Sewing for the Home ~ Patchwork Kitchen Towels

on September 5 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 130 Comments

Patchwork kitchen towels are super-easy. They add a pop of color to your cooking space and they make really nice gifts too. If you make one you’ll want to make more! You can go wild and coordinate these with your patchwork hot pads.

First off, find a very basic kitchen towel. Mine is from the dollar section at Target (you can often find them in various colors) and IKEA has them for even less. It helps to have a weave design in the towel that allows you to easily align your patchwork strip, but you can make it straight either way without much trouble.

Step One: Choose some coordinating fabrics. These are for someone with a blue and white kitchen. Cut your fabrics into 5″ lengths. Cut sections of your 5″ lengths and lay them out ’til the series pleases your eye. You might have a piece that’s 5″ x 2″ followed by a different fabric that’s 5″ x 6″. There’s no right way to do this! Occasionally I like to fussy-cut a fabric so part of the design has prominence (like in this set with the birds).

Step Two: Sew your pieces together in a big, long strip. You don’t need a very big seam allowance because these seams won’t get much wear and tear. Be sure your final strip is longer than the short side of your dish towel.

Step Three: Press your seams open.

Step Four: Trim the long edges of your patchwork strip so they’re super-straight.

Step Five: Lay the strip on the towel to determine where you should fold your end seams over. You want to press this fold so that it matches up with the edge of your towel. Do the same on the opposite side.

Step Six: Decide where you want the strip to go: set it on the towel, then flip it down so the pretty side of the fabric meets your kitchen towel. If you’re using 5″ of fabric your strip will now be approximately 5″ below where you want your final strip. If you have a big waffle weave like I did you probably don’t need to pin the strip in place, but you can do so if you think it will help. Sew along the top, long edge of your patchwork strip.

Step Seven: Press the fabric strip up, and press a fold along opposite long edge of your fabric strip. You should now have the strip attached on one long side, with pressed folds on the remaining three sides. Double check that your side folds still match up with the edges of your towel (re-press if necessary).

Step Eight: Sew all around the inside of your patchwork strip with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Again, you can choose to pin your strip in place first but it probably isn’t necessary. Cut your threads.

Done! Try another one!

Optional Tip: If you’re making a set of towels as a gift, it’s nice to throw in a few tea towels (also incredibly inexpensive in sets at places like Target). I like to appliqué a couple of coordinating fabrics on the tea towels. For these I simply pressed a fold on all of the edges and then did Step Eight above.

Now you’re really done! Show us your set in the photo pool!

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130 Responses to Sewing for the Home ~ Patchwork Kitchen Towels

  1. alta white says:

    Been researching this most of the day this was very helpful thanks.

  2. Camie Coles says:

    Hey! Thanks for the super idea! Mine were not as complex as yours, but I think they turned out pretty cute. Thanks again

  3. Ranen says:

    Hello. I never know how much of what I say is true.
    I am from Rwanda and learning to speak English, give please true I wrote the following sentence: “One of the most harmful among beaches bleaching teeth is too the light laser, teeth whitening.”

    Thank you so much for your future answers 8-). Ranen.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I made something similar to this last week and added rickrack along the edge. The set I made will be part of a wedding gift.

  5. I have always had a desire to learn to quilt. As anything else.. it money to get started in any new interest or hobby. In July of 2008 my dear cousin Gretchen and her family came to West Virginia for a visit. Knowing she was a quilter, I picked a few quilt shop stops on a day trip we took together. I kept telling her on the trip that one day… I am going to quilt. To my surprise…. and shock…. she had decided to send me one of her sewing machines that she did not use much. She is a huge fan of Elna…

  6. read2sew says:

    I can’t wait to try these. Easy way to dress up the kitchen.

  7. Bette M. says:

    What a great gift idea!!! I love the hot pad pattern too, from September (sorry…I’ve just come across this blog this month)! Will probably make some of the hot pads this weekend!

  8. Deb says:

    Those towels are so cute.

  9. Cedric says:

    These towels remind me of the ones I used to see at my grandmother’s house. Thanks for the memories!

  10. Janet says:

    I have enjoyed my short visit to your blog. Wonderful tips. :)

  11. Tammy says:

    This is really cute! I am a new quilter, so this will be a great project for me!

  12. Mymsie says:

    Do you prewash the towels or fabric? Thanks!

  13. sanmcmanamon says:

    Love making distinctive hostess gifts, you coordinate with their bath or kitchen. Great ideas, love the pieceing tips! I am new to blogging and posting, hope I win!
    Sandy

  14. Rachel says:

    A lovely idea! I’ve got an all white kitchen (we just moved, ugh) so I will be adding some splashes of color this way!

