Concerning disposable vs reusable:
You can easily decrease or even elimitate your use of paper towel and therefore your shopping bill and carbon footprint!
In a previous post I outlined the journey my family took from paper towel to UN-paper towel (that means cloth!) and now I’m going to show you how to make some for your own home! Or one way, anyway.
Now, this is a very easy project and it by no means has to be perfect. Remember, these cloths will be used to wipe up messes. Some people keep them on their countertop, even on an old paper towel roll, but you don’t have to. They can just as easily go in a drawer. So don’t stress about using nice or matching fabrics or doing an awesome job. As long as they wipe, they do the job for which they were intended.
Are you ready?
How to sew un-paper towel:
Get together your material. You’ll want at least two layers. I like to have terry and flannel. In this tutorial, I used one layer of terry cloth (one bath towel bought at discount price) and one layer of flannel (one meter bought at discount price). The cloths I’m making here are actually a gift, hence why I used new materials. I prewashed both my fabrics and as you can see in the picture below, the wash left my flannel looking quite yucky.
For my own cloths, I used all repurposed fabrics and I prefer to do one layer 100% cotton, one layer terry, and one layer of flannel. Use whichever materials you like, repurposed or new.
First things you need to do is to select a size. Honestly, this may be the hardest, yet most important, part of the entire project. I made mine in two different sessions. Almost none of my cloths are the same size but there are two general sizes. My “big” cloths are around 28cm x 24 cm (or 11″ x 9 1/2″) and the smaller ones are closer to 19cm x 14cm (or 7 1/2″ x 5 1/2″). I have quite a few of the smaller size ones, as we use them most frequently for wiping our hands, wiping small spills, etc. and probably only half the amount of the larger ones, as we don’t often have need of such a larg cloth. We haven’t had any truly big spills, I guess. *knock on wood*
Once you know what size you desire for your finished cloths, you’ll want to add 1/2″ to all the edges for seam allowance.
Cut out your pieces in the calculated size. You’ll want the same number of terry cloth and flannel pieces, if those are the fabrics you are using.
Be warned: cutting terry cloth is very messy!
Put your two layers of fabric right sides together and sew around the edges with 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a sufficient gap open for the piece to be turned right-side-out. This gap will vary, depending on your fabric. The terry I used here was very thick and required a larg gap to be turned.
Before turning, trim the edges close and clip off the corners. This will make the corners more crisp once turned.
Turn each piece right-side-out. Use an implement to assist in turning the corners out all the way. Since my gap was big enough for my hand, I used the handle-side of my seam ripper. You can also use a knitting needle or chop stick. Get creative!
Sew around the outside again with a 1/4″ seam allowance. When you get to the gap, make sure the rough edges are turned to the inside of the piece before sewing across.
You’re done! Now wasn’t that easy?
So sorry! I don’t have any pictures of the last step or the finished product! I had planned on taking the final pictures after washing them one last time but . . . that second wash made the flannel look even more shoddy (note to self: don’t use flannel that is very dark!) and I decided to skip the pictures. Time to exercise your imagination!
I would love to hear your thoughts on the so-called “un-paper towel” and if you’re intrigued by the idea you can read my post of how my home made the transition from paper to cloth, Doing Away With Throwaway.
The Tale of Mummyhood