Tag Archives: DIY

DIY Fancy Flour Sack Tea Towel Tutorial | The Borrowed Abode

Stitch It: Embellished Flour Sack Towels

If you’re searching for an easy but appreciated DIY hostess gift, this fancy flour sack towel tutorial may be just the thing!

Because these can be made with or without a sewing machine, I thought they’d be the perfect first tutorial to share in the Stitch It series that I’ve been wanting to write for ages.

I whipped these up at Christmas as a gift, but if you just switch up the fabric, you can make these flour sack towels for any season or color palette.

DIY Fancy Flour Sack Tea Towel Tutorial | The Borrowed Abode

I didn’t take photos of the process because I was busy just trying to get them made – but I think it’s simple enough that you can follow these easy steps:

Materials Needed:

  • Flour sack towel
  • Cotton quilting fabric – at least 1″ wider than your flour sack towel
  • Pom-Pom Trim or other trim of your choice – at least 1″ wider than your flour sack towel
  • Iron-on hem tape
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine – OR – needle and thread

Let’s Get Stitching:

1.  Measure the width flour sack towel and cut a 5″ strip of patterned fabric that is at least 1″ wider than your flour sack towel.  For example:  My towels are 30″ wide, so I cut my patterned fabric strips at  31″ x 5″.

2.  Using the iron-on hem tape, adhere the fabric strip to the towel at the spot where you want it to go. Make sure you center the strip so that a 1/2 inch of fabric sticks out at each side of the towel.

  • Sewing Machine Version: I just use a few pieces of iron-on hem tape to help hold the strip in place for machine sewing.
  • No Sew Version: Use extra-strong hem tape to adhere all the edges. Iron on high heat with steam for best adhesion.  See photo below for where to use the tape.

Embellished Tea Towel Tutorial 2 | The Borrowed Abode

3.  Once the strip is adhered to the front, turn the towel over.  Fold the flaps of patterned fabric over and use more iron-on hem tape to adhere them to the back of the towel. Before I iron them on, I like to trim them to be nice and neat, just the width of the towel’s hem.  (See detail photo below.)

Embellished Tea Towels Back Side | The Borrowed Abode

4. Repeat this iron-on hem tape process to adhere the fun trim (pom-poms or whatever trim you choose) to the bottom edge of the towel. Don’t forget to fold over and trim the ends again.   Again, if you aren’t going to use a sewing machine, iron and steam this carefully to get a good adhesion.

5. Stitch it!

  • Sewing Machine Version:  Use a regular presser foot on your machine, and set the machine to a medium-width and length zig-zag or overlock stitch.  Sew along every edge of the patterned fabric to attach it well and prevent fraying.
  • No-Sew Version:  If you’ve used heavy-duty hem tape and have ironed it really well with steam, it technically should be fine.  However, I’d recommend threading a needle and just putting a simple running stitch along every edge.  This is easy to do while watching TV, etc.

6:  Iron it and admire your work!Embellished Tea Towels 4 | The Borrowed Abode

I hope you found this tutorial useful.  Please, if you have any questions or are confused, let me know in the comments below! I promise I’ll answer – if not today, within a few days. :)

New to sewing and wondering what supplies you need?  Check out my fabric bunting tutorial for a list of my must-have sewing supplies.

Frugal Friends: Bright Little Guest Room

It’s time for another visit to Crysty and Andrew’s new home, this time to peek at how this frugal chick created an uber-cheap guest room that is small on cost but large on comfort.

The room was not large, nor was it particularly inviting when they moved in.  Here’s a look at what they had to work with – a row of windows (yay!) but some horribly unpainted wood moulding and doors.  Now don’t get my wrong, wood moulding can look bee-utiful if it’s high quality and in the right room.  This moulding was your bare-bones basic stuff, and it just needed some paint to make it work.

Guest Room Before

In typical Crysty fashion, the room was given a bright color palette of lavender and beige, and the doors and trim spruced up with clean white paint.  She replaced the wire shelving with some personalized art. 

Did I mention yet that in addition to being awesome, Crysty happens to be an incredibly talented photagrapher?  Check out that framed photo of her little sister April.  Yes, Crysty herself shot that.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  And it’s fitting for the guest room, which April refers to as “her” room. 

