  • Fabric marker - ideally heat erasable.
For two teatowels:
Cut your 50cm x 150cm piece of linen in half so you have two pieces 50cm x 75cm.

Cut off the selvedges.

Mark lines on the ends of your teatowel for your fancy stitching.  
These heat-erasable pens are ideal because the line vanishes with ironing. 
It's up to you how many lines and where to place them. Odd numbers tend to have a pleasing effect.

 Try out some fancy stitches and thread colours on some scrap fabric of the same weight as your linen. You may need to adjust the stitch length and tension to get the desired result.

 Stitch slowly and surely along your pre-marked lines.
Most machines, even fairly old ones, will have some fancy stitching capability. 
On mine, these black plastic cams can be changed to make different patterns.

 Iron away your marking lines.
This variegated cotton thread by Valdani (available in store) is slightly thicker than regular thread but works well in the machine and makes a gorgeous graduated colour effect.

 Make a narrow  double-fold hem, first down both long sides of the teatowel and then along the top and bottom, backstitching to secure at each end. 
This linen finger-pressed beautifully, and I found the best way to achieve the hem was to finger press the first fold, then create the second fold as I sewed, turning it under just a little way in front of the presser foot.
 Done, and ready for Christmas giving!
- Jane & Fiona xx

1 comment:

  1. what great tea towels, a fun way to use the decorative stitches hadly ever even looked at on my machine!


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