Un-Paper Towels from dollar towels and discount flannel

After a little bit of a sewing hiatus and a random flannel bargain at Walmart, I decided to finally embark on this project that I’ve been planning to do for months. In our household we have been using quite a bit of paper towels to wipe up spills and surfaces, usually because our reusable but not washable store bought cloths are getting mildewey. All it took was $4.75 and around 2 hours at the cutting mat and sewing machine, and we now have a thick roll of 9 reusable, washable, 10×10 washcloths or un-paper towels. Easy, economical, environmentally friendly, and honestly, they look really nice!

img_2031Here’s how to do it:
Note: I use a rotary cutter and a sewing machine, but there are ways to sew these without either of those tools; you can always use scissors, and a needle and thread instead.

 

  1. Pre-wash your fabric. Since different fabrics shrink at different rates when washed, and we’re now sewing two different fabrics together, it is important that you wash the fabric first.
  2. Cut out your fabric in squares of 11×11. You should use terry cloth (towel fabric) or microfiber cloth on the cleaning side, and a flannel you like on the outside. I used two $2 bath towels from Walmart for my terry and 1.5 yards of red and white flannel for my decorative side.img_2090
  3. Lay the fabric together, good sides facing each other. This is also a good time to trim some excess fabric if the pieces aren’t perfectly aligned.
  4. Pin all around, but leave a 2 inch gap along one side. img_2095
  5. Sew all the way around, securing your stitches at either end of the gap. Leave the gap open.
  6. Trim excess fabric, except around the gap. (I didn’t leave much fabric around my gap, which is a mistake. Don’t cut as close as I did here!)img_2099
  7. Flip your fabric inside out, and push the corners out from the inside, using something thin but not so sharp it will pierce the fabric (pencils work fine). Also fold the excess fabric by the gap inward, as to conceal the gap.
  8. Iron down the corners and edges. Make sure the gap is properly concealed. Secure with pin if necessary.
  9. Top stitch all the way around – closing the gap.img_2101
  10. Sew a line from one end of the cloth to the other. This is to keep the layers together. Most people sew a diagonal line through their cloth, I opted for a straight line from top to bottom, so it would be better concealed by my pattern. I started and ended my line at the first line I sewed around the fabric.img_2113
  11. Optional: Add buttons. Adding buttons will allow you to snap the pieces together and roll them up, like a roll of paper towels.
  12. And you’re done!

If you make or have made your own un-paper towels I would love to see them! Tag me on instagram @myhomemakerlife

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– Edel Garstad

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