Thursday, June 14, 2012

Un-paper towel Tutorial

About a month ago I realized that we go through a ton of paper towels in a day, like 2-4 each meal, and whatever I use to clean up the kitchen after meals.  That’s a lot of paper towels!  Being a work at home mom, I am always looking for ways to save money.  We’ve already made the switch to cloth diapers, homemade laundry soap, and homemade baby food just to name a few.  These all save money AND are greener than the alternative – that’s doubly as good! 

Oh yeah, the tutorial…after lots of research I decided to make my un-paper towels out of a layer of terry and a layer of flannel.  The terry cloth is good for scrubbing dirty hands and tables and the flannel side is pretty absorbent.  I waited until flannel was on sale for 50% off at Joann’s and brought in another 50% off coupon for the terry cloth.  My original plan was to get 2 yards of flannel and 2 yards of terry, but I found two prints I liked in the flannel so I bought 4 yards of each. 

First wash your fabric! It will shrink, shed and fray.   I prewash everything before I sew it’s an extra step but nothing is worse than finishing a project, throwing it in the washer then pulling it out to find that it is wonky because it shrunk. 

I cut my fabric into 13” squares, I wanted my towels to be 12” squares.  The terry will make a huge mess, there will be little fuzzy balls everywhere!

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Lay your fabric with the right sides together

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Pin your squares together.  If you are a novice sewer I would us more pins but I was in a hurry so I only used one pin on each side. 

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Sew around your square, I used a 1/2” seam allowance.  Don’t sew the square shut, leave about 2” open so you can flip the towel inside out.  I prefer to put the terry side down on the feed dogs when sewing, it doesn’t stretch as much as the flannel so it holds that nice square shape better.

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Cut the corners off to remove some bulk, but be careful not to cut the stitches. 

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Flip the towel right side out.  I use a dowel to get into the corners.

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Press the towel flat

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Top stitch around the edge of your towel  for a nice finished edge.  You can also use a cute decorative stitch if you want, I like the simplicity of a straight stitch so I left it plain.

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Fold your towels  and show them off in a pretty basket.  I’m planning on adding snaps eventually and putting them on a roll like actual paper towels.  Here’s the tutorial I’m going to use to add snaps.  I need a snap press (ok not need but really really want) before I can add the snaps. 

I’ve been using these for a little over a week now.  I put my bagel on one for breakfast, then clean my girls up with one after breakfast, I make our sandwiches on another one for lunch, then clean the girls up with one after lunch, and the same for dinner.  I am still using paper towels to clean the counters in the kitchen mainly because my unpaper towels are so pretty and I don’t want to get bleach stains on them! 

I have a spare wet bag hanging on our laundry closet door that we put our dirty unpaper towels in and when I’ve collected enough of them I wash them with my homemade laundry detergent. 

As always please feel free to email me at lillypiecreations@hotmail.com with any order, questions or suggestions.  I’m always adding new creations into the mix so please check my facebook page, even if you don’t have a facebook account you can look at my pictures and posts.

2 comments:

  1. These are super cute and definitely worth the extra start up money. Thanks for sharing how you made yours!

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  2. Very cool! I've made cloth napkins this way with regular cotton fabrics, but I like the idea of using terry cloth and a flannel or other backing fabric. You could use thrifted towels and flannel pants or other "found" materials for your clean-up rags, if you wanted to make some that weren't pretty. ;) Also, if you sew a little diagonal piece across the back of one of the corners, you could hang it on a hook for your kids to use-- just change out every so often. This is a very well-done tutorial. Thanks for the idea!

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