Flamingo Fever
How to Buy Tiered Trays - Part One

Tutorial Tuesday #1 - Embellished Towels and Napkins

First I want to thank you so much for the encouragement you extended me on my last blog post. I so appreciate your kind words. 

Several of you asked that I do a tutorial on the towels that I showed there so I thought, what better way than to bring back Tutorial Tuesday? 

Here is the napkin I shared last time using ADORNit fabric. The same technique will work wonderfully for towels of any size (even bath and beach towels) as well as baby's burp cloths.

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My first stop in preparation for this tutorial was Home Goods for kitchen towels. I found these by SOHO, two for $4.99. 

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 Since I was working with ADORNit's Flamingo Fever fabric I took it along to match with the towels. These pineapples were so fun with the fabric group and the color was perfect. You could also, of course, use solid towels as well. I feel like I just got lucky with these.

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I'm obsessed with this black and white stripe and how it complements my Mackenzie Childs tea pot. It makes every fabric I put with it just pop. You all neeed at least a yard of that stripe!

 

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 These next towels were just so perfect that I half way expected them to say "ADORNit" on the tag. They are by CASABA and there were two for $6.99. What I love about these towels is that they are terry cloth on the back so they are super absorbent. Again, the colors and motif were just made for my ADORNit fabrics.

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The cute hibiscus plate below is from Hobby Lobby and turquoise plate is vintage. 

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Here's how I embellished my towels:

You will need:

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Ruffle fabric 3" by WOF

Ruffle band (optional) 1 1/4" by WOF

Contrast band 2" by WOF

All fabrics for this tutorial were provided by ADORNit and can be found here.

Hint: A word about cutting - when working with fabric such as the flamingos, I think it's important to center the main design on the band. Nobody wants to see a big bird with its head lopped off so plan ahead when you cut. Also on the checked ruffle accent fabric you will notice that I cut on the lines of the print so the checks are straight. Although these fabrics are printed straight, you will still want to carefully cut one layer at a time - it just looks better in the end.

The first thing you will want to do is prewash everything. The towels are 100% cotton and shrunk about an inch in both directions. You will want to get any shrinkage out of the way before you start to sew.

Trim the hem from the end you plan to embellish. This will make construction easier and will reduce bulk.

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Your best friend in this project will be a good spray starch. Having crisp edges and folds makes sewing easier and results in a much more professional end product.

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I cut my ruffle fabric 3" wide by WOF (width of fabric - about 44"). Note: Sizes of ruffle and contrast band will depend on how big your towel or napkin is. I am including measurements only as a guide for you. You can make them as wide as you'd like. When using towels with printed designs you will need to take the design into consideration. A band that is too wide might cover up the design. 

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For the contrasting trim on the ruffle I cut a strip 1 1/4" wide by WOF. This creates a nice finished hem as well as adding a bit more interest. I won't suggest going wider than 1 1/4" for the ruffle trim as a wider trim can cause the ruffle to lay funny.

Press the 1 1/4" strip in half along the length to mark the center, then fold and press each raw edge to the center fold.

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Fold and press in half to create a band. (This is kind of like making bias tape but this piece is cut on the straight, not the bias).

Next wrap the folded strip around the bottom of your ruffle piece and top stitch in place. I used my edge stitch foot #10 for this.

Hint: When working with directional fabrics it's important to pay attention to the direction the pattern is going. 

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You can also just hem the ruffle using the technique you are most comfortable with. Below I used foot #64 - the medium rolled hem foot. You could also press a double folded hem then topstitch.

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Once your ruffle is hemmed you will need to finish the two ends by folding, pressing and stitching.

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I failed to get a photo of this next step, but next you will gather the unfinished long edge of your ruffle fabric using the gathering method that you prefer. I used my gathering foot #16 and by lengthening my stitch and tightening my upper tension it ruffled to the perfect length. You could also sew two basting stitches and pull the threads to gather the strip to the desired length. You will want your ruffle to be the same length as the width of the towel. I wouldn't recommend using a ruffler for this as I think it would make the ruffle too full. You want a ruffle that is about two times fullness.  

Okay, this is important and what you may not be used to: Pin the WRONG SIDE OF THE RUFFLE to the WRONG SIDE OF THE TOWEL.

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Machine baste just slightly to the left of your gathering stitches attaching the ruffle to the towel.

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Now cut a contrasting band 2" by WOF and pin the band on top of the attached ruffle (right sides together). Hint: Pay attention to directional prints.  You should have three layers at this point - towel, wrong side up, ruffle, right side up and band right side down. I know this sounds confusing but the photo makes it clearer I hope. Flip the whole thing over and sew on top of the basting stitches that you see on the towel. Be sure and fold in the raw edges of the band at each end (see photo below).

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Basically you are sewing the ruffle and band to the wrong side of the towel and when you flip it over all your raw edges will eventually be hidden inside the band. (Well that was about as clear as mud)!

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Press your seam allowance toward to towel, tuck in raw top edge of the band and pin. Press. Top stitch.

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See how everything is finished?

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And if you match your bobbin thread to your towel it will look neat on the back.

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Please let me know if you have questions. One thing I know for sure is that I love styling my photos waay more than I like writing instructions.  Wink

Next time I'll show you how I added trim to the burp cloths using my ADORNit fabrics.

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Love you guys more than pretty dishes! Hearts

Until next time,

Encourage one another.

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