Originally featured in Alabama Stitch Book in reverse-appliqué, these simple tea towels can be given a new look using what is essentially the opposite technique – applique .
For this project, our design choices include one Navy Tea Towel with Natural appliqué, whip-stitched with White Button Craft thread, and one Natural Tea Towel with Navy appliqué, whip-stitched with Navy Button Craft thread.
One 19” x 26” piece and one 4” x 19” piece of pattern paper
1 yard of 60”-wide 100% cotton jersey in Navy
1 yard of 60”-wide 100% cotton jersey in Natural
Lace Stripe Stencil (see page 78 of Alabama Stitch Book)
Transparent Plastic Ruler
Tailor’s chalk or disappearing ink fabric pen
Tools needed for your choice of stencil-transfer method (see page 28 of Alabama Stitch Book)
Hand sewing needle
Button Craft thread in navy and white
1. Create Patterns and Stencil
On your 19” x 26” piece of pattern paper, draw a straight line parallel to the paper’s long side and label this line “Grain Line,” and the entire pattern piece “Tea Towel Top.”
On your 4” x 19” piece of paper, draw a straight line parallel to the paper’s short side and label this line “Grain Line,” and the entire pattern piece “Tea Towel Appliqué.”
Photocopy the Lace Stripe stencil, enlarging it by 300 percent. Prepare and cut the stencil according to the instructions on page 58 of Alabama Stitch Book. Our Lace Stripe stencil is also available to download for free from our Resources page.
2. Cut Out Tea Towel Pieces
Lay your Tea Towel Top pattern on top of the fabric, making sure the pattern’s marked grain line runs in the same direction as the fabric’s grain line (see page 48 of Alabama Stitch Book). Using tailor’s chalk, trace around the pattern’s edges, then remove the pattern. Cut out your Tea Towel top piece, cutting just inside the chalked line to remove all the chalk. Lay your Tea Towel Appliqué fabric on the remainder of the fabric and cut as above. Repeat the process, so you have two Tea Towel Appliqué pieces for one Tea Towel.
3. Stencil and Lace Stripe Pattern on Tea Towel Top
Lay your Tea Towel Top with the right side of the fabric (see page 48 of Alabama Stitch Book) facing up. Place your Lace Stripe stencil on your Tea Towel Top 2” from the top short edge. Using your choice of stencil-transfer method, carefully transfer the stencil design on to the Tea Towel Top, stenciling all the way from one side edge of the fabric to the other. Reposition the stencil 2” from the top edge, and repeat the stenciling process for the second stripe.
Repeat the stenciling process at the other end of the tea towel, if you want.
4. Stencil Lace Stripe Pattern for Tea Towel Appliqué
To make your appliqué pieces, lay your tea towel appliqué fabric with the wrong side of the fabric (see page 48 of Alabama Stitch Book) facing up. Turn your Lace Stripe stencil to the wrong side, and place on your tea towel appliqué 2” from the top short edge. Using your choice of stencil-transfer method, carefully transfer the Lace Stripe stencil pattern on to the tea towel appliqué fabric, stenciling all the way from one side edge of the fabric to the other.
Repeat the stenciling process for the second stripe.
5. Cut out Appliqué Pieces
After letting the stenciled fabric dry, begin by cutting out one stenciled shape, 1/16” around the outside of the stenciled edge. Once you cut out the shape, flip it over, right side up, and pin it to the corresponding shape in the Lace Stripe stenciled pattern on the base fabric. Repeat for your entire stenciled design by cutting one piece at a time and pinning it into place.
6. Stitch Lace Stripe Appliqué to Tea Towel Top
Thread your needle with a single strand of thread. Insert your needle from the wrong side of the tea towel and, using a whipstitch (see page 39 of Alabama Stitch Book), sew around the appliqué’s edge. Knot off the thread on the fabric’s wrong side when you arrive back where you started stitching. Then thread your needle again, move onto the next appliqué, and continue stitching around it with a whipstitch.