My mum is a dressmaker. It seems like such a dull word for the beauty she can create with a sewing machine.

Over the years mum has taught me all I know about sewing. She has helped with the endless queries I’ve had, fixed the many mistakes I’ve made and passed on many tips and tricks.

Possibly one of the best things she has taught me, is the joy in making things for others.

Today I’m going to share a family favourite gift. The appliqued towel.

One Christmas, I appliqued towels for all 8 of my nieces and nephews on my husbands’ side of the family. Here is a picture of me (Christmas Eve) with one of the towels. Yes! There are a lot of letters in Miss Ashleigh’s name!

Most new babies in our family are given “the towel”.

I don’t usually do them for our relatives because I know that it is on Mum’s or Aunty Helen’s gift list, but lately I’ve started making them for people outside the family.

It dawned on me recently, after watching my girlfriend open her baby’s towel, that a child’s name is an extremely special privilege parents hold, and one many parents love.

I’ve got 3 children and spent hours deliberating over their names so I don’t know why I didn’t realise this sooner. It is quite obvious.

My girlfriend was so delighted that her little man had something with his name on it; she hung the towel in the lounge room over a chair so people could see it when they visited.

There have been a few new arrivals recently and I’ve ordered a heap of white towels to get busy making some pressies.

In the interest of “sharing the love” here’s a little tutorial on how I applique my towels. There is also a little giveaway at the end if you like the towels.

  1. Gather all of your supplies (Picture #1):
    1. A towel in the size of your choice. Although for babies a standard towel is plenty enough to keep them snug.
    2. “Good” scissors & paper scissors.
    3. Fabric of choice – I usually use quilting style cotton.
    4. Cardboard letters – I printed the alphabet on cardboard, using IMPACT font. You can also free draw.
    5. Vliesofix – Basically it is double sided glue for fabric – which can be purchased at spotlight and other crafting stores. It feels a little like baking paper as it has a removable paper attached.
    6. Pencil
    7. Iron
    8. Sewing machine/thread – you can hand sew if you don’t have a sewing machine available.
  2. Iron your fabric and place right side (print side) down on your ironing board (Picture #2)
  3. Take a piece of Vliesofix (you don’t need much) and iron the shiny side onto the wrong side of the fabric (Picture #2).
  4. Trace the letters onto the Vliesofix as per Picture #2. Remember to reverse the letters so that they are the right way when you put them on the towel.
  5. Cut out each of the letters. Keep the Vliesofix backing paper on the letters.
  6. Iron the towel and position the letters where you would like them (Picture #3). Keep the Vliesofix backing paper on the letters.
  7. Once you are happy with the positioning. Pull the backing paper off as per Picture #4. I always start with the middle letter so that my spacing doesn’t get mixed up.
  8. Double check the positioning and then gently iron over each of the letters. Again I start in the middle, as per Picture #5
  9. You can now pick your towel up and admire it. The letters won’t move from this point on.
  10. Set up your sewing machine to do zig zag stitch. As the letters have been essentially glued to the fabric, the zig zag stitch is just to neaten the edge and make sure that it doesn’t start to peel away with regular use. With the thread colour, my mum suggests always using the same colour as the towel. That way the back side of the towel looks lovely and neat.
  11. Slowly zig zag around each of the letters.
  12. Trim your threads and admire your handy work.

Here are some more ideas to get you started:

  • Towels don’t have to be for babies. Everyone uses them.
  • You can add ribbon or loops to hang them up.
  • Applique face washers, hand towels, t-shirts, bags, skirts – whatever your heart desires.
  • Play with the fabric, font, colour.
  • Google applique to gain inspiration for other objects.

Would you like to win one? Simply write a comment about your favourite baby name and then “like” the Sharing the Love Facebook page on the right of the screen.

Winners will be selected at random. I will email the winner to discuss what you would like on your towel.

Entries close on Monday 14th May @ 8pm EST with the winner announced via the facebook page on Tuesday. The giveaway is open to international residents.

Want to buy one? Just send me an email and I’d be happy to make one up for you. I only have white towels at the moment but if you had something else in mind we could customise. They are $35 per towel + postage.

Happy sewing everyone.

This has been shared with the lovely Desiree at The 36th Avenue

The 36th AVENUE