    Thanks!

  15. Hollie Fike says:

    These may be on my Christmas gifts to make list. I love them.

  16. Sherri says:

    This is a great project…I’ve been looking for something like this to make for gifts! Thank you very much! It would also be so fun to win the Amy Butler fat quarters…awesome giveaway!

  17. Karen says:

    This would be a great addition to a set of hot pads and oven mitts for a kitchen themed gift. Well done!

  18. Donna Crum says:

    Great gift idea and not too cute at all!

  19. Mrs. H says:

    These are definitely on my “going-to-make-&-give-for-Christmas-gifts” list!! Thank you!

  20. Trisha says:

    What a great way to use some scraps of my favorite fabrics and be able to enjoy them!

  21. Cheryl says:

    I really need to try to make these ones, very nice.

  22. Dorte says:

    Thank you – these will be made for christmas!!!

  23. Sarah says:

    These are so pretty. What a great gift idea!

  24. Stephanie says:

    I’m making these tonight! They are soooo cute!

  25. Tammi S. says:

    I’m going to start making some for christmas gifts!!! Thanks for the tutorial.

  26. KathyB says:

    A set of these would be great for Christmas with cute Christmas fabrics.

  27. Terri says:

    I’m going to do some of these for Christmas gifts. They’re so cute!!

  28. Sheac Yee says:

    I love this simple yet very elegant idea. And homemade things always speak from the heart. My mom loves giving dish towels as gifts. I think these would make wonderful gifts.

  29. marcia says:

    I had some difficulty finding plain towels I was happy with, but finally did find a couple of nice size plain black ones at my local Meijers. I pieced togather an assortment of bright scraps and the result was fun, pretty and make my kitchen feel happy! The trick now is is break out of my old “save them for good” habit, and just start using them and enjoying them. Afterall, I deserve pretty, happy things to work with, right?
    Thanks for all the inspiring ideas. I see more pretty, fun things in my future!

  30. mattie says:

    That is such a great idea, especially with the holidays coming up….and the need for teacher gifts. Thanks a lot! Mattie

  31. Colleen Knauber says:

    I had made blackberry jam for Christmas gifts this year and now I can add a perfect tea towe in the basket too. I will add some scones and wait for Thank You notes! Thanks for a great tutorial.

  32. Steph W says:

    I love, love this idea – thank you so much! It’s great for those of us just beginning to sew!

  33. Libby says:

    I have been in a blue phase lately. I love the materials she used in this tutorial.

  34. Net says:

    Your towels look so beautiful, and such an inspiring colour combination too! Thanks so much for the tutorial. A lot of people I know will be getting kitchen towels for Christmas ;)

  35. Those towels are so cute. I have so many scraps I can’t bring myself to toss, now I can sew them to a dishcloth. This would also make terrific teacher or neighbor Christmas presents. THANK YOU!

  36. susaningle1945 says:

    Gotta try these….loved them!

  37. Heather W. says:

    What a neat idea!!! I love it and you can do it for seasonal ones or just to coordinate with the kitchen!!! Can’t wait to try it!

  38. Jess says:

    I’m going to make some of these to match the apron I’m making for my grandma for christmas!

  39. Sara R. says:

    Oooh, I think I know what I’m making for Christmas gifts!

  40. Angela says:

    I’ll have to try that! Maybe Christmas gifts…

  41. Woody says:

    Super tutorial – just the thing to make to go with the apron I made today for my sister

  42. Janice says:

    These make such great gifts.

  43. Mel Hallam says:

    I just found some towels I had wanted to embellish ages ago… I might just try this for some pretty towels.

  44. Cristin Greenlee says:

    These are very cute and would make a great gift! Especially for newlyweds or new home owners!

  45. JenR says:

    How cute and fun are these!! I see LOTS of new towels in my (and friend/family) future!!

  46. Karen says:

    Thanks for this great idea! I can’t wait to make some for gifts.

  47. Lynn says:

    These are beautiful! I definitely need some for my kitchen!

  48. CIndie says:

    what a great Christmas present this would be for a friend who is in my quilting group. Thanks for sharing!

  49. Kathy says:

    What a great fast gift idea! I know a certain family who has patchwork towels in their future!

  50. Harley says:

    Those are so pretty! What a simple way to dress up an ordinary towel.

  51. Catherine says:

    I love this idea and think I’ll try to make some for a housewarming gift soon!

