set of monogram and graphic tea towels

Customized Graphic Tea Towels

This week I wanted to make some gifts for friends who both happen to be getting into cooking more, so some custom-designed kitchen towels sounded like a fun idea. I brainstormed a variety of approaches, but one of my requirements was that the fabric be absorbent. Non-absorbent kitchen towels are super annoying.

At the fabric store, I didn’t see any bolts specifically marked as tea towel fabric, but there was something called “diaper cloth”. I figured that had to be absorbent! It’s a soft, lightweight cotton with a slight diamond texture on one side and fairly flat texture on the other side.

Each friend received a set of two towels: one with their initial and one with a more graphic element designed to fit their style. To make the images, I outlined the element in Illustrator and filled it with a diagonal line. Then I printed them on my laser printer (reversing the image) and used a blender pen to transfer the graphics onto the towels.

ampersand and M monogram tea towelsquatrefoil and H monogram tea towels

I experimented with the sizes of the towels: two of them are 15 1/2 x 23 1/2, and two of them are 15 1/2 x 26 1/2 (final sizes). Normally I sew with polyester thread, but for this project I picked up some white cotton thread. It was really nice to sew with, and I like the way it blended in with the 100% cotton fabric. Mary Ellen’s Best Press made the seams a piece of cake to fold, press, and stitch. That stuff is awesome.

The towels can be washed and dried no problem, and perhaps in time the graphics will fade some, which would actually look pretty cool.