Thursday, May 7, 2009

Washcloths for Mothers Day


I have been trying to figure out something to make my mom for mother’s day and I wasn’t having much luck. But then she called me to vent about what it was like to live with a house full of males.  And that got me to thinking…

My mom does not have too many things to herself especially girly things. So I decided to make her some fancy washcloths that the boys would not want to use.


*Either a pre-made washcloth or terry cloth or any other fabric you would like to wash your face with, something nice and soft.

*One Fat Quarter (approx 18” x 22”) or 1/8 of a yard of cotton fabric


*Elmer's glue


*Steam a seam or any fabric adhesive (optional) for appliqué

Step 1: Cut your fabric washcloth and binding


Cut your washcloth main body out of your terry cloth. I used a super soft French terry cloth. To whatever size you like I cut mine to 12.5” x 11.5”

*Iron your fat quarter so it isn’t creased.


Cut three strips (if your wash cloth has larger dimensions you will need an extra strip) 3”x 22”


Cut the salvage edge off.

Now you have your washcloth fabric and your material for the binding/bias tape.

Step 2:  Make your binding/bias tape

There are lots of great tutorials on how to make your own this is the one I used in addition to my quilting book. I did take pictures along the way while making mine so I will walk through it. But keep in mind I am not a professional at making binding ;)

Connect all of the strips together to form one long piece of binding.


DSC_8284-1 A. Iron (or finger press) a 45 degree crease in one end of your fabric, this will be your seam guide.

DSC_8288-1 B.  Lay your strips right sides together perpendicular to each other matching up the corner edges.

DSC_8291-1 C.  Sew on the crease backstitching at both ends


D.  Trim the seam down to 1/4”, fold it open and press

E.  Repeat steps A-D to attach the last strip

DSC_8305-1 F.  Fold the binding in half length wise, wrong sides together (making double bias binding).

I use heavy starch as I do this, that way the binding is nice and stiff and it doesn’t wrinkle.


Attach the binding to the washcloth


You want to leave a long tail of unattached binding. I would start one inch away from the corner, unless you are experienced with binding (in which case I doubt you would be reading this ;o) I learned this after making mine. The extra wiggle room is really helpful.

Use the Elmer’s glue (don't worry it washes out the first time you wash your washcloth) to keep thefabrics together. To do so simply place a thin line of glue along the washcloths raw edge (staying within your 1/2” seam allowance) stopping one inch from the corner. Place your fabric on top of the glue making sure to match the raw edges of the washcloth and checking that the binding is nice and straight.


Using your iron press your fabric where you applied the glue fusing the binding to the washcloth.

Now we need to mark our stopping point for mitering the corner.


Fold the fabric back over its self at at 45 degree angle and press the crease.


Unfold the fabric this crease will be the stopping point. For our first seam.


Sew the first seam using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Begin sewing at the same spot where you fussed the fabrics together with the glue and stop at the crease. Make sure to backstitch at each end. Trim the thread ends off.


Now fold back the binding like we did to make the crease.

fold it over again, laying it on itself and matching the raw edge of the washcloth to the folded edge of the binding and press it. You will begin your next stitch at this corner.

The first corner is done now repeat the previous steps to continue sewing the binding to the wash cloth. Remember to only sew one inch after the last corner. We want long loose tails to join them together easily.

Step 3.  Joining the binding ends


Lay the binding ends so they meet in the center of the unstitched space, leaving 1/4” gap between the two ends. You will have to fold the ends over so you can see the gap. Finger press this crease or use the iron if you like.


Cut off one end at the fold. Unfold the scrap you just cut off and use it to trim the other strip so it has a tail as long as the binding width starting at the fold.


fold one end over at a 45 degree angle and press the crease. Unfold the fabric, this will be your seam line.


With both binding ends opened up place them right sides together and stitch on the crease making sure to backstitch at each end.


Trim off the excess fabric down to a 1/4”. Fold the binding back together and press. Reposition your fabric and use the Elmer's glue to hold the fabrics together and finish stitching the binding to the washcloth.


Step 4.  Stitch the binding down on the back side of the washcloth


Fold the binding over from the front to the backside. I used the Elmer’s glue method to tack my binding in place, leaving approximately 1” loose at each corner.


I used a pin to mark where I began stitching so I could tell where I need to end at.


Start sewing, I used the ladder stitch, that way it is hidden.


staying on my seam line and only going through the terry cloth.


You can’t even see it on the front :)

Stitch all the way around making sure to pull the thread tight as you go.

Step 5. Add an appliqué if you like


I used Steam a Seam to adhere it to the washcloth, I also will stitch around it for extra durability.


Step 6. Make another to complete a set.


Other options

*use smaller binding cut 2” wide strips for binding (example in picture above) using a 1/4” seam allowance

*Use a pre made washcloth and just add appliqués

*Or make your dimension a bit bigger and make a hand towel

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I love the washcloths! so cute I know she will love them