I'm sure there must be a dozen ways to add a scalloped fabric strip to a towel but I'm going to share with you how I did it. I wanted this project to be fast and fuss free and honestly, I just made it up as I went - never dreaming anyone would ask me for directions. Now that you have, here's how I did them:
I recently found these darling kitchen towels at World Market and thought they would be sweet with a fabric band across the bottom and maybe some rick rack and a few buttons. They are precious as is but since I love to embellish, I wanted to add something to give them more of a handmade look and I thought the scallops just made them a little more fun than a plain, straight band. This time of year we are always in need of a hostess gift or something small for a neighbor. Added to a tray of cookies I think these would make a perfect inexpensive gift.
The first thing I usually do after purchasing my towels is to dig into my fabric stash and audition some creative possibilities. I've found taking a quick photo with my phone gives me a good first impression of how it will all look together.
Once you've made your selection you'll need a strip of fabric about 10" wide by 22" long or two strips 5" wide by 22" long. (I was using scraps so I sometimes had to have a seam across the top instead of the preferred fold).
If you don't already own Lori Holt's Circle Rulers you might want to put them on your Christmas list. I find myself reaching for these so often (I use the larger 9" one for my round Mug Rugs and the loong overdue second part of that tutorial is up next - I promise).
Making the paper pattern:
For those of you that don't have the Circle Rulers I've come up with a way to make the scallops with a Solo cup (you could also use a clear drinking glass). You will need a 4" circle for this project (although really any size can work - that's just the size I used here).
In the photo above you can see that I cut the white rim from a Solo cup (you'll want to be able to see the center of your circle so cutting it away helps that). I was trying to replicate the Circle Ruler, so I marked the horizontal and vertical lines with a sharpie on the plastic rim. You will need these marks later to make your scallops.
You can see in the photo below more clearly the marks I made. I think the easiest way to do that is to draw intersecting lines on paper, then center the circular rim on the lines and mark the four quarters. As you can see, the Circle Ruler has done all that for you, plus it has a center mark, so it just eliminates all that work. Dear Santa...
I then taped two sheets of legal sized copy paper together so that they would be slightly longer than my towel was wide (24") then I cut the long strip of paper 4 1/2" deep and ended up with a strip of paper 24" X 4 1/2". Graph paper would be great here, but I didn't have any).
Next I folded the paper strip in half and drew a line down the middle 2" from the bottom edge*. see note at the end of this post
Starting at the fold I marked a quarter circle. Notice how the vertical marks line up with the fold and the horizontal marks line up to the line down the middle.
Next I marked the second scallop but learned the hard way to leave a 1/4" space between the scallops. Your scallops will not lay flat if they don't have this space between them (at least mine didn't).
Continue to mark your scallops on the paper. You should have a total of two and a half scallops from the fold.
Next you will cut the paper scallops on the drawn line. It should look like this when opened - a total of five full scallops plus those little tabs at the ends.
Once the pattern is made you're ready to sew. Remember this pattern can be used over and over so although it takes a few minutes to make, the whole project goes quickly once it's done.
Pin your paper pattern to your fabric with right sides together. If you had fabric that is 10" wide place the long straight top edge on the fold. Otherwise you will have a seam across that edge. I've done it both ways and it works fine either way.
Now, simply sew around the paper. No need to trace the pattern. I did shorten my stitch length a bit.
Be sure and leave the tab ends open because that's how you'll turn the fabric right side out.
Trim seams 1/8" from stitching lines and clip those spaces between the scallops with a V cut up to the inside points.
Turn right side out through one end and using a Point Turner, coax the seams open. Need an inexpensive little gift for a sewing buddy? This is seriously my favorite sewing notion and has been forever!
At this point you'll have a finished strip about 4 1/2" wide and slightly longer than your towel with raw edges on each end.
Match the centers of your towel and fabric strip and pin the strip to the towel with the top of the strip at the hem line of the towel.
Tuck in the extra fabric at each end of the strip and press. The fabric strip should now be the same length as the width of the towel.
You can now insert rick rack or lace
then top stitch close to the edge, connecting the fabric strip and trim to the towel. Top stitch the two folded ends closed.
You now can add buttons and some hand stitching if you'd like. I think the big stitches add so much but you could certainly top stitch the scallops on the sewing machine if you're short on time.
*One more thing. You can vary the depth of the scallops by how far up from the bottom of your pattern paper you mark your center line as shown below.
You can see the difference in the two patterns below. No right or wrong, just slightly different.
I sure hope this was clear. I am not a pattern writer (boy could I share stories to prove that fact), but I wanted to share with you how I added the fabric to my towels. Please let me know if you have questions.
Season's Greetings friends and Merry Christmas!
Encourage one another,