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Friday, March 16, 2012

Cross Stitched Handtowels or Baby Burp Cloths

Materials: Aida Cloth, DMC Thread, Cross Stitch Needle, Cotton Thread, Handtowels.

Tools: Pins, Scissors, Tape Measure, Sewing Machine, Quick Unpick.

Remember to prewash Handtowels before starting this project.
Note: I also washed the cross stitched strips by hand in Lux Soap Flakes to ensure that the thread colours wouldn’t ‘run’ later and ruin the piece.
Once constructed the piece should be washed either by hand or in a delicate bag , on a gentle cycle in the washing machine.  (This will ensure the stitching doesn’t come away and will enhance the life of the piece.)
I had cross stitched several different designs on strips some years ago with the intention of making them into decorative handtowels and have only completed the construction of the pieces in the last few days.
Originally I completed two daisy style handtowels as gifts for Mothers Day, while the rest of my handiwork has set idle in a shoebox in amongst other craft supplies.
This blog has helped me to realise how long (and needlessly) these items have remained incomplete and given me the push to finish them.
Back of Aida Cross Stitched Strip with edges ironed over ready to be sewn.
I start by folding the edges of my pre laundered Aida design, so that I may sew a hem and stop the item from fraying. I iron the edges to ensure a straight hem and to check that the fold is even and allows enough of a border around the design. (This is the great thing about ironing, if you don’t like how the edge looks, just iron it flat and start again).
Next I ensure that the cross stitched strip is in the correct position, I pin the strip and take a step back to take a good look and check that it looks straight. I also check that the measurement from the bottom of the cross stitched strip to the bottom of the handtowel are the same measurement on both sides to ensure that the strip is sitting straight.
I sew one seam on along each ironed edge to avoid fraying. Then I fold over and iron the edges on each end. Lay the strip against the handtowel to double check where the folds should be. Then sew the two end edges. Once the four seams are complete you will be left with a neat cross stitched strip.
t’s now time to place the cross stitched strip on the handtowel and decide how far from the bottom of the handtowel you would like it to be fixed. In my case, depending on the design I like to place the strip roughly between 4" - 5" or 9 - 12cms  from the bottom depending on the thickness of the cross stitched strip.

Now sew your strip to your handtowel, being careful to not sew over your pins. (This can result in stitches being skipped, or the sewing machines needles breaking). When the first seam is sown check that there aren’t any ‘bubbles’ in the fabric and that the pins for the second seam are in the position that you require. Then sew the second seam. Once done, take the time to check your work and ensure it is as you would like it to be.

If you’ve made mistakes, that’s ok, just get a quick unpick and undo them, re-pin and sew again.
I made the mistake of thinking that I didn’t need to pin the strips on to the handtowel. It came out looking like this...
So I thought it best to pin the rest!
If needed pin the side sections of the strip (this may not be necessary, as it’s already in place), and sew the sides down to avoid anymore movement in the strip.
After completing the two ends of the strip your towel is complete!
Feel free to make your own as gifts, or for yourself.
Completed Cross Stitched Baby Burp Towel
Note: I found the cross stitch designs and patterns for these pieces in books borrowed from the library and from cross stitch magazines.

I found some cross stitched patterns didn’t fit on prepared Aida which is made specifically for border work. This is why I have used regular Aida and cut the item down to my preferred size later on.

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