2016 Calendar Tea Towels

Linen/cotton fat quarters from Spoonflower

Linen/cotton fat quarters from Spoonflower

This is an easy project to welcome in the New Year. I bought these tea towels online from Spoonflower. They aren’t actually towels yet in this photo because the fabric edges are raw and fraying. If you click on this Spoonflower link you will see that there are an amazing number of design options and they are all so colorful and fun.


Untrimmed fabric

I made my fabrics into tea towels (described below), but my friend, Anne, made hers into adorable (and reversible) tote bags using this YouTube tutorial by Alanda Craft. The tutorial does not describe using a towel with a one way design such as these calendar towels. To have both sides of the bag facing “right side up”, you have to make a cut down the middle, reposition and sew back together.

Tote bags made from calendar fabric.

Tote bags made from calendar fabric.

All I had to do to make the towels was to trim the edges, iron 1/4″ towards the back once and then again, and then sew in place.

Edge stitch foot - Bernina foot #10

Edge stitch foot – Bernina foot #10

Sewing this edge was made easy with an edge stitch foot and my needle position changed slight to the right of center. As I sewed around all of the edges (from the back of the towel), I did add in a piece of twill tape to one corner to allow the towel to be hung over a hook if desired.

Twill tape in the corner

Twill tape in the corner makes the towel able to be hung on a hook or knob.


Due to the bulk of the folded edge, I did have trouble getting my sewing machine to grasp and move the towel forward as I began sewing. This is what the Bernina height compensation tool is for.

Presser foot slanted up in the front causes feed dogs to not be able to advance the fabric.

Presser foot slanted up in the front causes feed dogs to not be able to advance the fabric.

In this next photo I have inserted the tool under the back of the foot (behind the start of the towel edge) which has leveled the presser foot and enabled the feed dogs to move the fabric.

Height compensation tool in place.

Height compensation tool in place – presser foot now level.

Height compensation tool.

Height compensation tool.


This tool has a swivel holding the 3 layers together which allows you to use 1, 2 or all 3 of the layers to get different thicknesses depending on what you’re sewing. I used 2 layers for these towels.

Finished towels

Finished towels


This was a fun project and makes a lovely gift. This cotton/linen fabric is fairly stiff when you receive it, but a quick wash turns it into a nice soft towel. I finished the edges before washing to prevent a lot of fraying that would have happened in the washer and dryer.

Happy New Year!



Filed under Gifts, Purses and Bags, Tutorials

6 responses to “2016 Calendar Tea Towels

  1. Those are great…I could use sone new tea towels. And if I could get 2017 ones early, they’d make great xmas gifts to get a head start on for next year! I’ve never ordered from spoon-flower before. Is the quality good?

    • I thought the quality of these towels was very nice and the color held up nicely after they were washed. It would be interesting to know when they start marketing for the following year. Spoonflower had a sale in November when they offered fat quarters at half price and that is when I bought these. You can still get them at that price if you buy a yard of fabric instead of just a fat quarter. A fat quarter (1 towel) in the linen/cotton is $14 but a yard costs $27 and includes 4 towels of the same design.

      • Donna Jacobs

        Even the quill tape is beautiful! i would love to see how you use those feet with the height adjuster. So clever.

  2. Nice! The twill tape in the corner is a brilliant idea.

  3. Jan G

    This is so cute and a lovely hostess gift! I have a vintage linen towel cut out and ready to sew in a tote bag! I love the decorative twill tape for the corners of the towels. Where did you find such cute tape?

    • The twill tape that I used for these was actually wrapped around some fabric bundles I bought. It was so pretty that I thought I might find a use for it one day. It is probably just grosgrain ribbon.

      Sent from my iPhone


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