12 Days of Handmade Christmas|Day 6 Embellished Dishtowels

by Edie Wadsworth on November 6, 2010

If you’re new to the ’12 Days’, you may visit the previous days by clicking on the day you like:

Day 1 Crayon Roll

Day 2 Zippered Pouches

Day 3 Appliqued Placemats

Day 4 Quilted Potholders

Day 5 Camera Strap

Isn’t this waaaayyy too much fun? I made my first project last night, the zippered pouch, in about 40 minutes. I goofed up a little because I glanced over the directions before I started and then didn’t look again until the ‘uh-oh’ moment. It turned out great anyways and I’ve got another one ready to sew up. I’ll follow all the directions this time, I promise. Have you tried any projects yet?    Well, you should. Come on, it’s the weekend and it’s gonna be cold here in East TN. Perfect for hunkering down with your sewing machine which I fully intend to do!  Now, without further adieu, I give you the ever talented Elise from Nest Sweet Nest. Her blog is chock full of crafty adventures so make sure and visit her this weekend!

Hey y’all, I’m Elise from Nest Sweet Nest, where I blog about crafting, decorating, thrifting, dreaming of old farmhouses, baking, and my four sweet kids…Jackson, Lilly, Fisher, and Violet. Stop by for a visit sometime!!     When I read Edie’s post about The Twelve Days of Handmade Christmas, I knew I wanted to join in. I am so excited to be a part of it this year!!     For my part, I am showing y’all how to make some cute tea towels. These make wonderful hostess gifts, teacher gifts, girlfriend gifts…Tie up with a loaf of homemade pumpkin bread and a Starbucks giftcard and you have a perfectly cute, perfectly welcome gift!!
First, gather all the supplies:
*cute fabric-three different prints
*thread-the color of the towel, pompoms, and fabric{I actually used white here, but you can match the thread with the fabric}
*m&m’s-optional, I suppose ;)

I personally think holiday colored m&m’s are more fun to eat!!
Let’s get started…

You’ll want to cut{or tear} your fabric into strips, roughly 2 inches wide by one and a half to double the width of your towel.

Turn the dial to the longest stitch length. Sew down the middle of each strip.

To gather, you just need to grab one piece of thread and gently slide your fabric down, being careful not to rip the thread.

You will want to make sure your ruffles are the width of the towel and evenly gathered. Play around until you get the placement you like.

Pin the ruffles to the towel.

Next, you will sew the ruffle to the towel, going over the gathering stitch and taking out pins before it goes under the foot. DO NOT LEAVE THE PIN IN!! Ask me how I know…it involves a broken needle and a call to 911. Thankfully, no lasting damage was caused!! I now have safety glasses curtesy of my husband’s co-worker. ;) Do make sure to turn your stitch length dial back down.

Cut pompoms to size and sew them to the back of the towel. You will want to change your thread to match the pompoms and the bobbin to match the towel.

Add Image

Voila!! You have a cute, ruffled dishtowel that anyone would love!!


I also have another towel to share with y’all. I really love the way this one turned out!!

This one I made from a flour sack towel. You will also need three fabrics, pompoms and wonder under for this towel. You can get a four pack of these flour sack towels at Target.

I used a salad plate and a bread and butter plate for the circles. Lay the plate atop your fabric and cut a square just a smidge larger than the plate. Do that for both circles and your image. Once you get that square, you will iron it to the wonder under, being careful not to iron the wonder under itself, or else it will make your iron sticky.

Then you will use a fabric marker or pencil{I think the water soluble markers work best} to trace the plate onto the fabric. Cut out the shape. Do this for all three fabrics. I opted to use a rooster shape{click here for image, copy and save} for the applique, but you could do any animal or even a monogram. I made a Valentine towel, with a heart, for a friend, you can see it here. For the rooster, I just saved the image and opened a word document and enlarged it. I printed it and cut it out. Then I traced it on the fabric and cut it out.

I opened the towel and ironed the creases out. They are folded about four times and once you get your towel all prettied up, it will only be folded into thirds. Determine the middle third and place the biggest circle in it. Iron it on, then sew inside the edge. I used a contrasting thread and around it twice for more whimsy. I then ironed the second circle onto the first one and sewed around it, then did the same with the rooster. Once that was finished, I sewed the pompoms on like the first towel. If you don’t sew, don’t fret, you can totally make this towel. You will just get another wonder under type-they make some that are no sew and use Allene’s craft glue to adhere the pompoms.

Another fun, cute towel for some lucky person on your Christmas list!! You could customize this towel all kinds of ways, using a tree for Christmas, bunny image for Easter, star for the Fourth of July, the options are endless!!

Happy Sewing and Merry Christmas!! Thank you, Edie, for letting me have fun here today!!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy R. November 6, 2010 at 2:59 pm

This is adorable and so doable for the beginner seamstress! I love these ideas and I love Elise! She did a great job and her tutorial was very easy to follow.
Thanks Elise for the inspiration! Now off to Target for some towels!


2 Amy R. November 6, 2010 at 2:59 pm



3 Aimee November 6, 2010 at 3:03 pm

that ruffled tea towel is adorable! must bookmark this!


4 Lori November 6, 2010 at 3:43 pm

LOVE this! And I love Elise, too! I can’t wait to get out my sewing machine!!!:) Lori


5 Jen November 6, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Great tutorials… a “twofer”… I have been enjoying the 12 days of Handmade Christmas….


6 Heather November 6, 2010 at 7:26 pm

love this!! so happy to see the super sweet elise, too!


7 Becky @ Farmgirl Paints November 6, 2010 at 8:08 pm

So cute! Those would be great handmade gifts for Christmas.


8 Marenda November 7, 2010 at 10:56 am

I love these got to show to my mother. She just loves to sew and we could enjoy doing this together.


9 Marenda November 7, 2010 at 10:57 am

I just love your ideas. I plan to show my mother she just loves to sew.


10 Monica November 7, 2010 at 11:21 am

Hey Elise!

I love that ruffle dishtowel – brilliant, I say! These would be great for our SS teachers! Thanks for a great idea!



11 Sarah November 8, 2010 at 3:27 am

I’m loving these hand towels! I made a set with ribbon instead of a ruffle BUT, now that I know how to make the ruffle I’m certain to make another set. Thanks for the great tutorial!
God’s blessings,
Sarah :D


12 tam November 8, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Thank you for another great gift idea, I picked up 6 dish towels at Target this weekend :)


13 Janet Sprayberry November 13, 2010 at 2:31 am

My daughter is so adorable! AND creative! I’m so proud of her!
She is the best mom, wife and great friend!
I Love You Pooh! :)


14 Storybookwoods December 22, 2010 at 8:29 am

Very charming Elise and soo easy to make. Thank you xoxo Clarice


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