Thursday, April 23, 2015

How to Sew: Picnic Reusable Towels

This is for anyone who wants to make something that not everyone else has in their baskets.

Ever gone to the store and noticed - and wanted! - all the colors of towels that they have to offer? If so let's pop out some colors, and make everyone in your home their own custom towels in their favorite colors!!

The options are endless. For this set of towels I wanted to make some picnic towels that can be reused and in my favorite color!

Decorative Picnic Reusable Towels

Level of sewing: Beginner
Machine used: Brother Serger Lock 1034D
(Can use sewing machine instead if needed)
Time: 10-15 Mins

Items Needed:
1/2 Yard of terry cloth
1/2 Yard of  flannel fabric
Priority mail envelope or paper
Cutter Mat
Paper Scissors
Fabric Scissors
Basting Spray (Can use pins instead)
Washing Machine

First get to one of your local fabric stores or even Walmart. Pick out your color fabric! (I found more variety in color terry cloth at Joann's.)

Cut your fabric into 1/2 yard lengths.  Once you have your 1/2 yard cuts it time to pre-shrink the fabric:

For those people that want to go the extra step to make sure it doesn't unravel the raw edges during the wash, you can serger or zig zag around your flannel fabric.

Wash the items on any setting (I have successfully done them all) but do not mix with other clothes. I normally cold and shortest time setting.

While you wait for your fabric to wash and dry, this would be a great time to gather all material listed above and to decide if you want to add snaps or if you want to use basting spray or pins.

In this example I will not be adding snaps -  instead just a simple fold for the picnic basket.

You also can start preparing your pattern.

For this pattern I am using what I have around the house. The standard priority mail envelope is 12.5 inches by 9.5 inches. I want to cut it to 10 by 9.5.

I also fold down the back to get the standard size.  Using your ruler and marker, mark your measurements then cut out.
Once that is done and your fabric is out of the drier, take your flannel fabric and press it with an iron.....(I know hair pulling madness but it needs to be done for the best cut outs) - no need to do this to your terry cloth as it sure be fine once out the dryer.

Now comes the time to cut all fabric out. To make sure the fabric did not move you can use weights (a soup can, etc) or use basting spray. For faster time I used my rotary cutter rather then using fabric scissors but if you do not have a rotary cutter and mat pin your pattern to your fabric and cut around.

Once this is done to all pieces then match up wrong size of the pattern to each other. When using terry cloth there are two different sides - decide on the one you like.

Spray the basting spray or pin.

At this time if any mistakes were made during cutting you should be able to see them now and cut the excess off.

Serger away!

Whether you are using a serger or sewing machine, make sure they are threading correctly.

For serger use these are my settings:
Yellow: 5
Pink:     5
Green:  5
Blue:    5

Instead of measuring for seam allowance I decided to use the end of my serger table to guide me.

Once one side is finished do not cut excess thread, pull it to the left making sure it's not underneath the fabric and keep going. This is closing your thread at the corners and repeat.

Move excess thread to the left

Once done, cut all four excess thread lines and you're done!!!
I finish by washing and drying to get all basting spray out and fold.

Now you have your very own picnic towel. Repeat until you make as many as needed.

Thanks for reading and there will be more to come. Sew on my friends!


  1. I bet these would be great in a child's lunch, as well!

  2. That fabric is really pretty. Thanks for posting. Hello from Paula's No Rules Weekend Blog Party.

  3. Thanks! @ashtree I actually used them today for my son's lunch but we used a little spray bottle with a little soapy water and was able to use these towels for that as well..great to remove cheeto fingers

  4. That fabric is really pretty!!

  5. Hi! Your project is such a great idea for fabrics that can be upcycled to picnic towel. The print on your towel is really nice. Thanks for sharing and have a nice day!

    Saw your post from Kitchen Fun & Crafty Friday blog party. :)

  6. Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  7. More reasons I wish I could sew....

  8. Hi there Friend, you are so creative! Thank you for joining in at the Friday Favorites Link Party! I hope to see you there this week:) Christine -Must Love Home

  9. How clever! Thank you for sharing on the Art of Home-Making Mondays this week! :)

  10. Great idea!!! Thank you for sharing at Waiting on...Wednesday!


  11. So cute. Pinned and tweeted. I hope to see you on Monday at 7, we can’t wait to party with you! Lou Lou Girls

  12. Very nice idea, thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul Blog hop, pinning and tweeting.

  13. Thank you so much for posting to Wicked Awesome Wednesday! You've been featured this week. I appreciate your support! Stop by the website and pick up your "I've been featured!" button.

  14. This is such a great idea and great tutorial! I would love for you to link up at the Stitch It, Blog It, Share It Link Party going on now at

  15. I like this super idea about Decorative Picnic Reusable Towels. It would help me practice sewing also!
    twinkle at optonline dot net

  16. Lovely tutorial and a great idea. Thank you

  17. I've been wanting to make a small stack of towels to replace our paper towels since we go through a lot of them. This is such an easy to follow tutorial. Thank you! Pinned.

  18. This is a great idea to make reusable towels for picnics or even to replace paper towels too. Now I wish I had a serger! So glad you shared with us at Welcome Spring!