Keeping It Simple - Oven Towels

My machine has been under the weather lately.  Somehow I had put the needle through the bobbin case and just replacing that one part did not do the trick.  After a trip to the machine tech I am up an running again – just in time to make Halloween costumes.  But first I wanted to try it out with something simple to be sure.  My friend had requested some redwork “oven” hanging towels a few weeks ago.  She even gave me the towels.  So, I decided that this would be a good test.  There will be four when I get them all made but I thought I would share the first with you today.  Here is the simple version of a hanging kitchen towel:

Here is what you need:

One kitchen towel

One 9”X12” rectangle coordinating cotton fabric

1” square Velcro set

One large button

Embroidery design of choice (We used Annthegran Winter Redwork)

Tear away stabilizer

Lapel Stick or temporary adhesive (optional)

Wash away stabilizer if using a terry towel

Embroidery and sewing threads

Here is what you do:

1.        Fold the towel and cut in half.  You will only need one half to make a hanging kitchen towel.

2.       Using tear away stabilizer embroider your design as desired leaving the raw edge of the towel at the top.  (Note:  If you do not want to hoop the towel just hoop the stabilizer and adhere the towel on top using the lapel stick.  If your towel has nap adhere the edges of the wash away stabilizer on top before embroidering.)

3.       After embroidering.  Using cotton thread and long thread tails at beginning and end sew long stitches about 1/4:” from the raw edge.  Repeat about 18” below the first stitching line.  Take one long thread and gently gather the towel top to approximately 8”.  Set aside. 

4.       With right sides together fold the 9”X12” rectangle in half so that it measures 9”X6”.  Using ½” seam sew both 6” sides.  Trim corners.

5.       Turn right side out and press.  Turn bottom raw edge to inside ½” all the way around.  Press.


6.       Insert gathered edge of towel into the opening of the cotton rectangle.  Adjust the gathers to fit and pin making sure to cover the stitching lines on the raw edge of the towel.  Check the backside to be sure all is covered there as well.  Sew close to the folded edge of the cotton rectangle through all layers.


7.       Top stitch all the way around the cotton rectangle.  Trim any thread tails.

8.       Place towel face up.  Center the Velcro squares at top and bottom edges of the cotton rectangle and sew in place.

9.       Fold down so the Velcro square match up.  Hand sew the button on the front covering the stitches of the Velcro.

10.       Make another with the remaining half towel.  Wrap it up and you have one gift ready to give.

There are lots of ways to make these and they are nice for keeping that towel off the floor, out of the sink and in a place where you can always have it handy.  It is a gift that many do not have but, like my friend, find they cannot do without after they have used them.  I hope you like my easy version.

Take care,


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Christmas Tree Skirt from Table Runners

Christmas Tree Skirt from Table Runners

To take a simple or plain idea and mold it into something personal and unique is always rewarding. Michelle Gauthier created a special Christmas tree skirt to become a focal point for holiday cheer in her home. Without spending a lot she gave of her time and love to bring special smiles to those around her. This is a clever and simple way to make a tree skirt, but if you insist on the Battenburg lace variety, you can find them on my site.

Michelle's Description
I made this skirt out of 3 1/2 table runners that I purchased from the Dollar Store. I chose to use two different colors, but three could be used, or it could all be made from one color. I have to give full credit to AnnTheGran embroidery design contributer Diane Carothers, whose snowman designs inspired me to make something out of them.

Step by Step:
I took the 4 table runners, purchased for one dollar each. I cut them in half so that I could double the tassled ends available to me. I chose to use Christmas red, and cream, and alternated, sewing together along the already finished seams. On the cream pieces, I embroidered the snowman designs by Diane Carothers. Once the embroideries were completed and the pieces were sewn together, I simply turned the top edge under and under a second time to form a pocket to run a fancy cord through.

The purpose of this is a drawstring to pull the top of the piece around the trunk of the tree and gather it to make it look fuller. Once the drawstring was fed through, it was as simple as tying the drawstring around the trunk and straightening the skirt out around the base of the tree.

What Makes This Project Special
I started with something simple and the result was an expensive-looking, original tree skirt that is one-of-a-kind. I am excited to present this easy, attractive and inexpensive idea to the sewing community. I hope that others are able to take my idea and expand on it in ways I haven't yet thought of - and then let me know how you have improved on the idea.

Skill Level
I think that this is a very simple project and might be good for beginner or budding seamstresses. I would also suggest trying applique designs on the panels, as this would be an attractive variation. Even to put padding under the applique would be really cute.

Table Runners
Snowman Designs
Attractive Cord (for drawstring)

Time Invested
The entire project, once embroidery was complete, takes approx. 30 minutes. The embroidery is something you can do while doing other stuff around your house.

Why I Love This Project
My kids love the idea that the tree skirt is special and unique and their friends' families do not have anything like it under their tree. That is what makes it worth the work, I think. Seeing smiling faces at Christmas time is the best! I hope you can all enjoy my idea and make a tree skirt for your home that is uniquely your own.

Send Us Your Creations
Do you have any creations that go with a great story? If so, we'd love to hear about them, and see them! If we choose to post your project, you'll get a free $25 gift certificate to use in the online store. Click here for details on how to submit your creation.

What Would You Do?
Michelle used simple $1 runners to inexpensively create an item that can sometimes be quite expensive to buy. Click on the Comments link to tell us about the most creative item you have used to make a decorative project.

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