For years, my Grandma Annie and Aunt Ruth would give me those crocheted hanging dishtowels every Christmas, so they hold a special place in my heart. The hanging dishtowels you find at craft fairs tend towards the “country kitchen” style, so when my mom said that she had seen some fabric ones and thought it would be a great Christmas gift, it seemed like a good opportunity to make something more contemporary. I played dumb and told my mom to snap a picture of the one she had bought so I could see what she meant, but I went ahead and designed my own.
It was funny on Christmas Eve day when I arrived at my parents’ house and saw the hanging dishtowel she had purchased in the kitchen. “Oh, so that’s what you meant,” I said, “I wish you had remembered to send me a picture.” Darn. I had to turn away so she wouldn’t see me smiling, because little did she know that two sets of dishtowels were wrapped up under the tree. She was pretty happy with them because the fabric colors and designs are more in tune with her own style.
I have a couple of friends who are learning to sew, so I’m drawing up some simple patterns of the things I make. Since I couldn’t find a tutorial or pattern for this style of hanging dishtowel on the web, I thought I would also make my pattern available to all of you as a little belated holiday gift. It’s a pdf file so you will need the free Adobe Acrobat reader to open and print the pattern, which includes all of the instructions written below (without the pictures).
If you are not planning on making a hanging dishtowel, you’ll want to stop reading now because what follows are pretty detailed instructions. Since I’m trying to help out my newbie sewist friends, I tried to be pretty explicit about the steps, but if anything at all is unclear, please do let me know!
Download pattern here: Hanging dishtowel pattern2.
When you print the pattern, make sure your printer doesn’t “scale” the pages (i.e., “shrink to fit”) or the pattern will come out a bit on the small side.
To make two hanging dishtowels, I used one purchased 24” x 15” dishtowel, 2 pieces of 7” x 12” fabric, one piece of 7” x 12” flannel, and two buttons. Don’t forget to pre-wash and dry everything to pre-shrink it!
Edited to add: It’s come up in the comments, so I want to mention here that you don’t need to use the flannel interfacing if you don’t want to. I wanted these to be extra sturdy, hence the added layer, but you can just go ahead and make it without if you prefer. Have fun!
Preparing the dishtowel:
1. Cut your purchased dishtowel in half so there are two 12” x 15” pieces.
2. Carefully pleat, fold, or gather the 15” raw edge so that it measures 6” across. Stitch pleats/folds/gathers in place.
I pleated this by eye, fiddling with it until it was even and measured six inches across.
To make the handles:
1. Print out the pattern pieces and cut them out.
2. Overlap the TABs and glue or tape the pieces together.
I printed mine onto cardstock so it would be easier to trace around and stand up to mulitple uses.
3. Use the pattern to cut out four pieces of fabric and two pieces of flannel.
4. Pin the pieces together in this order: one piece of fabric, right-side up; one piece of fabric, right-side down; one piece of flannel. (Do this twice since you are making two handles.)
5. Starting at point A, stitch around the handle to point B, leaving the bottom open. Clip the corners and turn right-side out.
6. Press so that all the edges are crisp, then turn in a one-inch hem along the open bottom and press.
The one-inch hem will make sure it stands up to daily use and repeated washings.
Fold the flannel to one side or the other, it doesn't matter which.
Assemble and finish:
1. Insert the raw pleated/folded/gathered edge of the dishtowel into the open base of the handle so that it lays a full inch inside. Sew at least two rows of stitches to hold it in place. (Remember that people will be tugging on this as it hangs in the kitchen so it must be well-stitched!)
Normally, I would use coordinating thread to hide the stitches, but I used white here so they would show up better.
2. Center your button on the pointed flap (point C) and mark lines for the buttonhole. Make the buttonhole on the flap.
Again, this would look better with coordinating thread.
(Ah, buttonholes! Along with zippers, they are one of the most daunting tasks for the new sewer! This is a good project to learn on because, after all, it’s just a dishtowel. Once it’s stained with coffee and barbeque sauce, your wonky buttonhole won’t matter a bit. I suggest following the directions that [hopefully] came with your machine — that’s how I learned. Here are a couple of links from Sew Mama Sew that might be helpful: Buttonholes 1 and Buttonholes 2. Here’s one for hand-sewing a buttonhole from CraftStylish. Just keep practicing — like any skill, that is the only way you are going to improve.)
3. Fold the flap over so the point lines up with the bottom edge of the wide base of the handle. Use a pin or mark with pencil where the button should go on the wide base and sew on the button.
4. Fini! Hang your dishtowel and admire.
5. Wash your hands – it’s flu season!
You could use a heavy-duty snap or velcro if you don’t like to make buttonholes. It would be cute to use coordinating fabrics on the front and back of the handle, so when you fold it over, you see both fabrics. A scrappy handle would be sweet as well.
This pattern should be considered copyrighted (some wretch of a human being was copying free patterns from u-handblog and elsewhere and selling them on etsy, can you imagine?!), but I know a lot of crafters are looking for simple projects to sell at craft fairs, so feel free to sell any hanging dishtowels you make from it! Just send me a picture so I can see your handiwork!
And please check out my new etsy shop:
kleio's belly on etsy!