Wednesday 21 June 2023

Hanging Kitchen Towel Dress

 When I was looking for a tutorial on making a hanging hand towel, I found several for making one to look like a little girl's dress. I thought they were adorable and saved several of the videos to one of my YouTube playlists, intending to try making one later. 
This is probably my favourite of the several videos I referred to. 

But after reviewing several, I found that there were different options and also some things that required clarification. Plus, I switched some things up. So, I decided to write this blog post to help anyone who would like to make one and show my process and options.
The first challenge that appeared was that I could not find the fabric requirements. I'll admit that I didn't watch every video all the way through, but one would think that it would either be near the beginning or listed in the description. Maybe I missed it, but I certainly didn't find it. So, here it is. If you plan on making this one without the optional ruffles on the bottom, then you need one fat quarter. 
That gives you enough fabric for the bodice and lining and 4 ties. If you plan on adding the ruffles, then a second fat quarter should be enough. 
These are the measurements given in the above video:
Bodice - body 6" wide across the bottom, 3" long from armpit to bottom
            - sleeves 2½" from fold to bottom, 1½" from armpit to end of sleeve
            - neckline 3" wide, 1½" deep
Ties 2" x 14" - cut 4
Ruffle - 6" x 24" - cut 2
          - 1½" x 20" - cut 2 pieces to cover seam where ruffle is attached to skirt (towel)
I chose to add ¼" to the bodice length as I wanted a half inch for the bottom seam allowance where the towel is attached. I also rounded off the underarms, as in the video. You can find my pattern here. Honestly, this is the first time I have created and shared a PDF file, so I make no promises or guarantees.This particular video does have a link to the author's pattern in the comments. 
She chose to use a vertical rather than a horizontal fold for her pattern.
My pattern has a round neckline, but I later decided to do a square one. It can depend on how you want to finish the neckline. Unfortunately, the first video above does not indicate how to do that. In another video, the square neckline was finished by folding in the seam allowances and topstitching. In another, a rounded neckline was finished with bias binding. I really didn't like either of those options and was hoping to figure out how to stitch it together from the inside, doing one side at a time. No, there really isn't room enough to do it that way. So, I opted to use one of the seldom-used decorative stitches on my sewing machine. I used a scallop stitch and trimmed off any fabric extending beyond the stitching and ended up with a pretty scalloped edge neckline. Using this option, you can probably make any shape of neckline you want. 
Regarding the ties, I chose to press them in half widthwise, then pressed in the ¼" seam along both sides and one end. It isn't necessary to do the other end as it will be inside the seam of the bodice. Topstitch along the side and end of each tie. 
This way, you don't have to fight to turn a long narrow strip sewed right sides together right side out again. Clip or pin in place ½" from the bottom of the side seams on the bodice before stitching the bodice. One of the videos uses velcro instead of the ties, but I think it looks prettier with the ties. 
I made this one for my youngest sister. It is necessary to put a seam in the ruffle if you want to make it as full as the indicated in the video. 
I included a coordinating hot pot holder. 
I also gifted her a couple of regular hanging hand towels - one Christmas and one Dad-themed (tools and buffalo plaid) because she said these towels reminded her of our mother since Mom usually had one hanging on the fridge or stove. You can find the video for these here.
And I did finally get around to putting the ruffle on the lemon kitchen towel dress. 

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