24. Repurpose an Old Towel

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

This episode is subtitled: ‘Welcome Baby Evans…’

Kim asked me if I could make a gift for her hairdresser who was expecting a baby. I’m always delighted to have a real purpose for my weekly craft project rather than making something purely for the creative process (and for you to enjoy, of course).

I go to the hairdresser’s about twice a year (although sometimes I need to do a bit of hacking myself in the meantime) and I have to keep topping up my natural colour, Dark Chocolate Brown. I hate doing my colour, it’s such a messy job and recently I managed to get some dye on a large white towel. Kim doesn’t have these problems, with her once-a-month cut and blow dry, and a professional colour every other visit. Her hair always looks great.

The hair dye on the towel was an accident but I just thought – great, something I can salvage! And it seemed appropriate to use it for the present for Kim’s hairdresser.

I understand there is a lot of mess with a baby so I decided to make a cloth that could be used for wiping, washing, burping etc with a motif from fabric scraps. The sex of the baby wasn’t known so I wanted something neutral as the motif and settled on a duck. The truth is, I thought even I would be able to draw a duck. It took a couple of attempts but I think you can tell what it is.

Blue's signatureFirstly I dyed the towel. It was quite difficult to choose a colour that was soft enough for a baby and neutral enough for a boy or girl. I chose lavender from the colours available and threw in a few other bits and pieces in case I could use them for a future project. Actually, the towel is quite big so you may see that popping up again in the future.

Here’s how it started. (I see my little needle felted robin has put in an appearance again. He made his debut in episode 6 and has been popping up intermittently ever since).

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

This is what I used.

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

This is how it came out. Pretty well, I think.

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

So I gathered together the other things I needed to make the cloth.

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

Those of you who’ve signed-up and received the newsletter recently will know that my first attempt was far from perfect so this is ‘take two’. This time I followed a tutorial from Onlinefabricstrore.net to give a fabric back and border to the piece of towelling, and mitred corners. Yes, I’ve finally learned how to do mitred corners!

Here are the bits and pieces second time around. I had to go out and buy more fat quarters because I didn’t have enough of the original fabric but I think these shades work better. It does mean that my motif isn’t actually made from scraps any more, though.

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

I washed the two fat quarters I was going to use for the back/border and motif. Even though the instructions say to wash cold I did them hot because if this fabric is going to shrink I’d rather it did before I cut it and sewed it to the towelling. There’s no way that a cloth like this for a baby will be washed on anything other than hot once it’s in use!

I wanted my finished cloth to be about 30cm x 30cm so I cut the back/border fabric 33cm x 33cm to give me enough for the seam and border.

I ironed the seam allowance (1cm) on all four sides of the fabric, then the border (2cm) on all four sides.

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck
salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

Then I unfolded the border (but kept the seam folded) and, for each corner, measured and marked 4cm (twice the size of the border) from the corner in both directions, and joined the two marks together.

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

Then you need to fold the corner, right sides together, so the markings on each edge line up. Pin and then sew along the line, securing with back stitches at each end, making sure you sew right to the edges.

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

When they’re done they look like this.

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

I cut the corners off just above the line of stitching and dropped them straight in my scraps jar (oh, maybe enough for a wing after all!)

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck
salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

Once the fabric is turned right way out and the corners poked a bit to make them square, it looks like this.

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck
salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

I cut a piece of the towel very slightly shy of 30cm x 30cm so it was a snug fit but not bulky. Then I ironed some bonding paper onto the material for the duck motif (completely forgetting to use a corner from my scraps jar for the wing) and cut out the duck body and wing shapes using the templates I’d made. Once ironed onto the towelling I sewed a small running stitch round. It would have been quite decorative if the thread hadn’t matched the material so well! Never mind, at least I know that if the Bondaweb eventually gives up then the duck should still be in place.

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck
salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

I slipped the towelling into the fabric ‘casing’ and pinned it into position before top stitching close to the inner edge of the border.

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck
salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

Shame my line wasn’t absolutely perfect near the motif but my spool and bobbin were both dangerously close to empty so decided to live with it.

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

I also bought a cotton cellular blanket and ironed/stitched a motif on so now there are two items all ready to be wrapped in tissue and delivered.

salvagebox.co.uk - lilac duck

Tips:

  • If my instructions for the corners aren’t clear enough then click on the link to the tutorial. It’s a very clear video.

Salvaged Items:

  • Towel
  • Fabric scraps for the motif (Jenny, you liar!)

So, I have the rest of a lavender bath sheet to reuse. Any suggestions? I’d love you to leave a comment below with your thoughts.

See you all next week for something else crafty.

Jenny signature

1462401753_mail-square-social-mediaSign up for free

 

Please follow and like us:

4 thoughts on “24. Repurpose an Old Towel

  1. How about a wash mitt to use at bath time for the baby with the left over towel. A loop of the patterned fabric to hang it up and the duck motif again might look really good.

  2. Decorative flannels or drawstring bag to hold carrier bags or something like shoe polish etc or suntan lotion by the pool.

Leave a Comment