Thursday, February 19, 2015

DIY Hanging Dish Towel

Super Easy Hanging Dish Towel

Ever have your towels constantly disappear from in the kitchen or you set them down in one place only to not be able to find them when you need them later?  Me personally, I have two kiddos who like to steal the towels from the kitchen and move them all over the downstairs and a husband who leaves it wadded up on the counter when it's soaking wet!!!  So I searched the internet for some hanging dish towel ideas and I'd told my mom to send me some new towels for Christmas so that I can remake them into hanging ones! 


I found this website which has a great link up to a tutorial for taking a towel and making your own top for the hanger out of fabric.  I'm going to use this for some of my towels, but I was in a hurry for a gift for a friend and thought I'd seen somewhere a simpler way.  I tried to find the other tutorial for making hanging dish towels that I saw with no luck and decided to just wing it and get to work, because as I said I was in a hurry her birthday was just around the corner and I had to get these in the mail. So I also snapped pictures while making these since I couldn't find the tutorial, or maybe there never was one, maybe my mind was playing tricks on me ;) I'm not sure, but I thought this would make a great tutorial to post for you all, so I was sure to take pictures and notes as I went so that I could write a post to share with you all!


Without further ado, my Easy Hanging Dish Towels:


  •  Dish Towel

  • Pot Holder-(you want to be sure they have loops centered on one side not in the corner for this to work)

  • Button

  • Normal sewing materials, (thread, scissors, ruler, machine, hand needle)

    Another great thing about this project is it can be super cheap!!!  You can get dish towels at the dollar stores and usually the pot holders come in two packs there also, so for $3 you have enough to make two hanging towels.  I happened to have these buttons on hand which was a bonus for me because they matched perfectly!

    Okay, step one you need to take your towel and gather it down the middle.  I've seen on a lot of tutorials that added hangers to the tops and they would cut the towels in half, but I didn't want to do that!  I also saw where they would fold the towel into thirds and then sew the topper of choice on, but I wanted my friend to be able to have full access to the entire towel and both sides of it!  So I chose to gather it right down the middle!
     In the picture to the right you can see where the towel looks scrunched up in the middle of the towel.  That's where I ran a gathering stitch down the center of the towel.  I didn't do anything special to measure where I was sewing, the towels come folded in half and I followed the line that they had sort of ironed into it already.

    Now the easiest way I have found to do any kind of gathering especially on fabric is to adjust the tension and stitch length on your sewing machine.  I set the tension on my sewing machine all the way to 9 which is the highest it will go and increased my stitch length all the way to a 6 also the highest it will go.  You can see in the pictures below what I'm talking about. Doing this doesn't give you as accurate way to gather fabric so if you need to gather from like 12 inches down to 6 inches you probably could do it this way and adjust it, but know that you will probably still need to adjust the gathers.  I still had to adjust my gathers for this project even, but not very much which was a blessing!

    tension dial set to 9
    stitch length on my machine set to 6

     These next pictures show  you more detail about what happens when you adjust the stitch length and the tension!  Be sure to first pull out a good length of both your threads before you start sewing.  This way you have some thread to work with if you need to adjust the gathers to be more or less after your done sewing this step.  Then without doing any back-stitching you will sew straight down the middle of your towel.  You can see in the second picture the towel as it goes past the foot on the machine is gathering up all on its own! Also leave a tail of threads at the end of the sewing when you cut it off, that way you can gather from either side of the towel.

    Different fabrics will gather differently, but this method does help save some time as it gets the gathers going for you and saves you some of the pulling and tugging I've had to do with other methods.  It also makes them evenly spaced already for you also so if there isn't a lot of adjusting to be done that helps too since you'll know that your project is already evenly spaced out!

    center of pot holder be sure the line is parallel to loop
    On to the next step!  Next you will take your pot holder and find the middle of it, for mine this was at about 3 1/2 inches.  So I drew a line on the side of the pot holder I wanted to be my wrong side, meaning it would be sandwiched closed around the bar it was hanging from.  So if you get a pot holder that's got a decorative side draw the line on the other side of it, but if it's solid then it won't mater really. Also be sure to do this with your line parallel to the loop on the pot holder!

    Now the part that I found a little tricky was lining up my towel with the pot holder.  You want the right sides to be facing each other, so the pretty side of the towel to touch the side of the pot holder that you didn't draw on.  I'd put the towel flat on the table then the pot holder on top of it, BUT what I did first was make sure to gather my towel to the same size as the pot holder.  You do this by pulling on only one of the two threads that are hanging from each end of the towel. Don't pull to hard because you will break your thread and then the gathers will come out!  If you pull on one thread and nothing happens then just grab the other thread and that one should pull the fabric.  You sort of have to pull the thread and push the fabric at the same time as if your easing the fabric down the thread.

    First I lined up the towel and pulled one thread to adjust the towel to the right size.
Here you can see where I marked the line a little on this side of the pot holder also to line up the middles, but I flipped it over to do the pinning.  When I sewed the two pieces together I sewed with the pot holder on top and sewed down the line I drew on the pot holder!  Thankfully because the towels do drape down with the gathers in them it doesn't have to be perfect because no one will know!

The next step is to sew the two pieces together, for this I used a zigzag stitch as this has a bit more forgiveness and can be tugged on a little more and not want to tear when it is.  So as you can see in this next picture I used white thread, which if I had the right color red I should have used that, but I didn't and this helps to illustrate also.  I did back-stitch at the start and end when I attached the towel in order to give the ends some extra strength also.  I figured those outside edges will get a lot of pulling on by everyone so wanted them the most secure!

After you have these two sewn together all you have left is to fold your pot holder closed, fold over the loop in order to find where your best button placement should be and sew down your button!  That's it!!!!  The biggest step was the gathering and once you do it once it's super easy!  I've gathered at least 6 more towels for projects since and it makes life so much easier to only need to do a little adjusting versus the pulling and tugging to shrink the towel down all the way on my own.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and feel free to share pictures of your finished projects if you try it at home because I'd love to see them!!!

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