  52. Cheryl says:

    Great project! It will be very easy to make a set for each season. I think my new daughter-in-law might need a set for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!

  53. Blayne says:

    Awesome idea – i love it! :)

  54. Carrie says:

    I love this idea. I’m going to have to remember this for Christmas.

  55. stephanie says:

    this is exactly what i want to make for my friends for Christmas. Thank you from a beginner sewer for showing this project!

  56. Amy says:

    I made a set of these for our PTO raffle, for a housewarming gift, and many for Christmas gifts! Thanks for the great idea.

  57. Carrie S says:

    I think I”ll have to make some for Christmas gifts-thanks for the idea!

  58. MegVS says:

    Looks cute and easy! Thanks!

  59. Melissa says:

    This is a fun and easy idea, love it!

  60. Abbi says:

    I really like this idea. I think this would be a great wedding gift idea for couples. Find out their kitchen colors and then make something to match! Can’t wait to try it out!

  61. Juli Davis says:

    These look like great gifts… and what a great tutorial! Thanks!

  62. Corkers says:

    This looks like a great idea, especially for jazzing up the holidays!

  63. Katie B. says:

    Those are pretty darn nifty! I may have to try that…

  64. Linda says:

    Too cute! I happen to have a few scraps and a few towels on hand, and the need for a not-so challenging project.

    Thank you for sharing!

  65. Erin says:

    Great tutorial – thanks for sharing!

  66. What a great way to use up leftover patchwork strips! I bet I have enough to make towels for everyone on my gift list.

  67. Jennifer says:

    Dang. Very nice. I wonder if I’d be afraid to use my beautfiul towels, or if I’d be inspired to clean more?

  68. Lindsay says:

    What a great gift idea! My mom will love these for her new kitchen!

  69. These are adorable! My daughter and I look forward to making some of these for our kitchen!!

    Thanks!

    Jennifer SIkora

  70. RuthAnn says:

    Love your towels! This will be a great way to use up coordinating fabric leftover from projects. Keep up the good work!

  71. Samantha says:

    Great idea! I’ll have to try this one!

  72. Sarah A. says:

    I love this idea! I think I’ll try it soon! :)

  73. Elaine says:

    These are great! Good way to use up small bits of fabric.

  74. Allison says:

    These are great. What a great gift idea too!

  75. Molly says:

    Awesome! I can’t wait to make some for Christmas presents. Great idea.

  76. iHanna says:

    I love small pieces of patchwork in everyday items, this is so cute!

  77. Alice S says:

    I love this idea to add a splash of color to boring towels. I embellished hand towels for my guest bath this week and they look great!

  78. Robin says:

    Love this idea! It will make a great gift for my husband’s grandmother.

  79. Amber says:

    These are great and I love the idea of making sets with the hot pads!

  80. Sarah says:

    I’m excited to try these! Ikea, here I come.

  81. mary says:

    I have the towels. I was disappointed by the way the embroidery came out.. Quilted bands on the towels here I come.

    thanks for the great tutorial

  82. Bree says:

    such a great idea, I’m making aprons for people for Christmas – now they will be getting some matching tea towels as well!

  83. Sarah says:

    love these! can’t wait to make a few, tie them up with some decorative twine and surprise a friend!

  84. Celeste says:

    These look lovely! Thanks so much for sharing.

  85. Lorie says:

    I love the patchwork! Beautiful!

  86. Melissa says:

    Can I say great christmas gift idea?

  87. michelle says:

    I definately want to try these! I always see cheap towels at ikea.

  88. Rachel says:

    I am going to start a whole batch of these this weekend! I can’t wait!! I am going to make sets to give as presents this Holiday season. Thanks!

  89. Cedric says:

    Wow! I am blown away. I wish I came to your site before I bought a ton of kitchen towels. Your towels look great. Thanks

  90. katie r says:

    now I need to pick a color for the kitchen in our new apt. These are definitely on my to do list. So great! Thanks for sharing!

  91. Tammi says:

    I love these! Would make a great last-minute gift.

  92. anja says:

    I love this idea–I actually had a similar idea. I want to use up fabric scraps, and have begun working on patchwork cloth napkins as gifts for friends and family.

  93. Melanie O. says:

    Love them – great idea!

  94. Carrie says:

    Yeah! What a fun and cute idea. I have a wedding shower coming up and these will be a perfect gift. Thanks for the tutorial!

  95. Christy says:

    So adorable! These would make great Christmas gifts.

  96. Mrs. Pear says:

    Oh, this is fantastic!

