Inspired by: Tea towels


Yes… you’ve read it: tea towels! Each month Riikka and I challenge each other to create something with a particular theme or thing in mind. This theme or thing can be anything and this time Riikka and I chose for a kitchen necessity: tea towels.

The tea towel idea came up a couple of months ago and back then it made me think of a couple of my grandmother’s linen tea towels that were in my fabric stash.

You would think that I had more than enough time to think of something spectacular to do with them… But when push came to shove, the fact that I only had one chance to make something nice, kind of blocked my creativity…


So I considered using other tea towels and I looked at all kinds of sewing books and websites. I just couldn’t find anything that I liked and that would also accommodate my limited sewing skills.

I also considered creating something within my comfort zone: taking inspiration from the colours, maybe scanning the fabric, using it to cover a journal or attaching it to a canvas…

I asked everyone I could think of to help me with ideas. My mom showed me this watercolour:


And it led me to this:


Which was FAR too easy… Inspired by is supposed to be a challenge!

And then I thought: my challenge is to sew something. From a pattern. With my sewing machine.

I regularly use my sewing machine on cards and lay-outs, I’m able to hem pants, repair seams and I can even alter clothing, but I have never sewn anything from scratch using a pattern.

Besides, a couple of weeks ago a new Marie Claire Idées found it’s way into the house and just last week I bought another Mollie Makes. I love to flick through creative, crafty magazines like that, but I never actually make any of the projects that are in there.

So that settled it: I was going to sew something using a pattern from one of these magazines I love and hoard…

I found a pattern for a shopper in Mollie Makes issue 5. The pattern looked easy, the instructions sounded easy enough, I had all materials on hand and I had enough tea towel to pull it off. Equally important: it looked like something I might actually use!

I will spare you the step-by-step photos (I don’t have any…), but here’s the finished product:



Well, not exactly perfect… But it came pretty close!

First of all: the pattern was clearly intended for thinner fabric. But I obviously used linen tea towels so now my fabric tie doesn’t wrap around the bag when you fold it up.

Not a big deal!

But this on the other hand is:


See that tidy French seam?

You’re not supposed to see it!!!

It belongs on the inside of the bag… I think I missed one important, bold printed ‘Turn the bag inside out‘, but I’m still not sure how I could have possibly missed it… When I realized, it was already too late. Well, I could have pulled all seams out again, but the bag was nearly complete and it would have been a pain anyway…

And then there are the little rust stains… I knew they were there from the beginning and if I had paid more attention I could have used that fabric panel for the back of the bag. But I didn’t pay attention… and now the stains are visible on the front.

Ah well… I can always add something like this:


So that concludes my little sewing adventure: I tried something new, I learned how (not) to sew a French seam AND I have something usable to show for it. I call that a triumph!

I know for a fact that Riikka is an extremely skilled seamstress, so I wonder if she has sewn anything… Let’s go and check it out here!

3 thoughts on “Inspired by: Tea towels

  1. I loved reading about the process! The finished shopping bag is really lovely! Neat seams and so finished! I also love that you took the plunge to the sewing patterns! <3

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