For our holiday decorating series, I wanted to deliver quick projects could easily be turned into gifts. When I started searching for inspiration, I saw many adorable ready-made options that I knew I could make for a fraction of the cost!
Which brings us to our holiday tea towel set. After seeing a set of embroidered tea towels at Anthropologie, I loved the idea of mixing embroidery with a kitschy fabric for a fun and unique gift. Since I get to see all the new fabric as it arrives, I knew exactly what fabric I would choose! The tiny Santas make me giggle and they would make a great white elephant gift.
Tea towels are a perfect option because they have endless fabric combinations that can be customized to suit the holidays or your home decor. Not to mention they are so cute we’re sure you will want to whip up a set right away! Make up a set for hostess gifts, or hang a festive and functional towel in your kitchen for the holidays.
Today I will show you both an embroidered and appliqued version for a holiday tea towel set. With the help of our toweling fabric, this project comes together quickly in an afternoon. Plus, they are easy to make in an assembly line if you want to make a few sets to give as gifts.
-3/4 yard Toweling per tea towel
-1/4 yard Holiday Fabric or 2 Fat Quarters for applique and embroidery
-1/4 yard Lightweight Fusible Interfacing
-Scissors or Rotary cutter
-Embroidery Hoop (4-6″)
First, we must finish the towels. Since two of the edges come finished step this will go fast. Then we can move on to the fun stuff…embellishing!
Begin by cutting your toweling to 27″ long, straightening the edges if necessary.
Fold the unfinished edges up 1/2″ and press using your iron. Then, fold up again 1/2″ to create a completely finished edge and press again. I like to clip my inner corner, see picture above, before I do my second fold to make it easier to sew but this is optional! Line up your stripes, if you have them, and pin. Now, sew together using 3/8″ seam allowance. Clip your threads and its time to customize our towels.
We will be doing machine applique. To begin, start by cutting out the image you want to applique on your towel. I recommend giving yourself at least a 1/4″ to 1/2″ extra material around the image to make sure none of the picture gets covered up.
Next, cut a square of fusible interfacing large enough to cover your image.
First, we will sew the image to the fusible interfacing. Place your fabric with the right sides together, with the bumpy side of the interfacing touching the right side of your fabric.
Then, using a scant 1/4″ seam, carefully seam around the outside of your applique, leaving a small opening. Using the space left unsewn, flip your fabric right side out. Smooth out your edges and tuck the unfinished part of your applique inside.
Decide where you want your applique to go and press following the directions for your fusible interfacing in place.
Once your applique is fused, it is time to machine applique. We will be using a small zigzag stitch with a short stitch length. I set my machine to the settings shown in the picture below but make sure to test your machine on scrap before starting. You want to ensure that your zigzag starts on the inner edge of your applique and extends to the toweling beyond it.
Slowly zigzag stitch around the entire applique, using a locking stitch or back stitch at the end.
Using embroidery floss in a contrasting color, cut the thread and knot the end. Using printed font or freestyle handwriting, trace your words onto your fabric using your pen or chalk of choice. I used a white pencil and normal embroidery floss.
Now it’s time to embroider. Be creative, use your favorite stitches for letters! If you don’t have one, a split stitch is clean and easy to learn. Sublime stitching has great tutorials that can be found here.
That’s it! Now you have a cute new set of tea towels to keep or give away! I hope you guys try this out, and be sure to share pictures of your finished towels!