Afternoon Project

If you are like me, you have probably cleaned every corner of your home, cooked all the dishes that you wanted to try, Marie Kondo-ed your wardrobe and possibly drove everyone near you mad by now. Home isolation can be great but then I start to get lazy. I think about making clothes but then think about the effort required and opt for a slice of cake and tea instead. On the other hand, this may be your children and you are at your wits end trying to find something for them to do.

So why not make a tea towel?

I’m sure everyone has tea towels back from the time they visited Carlisle Castle, the beach at Littlehampton, or were possibly given a tea towel with the print ‘Keep Calm and use a tea towel!’. But I don’t think anyone has thought of making their own. After all, why? Well, a couple of good reasons. Remember all those offcut from your sewing projects that you have no idea what to do with (you gave up on making a quilt ages ago) or that 1000 thread count pillowcase/bedsheet that is stained or slightly torn but you can’t bear to throw it away? That’s reason one. The second? Well, an abundance of time or an afternoon where you just want to do something crafty with the kids. Are you sold on the idea? Then continue reading.

Before I go any further, I need to tell you about the materials that I used. I had a linen offcut from a project I did a while ago (here) and didn’t want to waste such a wonderful material so I cut it up into a rectangle and sewed a rolled hem on the edges. The piece is big enough to dry cups and glasses but is smaller than your average tea towel. After all, I am utilising scraps of what I already have.

In terms of the paint, you may know that I have been painting on fabric for a while using Pebeo fabric paints. You can get a starter pack of 6 colours which you can mix and create new colours from. These paints last ages, especially for small projects like these. Alternatively, I have heard about the use of ‘fabric medium’, which is a liquid that you mix with any acrylic paints to transform them into fabric paints. Useful if you already have acrylic paints and don’t want to invest in fabric paints. Whichever paints you use, remember to set them with an iron so they are permanent and can be washed at 40 C. Please read the manufacture’s instructions as it can vary depending on the product you use.

The next step after you have hemmed your fabric is to give it a wash. Some fabrics have a coating that prevent the paint from adhering to. I gave my fabric a good wash with laundry detergent (do not use fabric conditioner), wring it dry and gave it an iron to remove any creases. Once this prep work is done, you can start the creative part.

So what did I want to paint on the tea towel? Something tacky, of course! It wouldn’t be a tea towel if it wasn’t of interest. Since I just finished a project painting a cat, I decided to continue with that theme. I pictured an image of a cat drying the dishes so I quickly sketched something.

Yes. I like that. Forcing a cat to do the dishes is funny. So I cut up a piece of paper to the size of the tea towel and started to draw based on my sketch.

Apparently the cat didn’t think it was funny and when I wasn’t looking, pushed the plate to the floor and broke it. But how can anyone be angry with that face.

Cat aside, I traced it onto the fabric and completed the painting in no time at all.

What a fun project this was. So am I going to use this to wipe dishes? Yes! I need to wipe that smug look off that cat’s face!


About syvyaw

Eat, sleep and think Fashion.


  1. David

    Hey Stephen. You don’t know me, I came across you blog a while back and I’ve enjoy reading your posts. I’ve always felt quite lazy compared to you. You’re always making something. It was refreshing to read your post today and hear that you sometimes have the same thoughts of wanting to make something, then thinking it’s too much effort and having a slice of cake instead, lol.I totally get that! I’m at uni at the moment, well, it’s been closed but we’re still doing the projects and essays, but in thislockdown I find my mind is becoming lazy. Anyways, I thought that I’d share back with you…something I made today for my cutting table.I’m lucky enough to have a studio at home, well, it’s my front room, but I’ve totally dedicated it to being my studio.I’ve made a cutting table which folds up onto the wall, and folds down. You can see it in the pic folded down over the smallertable underneath.But that’s not what I wanted to share. Do you ever get frustrated that your tools are often in the way when you’re cutting patterns or fabric?Patternmasters, rulers, scissors etc get in the way? Tools in the way drive me crazy, and I spend so much time moving them around and searching under paper and fabrics to move them.So… I made a pouch that I can attach to the side of my table to store a few bits I use regularly. I used medium weight calico offcuts. Like you I don’t like to waste material :)I sewed a few pockets like big shirt patch pockets together in one go and bagged it out. Used my Reece to sew two buttonholes and strengthened the buttonholes with lockstitch and used these to hang it off hooksthat I screwed into the side of the table base. It took an hour and now I can easily get what I need without having to look under paper and fabrics.When the cutting table is folded up onto the wall the pouch also folds with the tools in it. Thanks again for your great posts and I look forward to the next one… Best. David.

    • I’ve cultivated the habit of planning and tidying as I go along so it’s it’s a joy to make instead of a hassle. Sorry to hear that the Uni is closed but difficult times allow us to innovate and be creative, as you have done. All the best.

  2. I have been working from home so mostly blob out in my spare time. However, in the first week of our lockdown I noticed the hand towels didnt stay dry for long what with all the hand washing so I cut up a couple of old bath towels and zigzagged the raw edges to make a bunch of new hand towels.i like your fabric painting idea, might try it sometime. Thanks!

    • Our towels were the same too but as we hung it over the oven handle, it dried pretty quickly especially with all that cooking we were doing at home.

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