Super simple DIY Tea towels

Hey there! I’m super excited that my tea towel samples have arrived from Spoonflower. I thought I’d take the opportunity to show you all how dead simple it is to sew up a pretty tea towel to colour up your kitchen! And it only takes about one or two hours to complete.

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All you need is an iron and a sewing machine that sews straight(ish) lines. They are great for presents with a personal touch – you can even do as the Japanese do and wrap gifts in small squares of material, which the receiver can then reuse however they wish!

You’ll need:
an iron
a ruler (preferably metal)
a sharp pair of scissors
a bolt of pretty cotton/linen material about 16″x24″ (41x61cm) with an extra 1.5cm on each side for seams
a sewing machine threaded up with some cotton in a complimentary colour

Let’s go!!

  1. Cut the fabric to size and trim off any fraying threads – generally you should prewash your fabric before sewing it as cotton and linen shrinks.

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  2. Now we’re going to press the seams to make it easy to sew. Put the fabric print-side down on the ironing board and, using your ruler, fold one edge over 1.5cm (you can pin this in place if you like, I tend to fold as I go.)
  3. Press with a hot iron for a couple of seconds, mind your fingers! Do this for all sides so that there is a definite crease along each fold.

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  4. Now to make those seams really neat and professional looking. Unfold the material you have just pressed. Fold the edge of the material over so that it sits on the line of the crease made by the iron. Then refold it over on itself at the original crease. You are basically folding the seam allowance in half so that all the raw edges will be hidden in the middle of the seam.

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  5. Press again to hold the double fold and repeat the process on all sides of the tea towel.

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  6. With all that folding the corners are going to be very bulky. Cut a small amount off the corner to get rid of the extra bulk – you could do this before pressing but I think it’s easier to gauge how much to cut off once you have those crease lines in place.

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  7. Now, finally, you get to sew!! The pressing should hold the fabric in place but if you’re nervious you can pin the seams down. Choose a side and sew along the outside edge, using the foot as a guide to keep the seam straight.

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  8. Now for the clever bit! Once you get to the bottom corner, slow down until your needle lines up with the seam running perpendicular to the one you’re sewing now – use the big knob on the side of your machine to get needle accuarately in place. Position the needle so that it’s piercing the fabric (have a look at the pic). Then, with the needle still in the material, lift the foot up, turn the fabric around so that now the new, unsewn seam is lined up for sewing, and place the foot down again. You can now continue sewing, and the seams will look really neat at the end! Keep going until each side is completed, release the machine foot and trim off the threads.

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Done! How easy was that? If you would like to make your own tea towel like mine, you can buy the fabric from my Spoonflower shop here (there are two other colourways as well). Or, if my design isn’t your style, there are plenty of tea towel designs to choose from on Spoonflower. You can even get a piece of cheap calico and go to town with stamps and fabric markers to make your own unique piece!

I’d love to see what you come up with so post pics and questions below! 🙂

Artist Crush: Andrea Lauren

I first came across this amazing lady on Spoonflower, falling in love with her geometric, animal inspired patterns.

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Andrea Lauren’s Llama print

But what I love most are her intricate linocut prints! They’re simply gorgeous, I love the way she layers colours, and she gives a great insight into her process through her Instagram pictures.

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Andrea Lauren print

Isn’t that gorgeous?! It certainly makes me want to try my own hand at linocut, though I think it will take me quite some time before I can create something this detailed!

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Andrea Lauren print

Check out more of her work at http://www.inkprintrepeat.com/

Pattern Summer School

All creative people find themselves sometimes just drawing a blank. I can spend hours staring at my computer trying to think of something to draw or make and nothing happens. So as a prompt for my pattern productivity I signed up to do the Make it in Design Summer School to make myself sit down and create something – even if it turns  out badly. They’ve been really useful so far: I find that, for me, creativity needs some sort of restrictions to really give some brilliant results – if the options are limitless I just find myself becoming paralysed because I don’t know where to start!

The Summer School works by setting creative briefs with a theme to design a pattern to. First briefs are in and here’s what I came up with:

  1. Beginner: French Riviera/Nautical theme

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Ok so I cheated a bit with this one: I took a pattern that I had already created and just played around with the elements and a new colour scheme to fit with the French Riviera theme. I added the diagonal stripes too which took a lot of tweaking to get right, but overall I’m pretty happy with the result.

2. Intermediate: Meadow theme

Wildflowers in Pale Blue

A field of wildflowers is encapsulated in this colourful pattern

I found this one way easier as florals seems to be my go-to for pattern creating, and I had a lot of photos and sketches of wildflowers to draw upon. I could see this pattern making a pretty gorgeous dress or looking nice on some home textiles.

3. Advanced: Pop Art

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Ok so this one was way harder! I do really like pop art and that bold cartoony style that’s becoming really popular in acrylic jewellery (think Tatty Devine or Designosaur). However, artistically, it is really not my thing at all. In the inspiration pictures pineapples popped up a lot, so I ended up doing a pineapple based thing. I’m not super jazzed with it – some of the simpler ones I created later I liked much more – but at least now I know that my pop art skills might be something for me to work on!

Hope you enjoyed my new patterns! Let me know what you think below! 🙂