* This post was pre-written at the beginning of December when I was making handmade Christmas gifts that I wanted to keep a surprise. We are now back home in the SF bay area after spending 3 weeks in Vancouver. I’m itching to start sewing again–it’s been so long! *
The older I get, the more I appreciate useful gifts. When I was younger, my dad once came home from a Korean golf tournament with a box of instant noodles for hitting a hole-in-one. The big prizes were: laundry detergent, sacks of rice and the most prized, gallons of sesame oil. For participating, everyone went home with bars of soap or toothpaste. I never understood why the prizes couldn’t be more interesting. But I get it now–unless something is going to be used in the home, it becomes useless.
After our big move, we got rid of a lot of “stuff” and I am trying to do with as little new “stuff” as possible. I still love shopping, I’m just a whole lot pickier and much less sentimental. Unfortunately, handmade gifts usually fall under the “sentimental” category. So this post will try to explain how my brain works at coming up with ideas for useful handmade gifts.
These are the 3 kitchen towels we own. Old, dingy and gross. I definitely need new ones. I’m not sure why we always have all 3 out at the same time–on laundry day, we have no kitchen towels. Hmm… maybe I should make some.
Ok, why make my own kitchen towels when there are perfectly good ones at Williams-Sonoma? The towels cost $19.99 for 4. To purchase, cut and hem terry cloth fabric, there is no reason for a cost-benefit analysis here–it’s a no-brainer. Besides, the towels have an amazing texture, they’re absorbent and lint-free.
Ooooh, look at this lovely fabric on sale at fabric.com (both by Michael Miller: “Retro Put a Lid on It” in nite blue and “Sorbet French Toast” in agua–now sold out.). These prints make me want to drink coffee in pretty cups. But wait, I don’t need it. Maybe I can add a border to the bottom of the Williams-Sonoma towel. I should go to the mall to pick some up. Oh my, the towels come in navy blue, too! SOLD!
I love my new kitchen towels! I should make some for Mama & Yeye for hosting us over the Christmas holidays–I can never find a towel in their kitchen. I should make some for my parents, whose towels are older than mine. I should make lots and lots!
I’m so glad I didn’t make my own towels! These ones even come with a loop to hook onto the inside of the pantry door.
Hey, who’s that cutie peaking at me? I better close the door before he comes looking for snacks.
So that is what goes through my mind. How to make them? Super easy, trust me.
- Measure the width of your towel. Optional: prewash towels and fabric.
- Cut a piece of fabric 5″ high x (width of your towel + 1″). Optional: serge or zigzag edges.
- Iron all sides down 1/2″ so the edges are tucked inside.
- Pin fabric to the bottom of the towel. I kept a small border of the towel showing around the edges.
- Top stitch the fabric onto the towel.
- Make 11 more.
Great gift for anyone with a kitchen, really. It can also be combined with a bunch of other useful kitchen things like nice-smelling hand soap, cooking utensils or a cookbook. For my in-laws and parents, I combined the 2 kitchen towels with Trader Joe’s Fresh Linen Scent Anti-bacterial Hand Soap, Peet’s Holiday Blend Coffee and Ghiradelli Peppermint Bark with Dark Chocolate. All 100% useful gifts (especially the last one).