Tea towels and an old bag

Last year I bought a pack of three cotton tea towels in Waitrose. I was seduced by the soft white cotton and fresh blue stripes. I wanted to make something from them but had no burning ideas. So after unpicking their machined edges they were filed along with all the random three or four metre lengths of bargain fabric that seemed like a good buy in the shop, but then at home somehow never quite match the project I want to get cracking with. The tea towels would make lovely linings for small purses and bags and pencil cases and needle cases. But again – not really urgent projects.

Meanwhile, on the sofa, two saggy feather cushions have been crying out for covers for years. I think the originals were washed once and then considered far too faded and dreary to put back on. A Sunday afternoon moment brought cushions and tea towels together. I used one tea towel, folded in half and stitched round three sides with minimum seam allowance, for the smaller cushion and found some blue tape to make very simple tie closures.

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For the other cushion I used the two remaining tea towels for back and front. Rather than lose the wonderful blue stripes I put lots of pin tucks in the plainer tea towel to reduce its width. There was a bit of excess fabric trimmed from the other tea towel, enough to make some more ties. This one has a more generous amount of fabric at the opening which works better.

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There must be hundreds of other things to do with tea towels. Any thoughts?

Here’s another make do and mend project. This was a dress that was once wearable, but the heavy fabric made it feel rather like pulling a stout envelope over your head, or actually more like a canvas tent. Inspired by a cross between one of my student’s enormous tote bags Gallery, and the current style of quick release bicycle panniers, I have chopped up the dress and made it into a large overnight bag. Lined with some heavy cotton casement it might just work.



As usual there wasn’t quite enough material. So the handle had to be scraps and offcuts joined together, reinforced with a length of the casement.

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I’m going to leave it without a fastening rather like a paper round delivery bag. The dress’s two patch pockets ended up on the front and back, perfect for tickets and passport.


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4 responses to “Tea towels and an old bag

  1. brilliant use of tea towels – and redundant dresses !


  2. I am loving the make do and mend projects this month (very much my thing!) and also good projects for beginners to attempt.


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