This was my inspiration for today's tutorial.
A pretty, ready-made towel from Pip Studios. I love the way the contrasting bands frame the main fabric. It became the inspiration for this one
and this one.
As darling as these towels are, they don't serve any practical purpose. They couldn't dry themselves out of a wet paper bag. So as I was sewing, I got to thinking about the colorful (and practical) towels we sell in the store. Why couldn't I use the same technique to frame a towel... that actually dries? (Gasp) - what a concept?
One of the things I like most about this technique is that the back looks almost as good as the front. I always try and match my bobbin thread to the towel so that the back looks clean and finished.
While I was sewing the towels I got to thinking that I probably could do the same thing with colored diapers...
Just by adding colorful strips of fabric around the edges of diapers you get cute burp cloths - inexpensive baby gifts that are as decorative as they are functional. And did I mention they're super fast? (You should have known that by now)!
These were so much fun to do that I got a bit carried away - no surprise there!
The strips can be different fabrics and different sizes. Use what you have and mix it up a bit. I added little framed fabric "patches" as an accent on some and this one just screamed for embroidery...
I started with colored diapers - sometimes you can find them at Target, Walmart or Babies R Us. Of course when I needed to find them for this project no one had them but K Mart. So you might want to pick up an extra package or two when you find them because they aren't always that easy to find. They run about $7 for four.
So. Wanna know how I did them? Let's get started. Here's the handy dandy Downloadable PDF version. - because I love you. Just nine pages thankyouverymuch!
For the towels you will need:
- Prewashed towel - with the hemmed edges trimmed off
- If you are making a fabric centered towel you will need a 30" length of cotton fabric (will make two)
- For fabric towel - Cut one piece 20" x 30" for main body of towel
- Cut two side strips 2 1/2" x 44" *
- Cut one end strip 3 1/2" x 44" * (enough for both ends of one towel)
- For purchased towel cut the same strips as listed above.
For diapers you will need:
- Prewashed diaper
- Cut one side strip 2 1/2" wide x 44" (enough for both sides of one diaper).*
- Cut one end strip 3 1/2" x 44" (enough for both ends of one diaper).*
* These strip widths can vary. These measurements are only a suggestion. To figure the finished width of a band strip, double desired finished width and add 1/2" for seam allowance. Example: For a one inch finished band cut a 2 1/2" wide strip.
Press all bands in half lengthwise - wrong sides together.
The technique is the same for both types of towels and the diapers. All seam allowances are 1/4".
Sew one side strip to the WRONG side of each long side of towel or diaper.
This takes some getting used to because we are always used to putting right sides together, but by sewing on the wrong side all seams are enclosed and the back of your project looks neat and finished.
Press the seam toward the band. Then wrap the band to the front as shown.
Press, pin and top stitch.
I toggle back and forth between my 1/4" foot and edge stitch foot for this project. If you're lucky enough to have these two feet for your machine, get them out and use them. They make everything so much easier and more precise. When I top stitch I watch the blade on the edge stitch foot - not the needle. Just let it travel along the folded edge of the band and if you have off set your needle position (two positions to the left for my Bernina) your stitch will be straight and consistent.
Trim the towel/diaper so the corners are square and the band ends are even with towel/diaper body. This is a good time to even up the diaper ends that are sometimes a little wonky.
If you want to add the ribbons across the bottom of the diaper now's the time. Just cut 3" lengths of various ribbons (use different textures, widths and colors) and pin as shown to wrong side of diaperm matching cut end of ribbon to edge of diaper. I don't measure the ribbon spacing - just eye the placement.
Proceed with next step sandwiching the ribbons between the band and the diaper.
Tuck in one raw short end of the band and finger press.
(Yes, I know I should have removed the selvage first - my bad).
Pin the end band to the WRONG side of the towel/diaper body and attach using 1/4" seam allowance.
When you get close to the end, tuck in about 1/2" to finish band end, trim off excess band fabric.
Pin to hold in place. Finish sewing band to towel/diaper end. Repeat with other end.
Press seam allowance toward the band, flip band to the front, pin and topstitch.
I hope you'll try these. Let me know how you do - I love hearing from you!
Encourage one another,