May 11, 2013

Easy DIY Un-paper Towels [No Snaps, No Serging]

I have been wanting to make myself some "un-paper towels" for quite a while now. Not only is it an eco-friendly alternative to regular paper towels, but it is also tons cheaper! I had leftover scraps from other projects and a re-purposed flannel sheet, so the only thing I spent money on was a $5 yard of french terry cloth. That is about 4-5 rolls of regular paper towels, so in about a month these babies will pay for themselves!

I've seen quite a few of these un-paper towel sets on Etsy, but usually they have snaps so that you can connect them together in a roll. That just sounded pretty tedious to me. So here is a tutorial for towels that don't require a snap press or a serger!

The great thing about this project is that you don't have to be good as sewing. You only have to know how to sew in a straight line. If your towels end up crooked --Oh well!--you are just going to use them to clean up messes and to wipe your mouth.

To make this project you will need:

11" x 11" squares of 
- regular cotton
- flannel
- terry cloth

[You should be able to get (12) 11" squares out of a yard of fabric]

Sewing machine/thread

As you can see, my flannel for the middle layer was from a bright red Christmas bed sheet. It really doesn't matter what the flannel looks like because it won't be seen, but keep in mind that it might show through when the towel is wet. 

 Layer your fabric like so: flannel, then terry cloth (fuzzy side up), and regular cotton (pretty side down).

 I used french terry cloth which is a shorter-nap version of the regular washcloth-type terry cloth. Any terry cloth will work fine.

Pin the layers together [with pinheads pointing in a clockwise direction - this will make the pins easier to remove as you sew]

Using pins, mark a start and end point [leaving a 3" opening] and sew around the edge of the towel.

Sew 1/4" from the edge

When you get to a corner, stitch almost to the edge (about 1/4" away) and then use the wheel on the right-hand side of your sewing machine to bring your needle down into the fabric. 
Lift up the presser foot and pivot the fabric so that you can sew the next side.
Lower your presser foot and continue sewing.
This will make a nice clean corner and its super easy.

Trim the edges just a bit [just don't trim where the opening is, or it might be difficult to stitch later]

This is where I had to pause to feed a certain little munchkin.
 Ain't he just too cute?? Look at those chubby legs!

Separate the terry cloth and the cotton fabric, and turn right-side-out.
I find it easier to poke the corners out first.

Straighten the edges [you may need to iron it and/or pin the edges flat]

Tuck the edges of the opening in and pin securely.

Sew very close to the edge all the way around the top of the towel.

The corner will be a little tricky because they are several layers thick. If your machine will let you, try lessening the downward pressure of the presser foot. You may also need to tug at the towel as I'm doing in the above photo.

And there you have it - your finished towel! Ready for as mess you can throw at it!

Make a bunch more and fill up a drawer with them.
I store mine in a grocery bag holder (see video link below).

To see the video version of this tutorial CLICK HERE


dönek güvercin said...

en iyi havlu kenarı halkalı olsa bi

Sarah said...

This is great! I like the video too. I was a little put-off by the snap together version of the unpaper towels and don't own a serger so this version will be perfect if I ever find the time to sit down and sew! I'm doing some kitchen sets for Christmas gifts (placemats, oven mitts, etc.) and I think these will make a good addition to my gift sets too. I noticed your little one is having a birthday tomorrow so HAPPY BIRTHDAY, little pineapple! My own little guy will be one in December. I got him for Christmas last year.