    Our church honors each bride with a shower, and I was looking for something that I could make that would be useful and meaningful (as in it would actually get used and would hopefully remind the recipient how much we love her!).

    I will definitely be making this one! When the littlest is a bit bigger…

  97. amylouwho says:

    I can’t wait to make these. I need to get to IKEA asap and get some towels! Actually, the ones here would match my kitchen perfectly! Can I just have those?

  98. Jackie says:

    This one I really like!! Because it is patchwork, I have a special fondness for it. How quick are these to make?! And I am going to IKEA this weekend, perfect!

  99. Lisa C says:

    This is a great tutorial…would love to make some, so I got to find me some plain towels. Thanks for posting.

  100. Martine says:

    I expect every day your new posts and it is very exciting to have every day something beautiful to do, I love September Sewing for the Home Month.
    I just have finished a kitchen towel inspired by my daughter russian studies, an autumn towel with autumn writed in russian. So I have today joined your pool.
    I also begin a pot holder but it is not already finished.
    Thanks so much for your great ideas!
    A french mum.

  101. Stacey says:

    Love this….
    I really like the simple, but clear directions and pictures ~!!!

  102. McHats says:

    very nice

  103. Kelli says:

    Love these! What a great and simple idea. Thanks!

  104. Julie says:

    ohhh GREAT! I needed something else to make the “girls” for Xmas. Now you just need some good “guy” ideas!

  105. Christine Bolin says:

    I really like this idea. Off to scrounge up some not so bad looking towels. Or to the Daollar Store.

  106. Ruth says:

    I really like these! A good way to use up scraps…

  107. debra says:

    I love those!! I am thinking those would be great Christmas gifts…..
    Thanks for sharing.

  108. kim says:

    wow these will great to use in gift baskets at holiday time :)

  109. Natalie says:

    I think I have the same waffle weave Target towels, and they’ve been waiting to be customized. Thank you for the inspiration!

  110. Maggie says:

    Adorable. Definitely a great hostess gift. Perfect timing for holiday parties.

  111. Cheryl says:

    I love these towels. Have always wanted to know how to do them and now I do thanks to your tutorial. I find it interesting that you actually press the seams open. I am sure there is good reason for this.

  112. Mandy says:

    What a great idea! These will be perfect to pair with the aprons I have made for birthday gifts this fall! Thanks!

  113. Katie says:

    This is a great idea – you can make up sets for gifts :-)

  114. Suzy :) says:

    One other thing I like to do when I make towels like this is to topstitch over the whole applique area. I usually zig-zag up and down across the strip… just something big and loose across the fabric strip, to help it stay down… it also creates some quilt-like wrinkles when washed. Anyway, just an idea… topstitch / outline stitch / decorative stitch across the fabric strip. :D

  115. Lalli says:

    They look sooo beautiful. :). Thank you for the tutorial. :)

  116. upstatelisa says:

    They look so nice I wouldnt want to get them all messed up in the kitchen! :-)

  117. Baba says:

    Quick way to co-ordinate a kitchen!

  118. Margie says:

    Such a fantastic way to make pretty kitchen towels. You make it so easy!!

  119. Paula Gipson says:

    OH I LOVE THESE!! What a GREAT idea!! I am going to use some fall colors and put them out for autumn!!! :) Thanks for the GREAT tutorial!!

  120. rachelle says:

    i can’t wait to try these. so so cute. i love the butter yellow ones~ yum~! thank you!

  121. v & co says:

    oh i love this idea thanks for sharing!

  122. Shannon says:

    This would make such a nice gift but I cant forget my kitchen too:) Thanks for the tutorial!

  123. Lori says:

    I love this idea. Hey you boring kitchen towels!! Here I come with some sprucing up for you! Thanks for the instructions.

  124. Jennifer says:

    Keep the great tutorials coming. I’ve been thinking about doing kitchen items for our big family gift swap this year. All your great kitchen items will come in handy.

  125. Molly says:

    I know these are a great idea for a gift but I can’t wait to make some for myself!

  126. Jen says:

    Wow! I was thinking of doing some Christmas kitchen towels for a grab bag and couldn’t visualize how to do it. I’m so glad I ran into your blog! Thanks for the tutorial. Perfect timing!

    Jen

  127. Sandy says:

    Love this idea and the fabrics you chose!

  128. Amy says:

    Just added these to ‘the list’. (That’s the hugely gigantic: must make these, list.) Thanks!

  129. Georgi P. says:

    Great blues – thanks for this idea.

  130. BethieB says:

    Those are so cute! I can’t wait to see everyone’s pictures of them.

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