Posted on 11 Comments

Start with new towels

I’m slowly making over my kitchen. Very slowly, and kind of subtly: I’m not thinking paint or new cabinets as much as I’m thinking a change in linens.  I have plans to replace the napkins, the table runner, and my apron. I’d like to recover the chair cushions and change out the window valence, too, at some point. And the oven mitts and pot holders are in need of replacing, now that I think of it.  Yesterday, though, I started simply: with towels.

These are the towels I have used since we moved here:

That’s fourteen years ago. A few of them are newer than that, but most aren’t, and they’re kind of ratty.  My style has changed since we bought these, and I like the idea of using a simpler, vintagey, cotton/linen towel.

Did you know you can buy “toweling?” It’s pretty much a heavy woven cotton that is appropriate for a kitchen towel and is already hemmed along the selvedges.  All you need to do is cut it to the length you want and hem the top and bottom.  Pretty nice.

So I made four towels yesterday, and hung three of them up on the old towel rack that once belonged to my grandparents.

Slightly off-topic question: do you ever feel positively sure about where an object came from, only to be shocked one day with the realization that you were completely wrong? I have an old coffee grinder that I was sure used to be my parents’, but when I showed it to my mother recently, she said, “that wasn’t ours.” So where the heck did I get that thing, and why was I so sure it was a part of my childhood?

I mention this incident because it is the seed for a sudden doubt that I am having about that towel rack. Did I really get that from my grandparents’ house? Maybe I bought it somewhere because it reminded me of them. I could swear that it used to hang above their kitchen sink (or was it attached to the cabinet below?). But then, I could swear that the coffee grinder sat in my parents’ dining room, too… Oh, the joys of doubting one’s own memories!

At any rate, there are new old-fashioned towels in my kitchen now, one of them hanging from the oven, the rest hanging from a doohickey that probably belonged to my grandparents, and probably held the towels that we used to clean up the dishes after a big Sunday dinner.

Note to self: have some big Sunday dinners.

Note to self #2: have the family all hang out in the kitchen and wash dishes together.

The fabric for these towels is from two different French General collections.  Kaari Meng seems to include toweling in nearly all of her collections, and they are unified by stripes in shades of red and ecru, and sometimes blue, too, which makes it easy to mix and match. I plan to make a few more with some toweling I found on eBay (here, here, and here).

I like that sewing is happening. I’ve missed it.  And these non-fussy straight-line projects are just my style.  Next up? Napkins, I’m thinking.

P.S. I have been just terrible about responding to comments on my last few posts. I’ve read them, but I keep thinking, “oh, I can answer this later,” only now it is much later. I hope to go back and answer the ones that had questions in them today, but in case I don’t get to it, please accept my apology!

Posted on 11 Comments

11 thoughts on “Start with new towels

  1. There are some nice napkins with ric rac braid edges in Issue 12 of ‘Mollie Makes’ magazine (UK). Good luck.

    1. I never thought to fancy them up with ricrac… I usually just do a folded hem. Maybe I should consider doing something fun with them this time.

  2. Love the new towels! I’ve been hunting some for my kitchen. I was wondering if you cut the 1/2 yd pieces down any or just hemmed them as they came?

    1. I cut down all of them to the size of the smallest piece I had, which ended up being about 1/2 yard. I would have made them a little bit longer, if I could have, but these should do.

  3. I’ve been thinking about getting new towels and didn’t think about buying material to make them. Duh! Where did you find the blue and orange material? I didn’t see it on those link. Thanks for the post. I’m now on the hunt for that fabric.

    1. I bought the red and the beige yardage at Fat Quarter Shop, and I can’t remember where I got the blue. I think I got their last piece, though.

  4. Hey Lisa!

    It’s really funny if you doubt your memories but what matters most is that you’ve find it interesting to have those memories shared to others. Well, I like the towels you have. It should be very useful for you and the rack I like it.

  5. i love the idea of making new towels! i have way to many crammed into the drawer- most of them should really be rags.

    1. I don’t know why I didn’t think of turning my old ones into rags, but duh! that’s the perfect use for them. I had set them aside until I could figure out what to do with them. Thanks for poking my brain a bit there.

  6. I’ve been complaining about the price of linens. Didn’t think about sewing my own! I ordered my 1st sewing machine last week, and I’m going to pick it up today…kitchen towels may be #2 on my to-sew list! After these 80s style Cyndi Lauper-ish wristlet gloves my fashionista 5 yr old wants. 🙂

  7. […] A few summers ago, we decided the table and chairs should be dark blue, too, and so Neil took them outside and gave them a good coat of spray paint. In the meantime, I was starting to add little bits of red where I could: new crock pot, new rice cooker, a couple of towels.  I had started making my own napkins and aprons, too, and (just recently) towels. […]

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