This is the perfect beginner sewing project! Use a small amount of fabric and basic sewing skills to sew beautiful and useful linen tea towels for your kitchen.
*This post is sponsored by Singer. All opinions are 100% my own.
WATCH THIS POST
Learn how to sew linen tea towels on video!
I want to show you how I took some scrap fabrics and a bit of our pure flax linen bed sheets, (that had seen better days) and turned them into beautiful and useful tea towels for our kitchen.
I hope to inspire you to look around your home for some linens that could use some new life and to give you some instructions to start creating. Worry not, this sewing project is very beginner friendly. If you have a sewing machine, you can do this!
MY SEWING MACHINE
Before we dive into this project, I want to tell you a little bit about what sparked the idea and desire in me, to turn our beloved linen sheets into tea towels.
One fine day, I received an email from a representative at Singer. She began telling me about their Global Initiative, identified with the hashtag #sewstainable.
I think it is a wonderful time to start thinking about how we can be more self-sustainable, and I happen to LOVE a good upcycle project!
I’m thrilled to be joining Singer in this initiative, and beyond grateful to have them sponsor this post and video. I learned to sew on an old trusted Singer sewing machine, being taught and inspired by my angel grandmother. It’s truly an honor to partner with a company whose products have made such an impact in my life.
I am sewing with the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. It’s a beautiful machine with more sewing capacity than I can wrap my head around. It’s gentle hum and smooth stitching is music to my ears!
No matter what machine you might have at home, or whatever sewing machine you can find to borrow, this tea towel project will just need a simple straight stitch, and you can sew them up in no time.
WHAT FABRIC TO USE FOR TEA TOWELS
Let’s first talk about the fabric you will need.
Tea towels are characteristically light weight, don’t shed very many fibers, quick drying and are particularly great for resting over dough that is rising or keeping baked goods nice and warm while also allowing some air circulation. I use them frequently in our kitchen for placing over our sourdough starters and sourdough creations. I was constantly running out before wash day, so I desperately needed more.
You can look around your home or the fabric store for many cotton fabrics or cotton blends that will work well for this project. However, my absolute favorite fabric in the world – especially for tea towels is 100% flax linen. I just adore the nature of this natural fiber, it’s nubby texture, organic and relaxed appearance, the feel of it in my hands and how it just gets better and better with age.
I had some linen scraps big enough that I could use to make some towels, but I also knew this would be the perfect upcycle project for our old linen sheets. If you spend some time on my blog, it won’t take you long to discover how obsessed I am with linen and linen sheets.
These sky blue sheets are actually in really good condition, except for one spot. Where my sandpaper feet and restless legs rubbed them raw. It happens to every pair of sheets we get, but linen always holds up way longer.
Alas, it came time to replace these, but I couldn’t handle wasting such beautiful fabric! Besides the spot with the hole, the rest of the fabric has become so incredibly soft through the years.
If you too have some linen or old sheets on hand, pull them out! Otherwise, get creative and look around your home for some pretty fabric to cut into. Or you can swing by the fabric store to find any style/print you like.
A yard is more than enough for a tea towel or 2. I like the size of my tea towels to be about 28 inches by 19 inches, so as long as you have that to work with – you should be good to go. Just remember, if you have new fabric, be sure to wash and dry it before sewing so it is already pre-shrunk.
WHAT SIZE TO MAKE YOUR TEA TOWEL
If you like a pretty standard size tea towel, you will want to cut your fabric rectangle at 28.5 x 19.5, to account for your seam allowance.
Because I was working with a fitted sheet, I opted to cut off the elastic part of the fabric so I could lay it down flat and easy to cut my fabric pieces, in preparation for sewing the tea towels.
The important thing is to get it on grain, which you can do easily with woven fabrics by cutting a little slit and ripping it. The tear will follow the grain and then you can measure and rip again for a perfectly even rectangle.
HOW TO MAKE A FRAYED EDGE ON YOUR TEA TOWEL
I want to show you 2 ways you could finish off your tea towel. The first way is just a simple clean hem all around the towel.
The second option is to leave one end with a frayed edge, which I think is particularly lovely with linen fabric. But I do love to embrace a bit of “perfectly imperfect” in my home.
If you opt for the frayed edge, you should start pulling these threads on a short end before you begin any sewing. I like to take a seam ripper and move each top thread out and gently pull it out all the way. I do this until I’ve reached the desired fray length I am after.
To keep it from fraying too much, you will want to run a stitch all along the top of the fray.
If you are not going to fray an end, you can skip this step entirely.
HOW TO MAKE THE TEA TOWEL HANGER
I like to create a little fabric hanger on my tea towels so I can hang them on hooks in my kitchen. You could use some twill tape or ribbon for this, but I prefer to create it out of the same fabric as the towel.
To do this, you’ll cut or tear a small fabric strip that is 1.5-2 inches wide, depending on how thick you want your hanger to be.
Then you will fold both ends to the middle, and fold it in half again. This will encase the raw edge and leave you with a clean strip of fabric to sew together.
How big you make this hanger depends entirely on how big you want it to be. I just give it a guesstimate.
HOW TO HEM YOUR TEA TOWELS
With all that prep work done, we are ready to hem around the edges of the towel to finish it off. I prefer to hem down the long sides first, and then the sort ends.
Fold and finger press the raw edge inside 2 folds, about 1/4 inch wide.
Sew close to the edge of the fold.
You’ll want to find the center of one of the long edges and insert the hanger into the seam of the hem.
Once you have sewn both long ends, you can fold over and sew the short ends.
PRESS YOUR TEA TOWEL
You have one last thing to do for a really nice looking tea towel. My grandma always taught me that sewing was 50% stitching and 50% pressing. Pressing your seams is really the key to creating something that looks professional. So if you have an iron, go ahead and press those seams nice and flat.
BEAUTIFUL, EASY TEA TOWELS!
And that is it! Such a fun, easy and quick project that is so gratifying. I love the looks of the tea towels I made with my linen scraps, but the ones I made from the sheets are so incredibly soft. I wish you could feel them!
You could also use these same instructions to make some linen napkins, placemats, tablecloths, and more. If you find yourself with a lot of fabric to repurpose, a simple cut and hem will create so many fun things for your home. I still have the top sheet left on these linen sheets, and my girls are begging for some linen summer skirts. I just might have to oblige.
THANKS FOR READING!
If you need some sewing equipment, I highly recommend Singer. They have sewing machines for all levels. Pulling out my machine and making this project reminded me how much I love to sew, especially for my home.
Just learning some basic sewing skills can help you create so many unique decor items that you can’t find anywhere else.
If you are new to my blog, I’d love to have you check out my many other sewing tutorials here. There are some of my favorites: