I love making things by hand, whether they are gifts for someone I love or something for my home. My Mum has a sewing machine and I remember her making all sorts of things when I was little (a mermaid tail for my very favourite Barbie might be my all time favourite), but her patchwork quilts and cushions are heirlooms. She taught me to sew so my love of making started with her. But, more than ever, as a stay at home mummy, I feel a great sense of pride when I can add value to things. I don’t earn a wage, so I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I can make something out of nothing, or something beautiful and useful out of something basic. Generally all it takes is some time and I feel such a lot of pleasure when I look at or give something I’ve made. Here begins a little series on handmade gifts and things for the home. They will be inexpensive, but beautiful and made with love.
Twenty minutes plus £3.49 equals six pretty, summery napkins or placemats which bring a smile everytime I see them…and my two girls were with me while I made them. That’s how quick and easy they are. Granted, I do have a sewing machine and our extra long winter meant I had enough time to do a deep clean of the study and find the perfect spot to set up my machine permanently; but these are so easy to make. Carving out a little bit of time to dust off your machine will make you feel so good!
I feel a bit of a fraud giving a how-to for these as they are a total cheat…a set of three pretty cotton teatowels from Aldi (£3.49) literally just sliced in half and the cut edge folded and hemmed. The girls watched two and a half episodes of Sarah and Duck while I whizzed them up. But for someone new to sewing I have added some more details below.
- cotton tea towels (generally they measure 50 by 70cm)
- scissors or fabric cutter, mat and ruler
- sewing machine and thread (I used white thread as the tea towels had been hemmed in white, polycotton thread is the best as it is much stronger than cotton)
- measure the longer side of your tea towels and cut them in half (my longer side was 70 so I ended up with two pieces of fabric 50 by 35 cm). Don’t fret too much about this…my tea towels certainly weren’t perfectly ‘square’ to begin with!
- the cut side will need to be hemmed to match the other three sides. I folded my cut edge over a centimetre and ran it through the machine. You can iron or pin your fold if you wish, but I didn’t think it was needed, particularly as it isn’t a very long length of material to put through the machine
- iron…or not!
And there you have it. Super fast and so pretty. The perfect size for napkins or placemats, although being so thin, they wouldn’t protect a table from something hot. Let me know if you give them a try and how you get on. I am definitely going to turn my ornamental Emma Bridgewater Christmas tea towels into some festive napkins!