Embellish a Plain Dish Towel

This project idea actually developed when I was looking for curtain material for my kitchen cart {more on that later}. I wasn’t having any luck finding something that matched my vision within my price range so I decided to try embellishing dish towels instead. This is part one of my kitchen cart curtains.


I found the white red stripe dishtowels super cheap (79 cents each) at Ikea. I bought the multi-color fabric at Joann’s (with coupons of course). The eyelet lace ruffle trim was something my neighbor gave me when I first got my sewing machine. The curtain rod is for a later post when I actually hang these. You will also need scissors, matching thread(s) and a sewing machine (or fusible web)


1. I started by measuring the short side of the white dishtowel. I cut the multi-color fabric to be two and a half inches wide and twice the length of the white dishtowel.

2. I folded over a small part of the multi-color fabric and ironed it to form a half inch seam.

3. I sewed a seam on one side of the multi-color fabric.

4. To create the ruffle, I changed the tension on my sewing machine to the highest setting (lowest tension) and sewed a straight line stitch opposite the side of the seam.

5. Next I tied off one side of the straight line stitch (both strands) and then gently pushed the fabric down the thread creating a ruffle.

6. Keep moving the material toward the opposite end but be careful not to tug it too hard and risk breaking the thread. Ruffle Complete.

7. Pin the ruffle to the front of the dishtowel. Don’t worry about how it looks because the lace ruffle with overlap this edge. You want the ruffle to overhang the side edges of the towel by about 1/4 inch. This will give you a chance to fold the fabric over the edge for a more finished look. Trim any excess off.

8. Sew the ruffle to the dish towel. I’m new to sewing and the layers were a little thick for the needle I was using so it broke. After digging out the manual and replacing the needle, I decided to sew the ruffle a little lower (beneath the dish towel seam) so it wouldn’t be so thick. To make it a little easier to sew a straight line I sewed the stitch from the back. In the picture below, you can see I sewed my stitch in the middle of the seam. I think you can sew it from the front as well.

9. Once you have attached the bottom ruffle, layer the top ruffle over it and pin it to the dishtowel. I measured the ruffle trim to be a half inch longer than the dish towel so I could fold it around the edge and sew it down (in the back). I hope that makes sense.

10. Sew the top ruffle to the dish towel. Wrap the excess around the edge and sew it to the back.

Dish towel complete!!

This is not the best picture angle to hide flaws. If you look closely you’ll see that my ruffle trim didn’t cover the seam of my bottom ruffle all the way (oops). I don’t think anyone will notice when it’s hanging. I’ll just call this my ‘practice’ towel.

I think it definitely dresses up the $0.79 dish towel and it was only a few dollars at most. If you have several scrap materials, this could even be a free project for you!

What do you think? Once perfected, I think they’d be great for a housewarming or mother’s day gift!

Linking to: Crafty,Scrappy, Happy Link party, Made in a Day

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  1. Sue says:

    I like. You are so clever. I can see where Lily gets her strong desire to be different. Happy Easter…hope you have fun dying Easter Eggs, hiding them and then finding them. Take pictures and share with us…Sue

    • guyerfamily says:

      Sue, She is definitely her own individual! And I love how confidence and strong willed she is! She is starting to help me in my DIY efforts so we’ll see if that becomes one of her interest on down the line. I bet I could learn alot from her as she already has her own unique sense of style.

  2. trish says:

    I LOVE these towels! I need something to add some color and pattern to my kitchen and this is just the thing. I always have a dish towel hooked by my sink to dry hands on and they are all ugly…this will spruce things up. Thanks!!!

  3. Maria says:

    How pretty! I have so many plain dish towels that I’ve been wanting to dress up in different ways, just need to find the time to do it! I love what you did! :o)

  4. cheapcraftymama says:

    So cute and sweet! I love that fabric! I would love for you to share this (and any other creations) at my new linky party “Pin It and Win It Wednesday” @www.cheapcraftymama.com!

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