Guest Room After1

This bed rests on a very practical and sturdy frame that Crysty constructed on the cheap.  I stand corrected:  she created it “on the free,” which is even better than on the cheap!  She found free wooden shipping pallets on Craigslist, drove them home, and stacked them in such a way that they are just the size of the bed.  Is she creative or what?? 

She topped off the bed with this gorgeous organic cotton comforter set on sale at Walmart.  And, in lieu of end tables in this tiny room, she placed a small bookshelf behind the bed to hold drinks, books, etc.

Guest Room After2

That’s it for today, folks.  Check back soon, as the next Frugal Friends visit we’re cooking up is the kitchen makeover.  AND, if you’re curious to see some of Crysty’s gorgeous nature photography, don’t go far.  We’re setting up an online store and hope to be selling some of her prints in the next few weeks!

Thrifty Fix: Custom Corking

Up until a few days ago I had a problem in my office.  The cork board that I whipped up with a custom fabric cover just to match the room was not so coordinated after all.  In fact, it looked ugly and dingy with its dusty blue fabric against the brighter blue wall.  Ick!

Old Cork Board

Eager to remedy the situation, I went out and bought an unfinished wood frame at Michael’s, took it home, and painted it white to match the accents in my room.

Eeep!  It wasn’t the right size!  (I’m really quite awful at eyeballing measurements).  Why didn’t I check the size first? Whatever was I to do?  I returned to the store.  None of their cork boards fit their frames.  Hmm.  I wanted to do this on the cheap, anyway, and buying all new parts would contradict that goal.  Since the frame was a must, I decided that I would make a cork board custom-sized to the frame.

Painted Frame

I picked up some cork tiles (less than $4) that I could easily cut.  I made a backing to affix the tiles to by recycling a piece of foam core board (cut from an ancient presentation at work that I had never-thrown-out-because-I-didn’t-want-to-waste-the-board) and cut it to fit the frame.

Foam Backing

Once I had the board cut to size, I cut the tiles to fit and attached them with my handy-dandy stapler.

Cork on Foam

That’s not very pretty, but that’s what the fabric cover is for!  I ripped the fabric off my old cork board (note to self, I had attached it WAY too well) and covered the new, home-made cork board with it.  (Again, using my handy-dandy stapler.)  I then affixed it to the back of the frame by hammering in little tacking nails (and hammering my fingers a few times in the process).  Ta-dah, a new framed cork board is born!

I still don’t love how dark the fabric appears against the blue wall, so I think that I’ll eventually take it apart and use a different fabric.  But more importantly, the next tasks for the office are:

  • Find and re-cover a mid-century modern chair to match my mid-century desk
  • Pretty up my book shelf and add some white framed photos to the walls

Finished Cork

Frugal Friends: Around-the-World Living Room

When one of my very best friends (and her fiance)  scored an awesome deal on a bank-owned home in Richmond, VA, I was excited by just how much it oozed DIY potential.  While I haven’t been able to get down there to help as much as I’d like (yet), Crysty and Andrew are quickly transforming their house from dingy to delightful with a lot of hard work and a little spare change.  As I post photos of their many rooms over the next few weeks, I’m sure you’ll catch on quickly that Crysty has a flair for color.

On the day Crysty carried Andrew across the threshold, this is the glaringly red living room that greeted them:

Crysty Living Room Before 2

Red walls with woood trim and a white accent wall?  Eep!

Living Room Before

Within a matter of days and that harsh red room was transformed to a warm and soothing ’round-the-world tour featuring some of Crysty’s treasures scored on overseas mission trips.  (I’m loving that batik flower art on the yellow wall.)  The only real expense, besides a few gallons of paint, was the sofa/love seat set, snagged on sale for only $600.

Living Room After1

I almost gasped – wait, I did gasp – when I saw the beautiful mid-century-modern armchair she found for $20 at a yard sale.  Doesn’t it make an inviting reading spot sitting by that cheerful sunny window with her $10 table?

And speaking of bright, sunny windows, I am loving this one.  The white paint on the trim really sets it off against that yellow wall, allowing it to look fabulous without any drapes or blinds!

Living Room After2

I also love how Crysty used a vintage steamer trunk with a fabric runner as a side table.  It really adds to the “around-the-world” theme.

Living Room After3

That’s it for today.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting about her other rooms which, if you love color, you do NOT want to miss!