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Liberty Tea Towels

One of the many reasons I love Liberty of London fabric is that it evokes an English countryside fantasy I’ve always harbored. As a child, I would get lost in the worlds of Beatrix Potter, The Secret Garden, and Brambly Hedge. I was captivated by the soft colors of their illustrations, their images of teatime and frilly frocks.  My favorite Liberty of London florals all remind me of those charming books!

Recently, Purl Soho received Liberty of London’s new Tana Lawn Seasonal prints, many of which were beautiful florals! What better way to use this fabric than in a set of soft tea towels straight from my childhood daydreams!

For strength and absorbency, I used creamy porcelain Prairie Cloth as the base and added the incredible Irma print to one end. These simple tea towels are put together in a novel way that encases the end in a pure swath of Liberty. With only one visible seam, it’s as if they were dipped in the pretty print!

Materials

To make a set of two  tea towels:

You will also need a pencil.

If you'd like to make a different amount you can get two towels per 3/4-yards of Prairie Cloth or one towel per 1/2 yard. You can get 4 towels from each 1/2 yard of the Tana Lawn.

Size

15 X 25-inches

Pattern

Cutting

For each tea towel cut:

  • a 17 X 26-inch piece from the Prairie Cloth
  • a 16 X 13-inch piece form the Tana Lawn

Marking

Double fold the and press 1/2-inch along both long sides of the Prairie Cloth. Pin the pressed folds in place and sew them down with an edge stitch. The folded side is now the wrong side.

Double fold, press, and pin 1/2-inch down towards the wrong side along one of the short sides of the Prairie Cloth. Sew this fold down with an edge stitch. Keep the second short side of the Prairie Cloth unsewn.

Orient the Tana Lawn wrong side facing up with its short sides as the height and the long sides as its width. The print should be facing upwards (not upside down.)

Using your pencil, mark a line 1/2-inch and parallel from the right, left, and bottom sides. Make a mark 1/4-inch parallel from the top edge.

Press the Tana Lawn piece in half widthwide, wrong sides together. Unfold the piece so that there is a crease across the middle.

Orient the Prairie Cloth with it's wrong side facing up and its raw short edge at the top.

Using your pencil make a small mark at the left and right hemmed edges, 5 1/2-inches below the raw edge.

Sewing

Turn the marked Tana Lawn piece upside down so the bottom 1/2-inch mark is on top with the wrong side still facing up. Place the bottom raw edge of the Tana Lawn just below the pencil marks on the sides of the Prairie Cloth. Center the Tana Lawn so that it's side markings line up with the hemmed edges of the Prairie Cloth. Pin the Tana Lawn in place along the raw edge

Sew the Tana Lawn to the Prairie Cloth along the 1/2-inch pencl mark.

Fold and press the Tana Lawn over towards its right side along this newly sewn seam.

Press the Tana Lawn piece in half width wise, right sides together this time. (The opposite direction of how you pressed it in the marking section, but along the same crease.) Press the 1/4-inch top marking of the Tana lawn down towards the wrong side.

Pin the raw left and right sides together of just the folded Tana Lawn. Do not pin the Prairie cloth.

Before you sew along these pinned edges look at the other side of the pinned edge. The front edge of the Tana Lawn (the side that has been pressed 1/4-inch down) should go a bit past the back edge (the sewn down side.)

Sew the pinned sides of the Tana Lawn together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance, along the pencil markings, sewing down the sides right and left sides of the 1/4-inch fold in the process. Do not sew the Prairie cloth in this step. Snip off the corners of the seam allowance at the fold. You will now have a shallow Tana Lawn Pouch with one side of it's opening sewn to the Prairie Cloth and the opposite side folded 1/4-inch towards the wrong side.

Flip the whole thing over so the right side of the Prairie Cloth is facing up. Turn the Tana Lawn pouch right sides out. Press the pouch flat with its corners poked out and the 1/4-inch fold nice and straight.

Tuck the raw end of the Prairie Cloth inside of the pouch. It should lay flat and fit like a glove. If it doesn't, don't despair, just trim the raw edge of the Prairie Cloth down until it fits neatly in the pouch.

Press the pouch flat again and pin the folded edge to the prairie cloth making sure that the edge of the fold is roughly 1/4-inch above the opposite side of the pouch.

Sew the pinned side down with an edge stitch.

Be careful to sew just along the edge of the fold.

Turn the towel over. The top edge of the backside of the Tana Lawn should not have been sewed on. Instead, the seam should be almost invisible, just above the top edge of the Tana Lawn. If this isn't the case, rip out the seam and try again. With a tea towel this simple you want the details to be perfect!

Repeat for the remaining tea towels and you're ready for a tea party!

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11 Responses to Liberty Tea Towels


  1. Michele says:

    Beautiful!!! I checked out the pricing of the Liberty Fabrics…eek! Maybe I'll use something in my stash to make the same.

  2. Marty Mason says:

    My kitchen and I love this idea for our personalized tea towels.

  3. karen says:

    beautiful! I was looking for a small thank you gift and this just the thing! Do you recommend preshrinking the fabrics? thanks again.

  4. purl bee says:

    Hi Karen-

    We do recommend pre-shrinking anything you'll be machine washing!

    Thank you for your question!

    Molly

  5. Beckie says:

    Simple yet beautiful! I love the floral print fabric – so lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Sandra says:

    You note to have the print going in the right direction–that is, the flowers growing up. But when the fabric is folded–won't the flowers be upside down on the back side of the towel? This could be avoided by using a print that is non-directonal.
    I think this idea would be lovely applied to pillow cases.

  7. purl bee says:

    Hi Sandra-

    Yes, the print will be upside down on the back side of the towel but with this particular print it isn't that noticeable.

    Thank you for your suggestion!

    Molly

  8. Jeong says:

    After I double folded and pressed the prairie cloth, the width of the prairie cloth and the tana lawn were the same. I measured 1/2 inch and then created a 1/4 inch fold. Am I doing something incorrectly? Thanks.

  9. purl bee says:

    Hi Jeong-

    You should fold the sides of the prairie cloth over 1/2-inch two times, which will use up 1-inch of fabric from each side. After you double fold the sides of the prairie cloth it should be 15-inches wide. It sounds like you were double folding it 1/4-inch, not a 1/2-inch.

    Hope that helps!

    Thanks for writing in!

    Molly

  10. jennifer says:

    Will there be more of this fabric or not because it is "seasonal"? Thanks!

  11. purl bee says:

    Hi Jennifer-

    Unfortunately that is the case. There are many other beautiful classics and seasonal Tana Lawn prints however, so hopefully you can find something you like just as much!

    Thank you!

    Molly

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