Easy Fat Quarter Tea Towels – Sewing Tutorial


What’s a tea towel? Can you use it in your messy real life kitchen? I think you should be able to. So last year I made my own version using some of my favorite fat quarters (only because they come pre-cut to the perfect size) and I love them! The two layers of cotton are not too thick, which I really like, plus the more I wash them the softer and more absorbent they become. Not to mention that I get to brighten up my kitchen with beautiful fabric!

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I also lightly-embroidered the edges Japanese Sachiko style with pearl cotton which helps them keep their shape in the wash and gives a sweet handmade look.

Are you ready to make some?

You’ll need two fat quarters and some pearl cotton for each tea towel. They are fast and easy so feel free to make a big stack all at once. These beautiful fabrics are the new Hothouse Flowers by Mo Bedell for Andover Fabrics. Aren’t they gorgeous??? I decided to use the pink and green colorway for these tea towels and save the blue and orange colorway for a little quilt (I think).

So pick two fat quarters for your first tea towel and place them right sides together on your cutting board. Make the selvages even…


And trim all the edges to make the fat quarters the same size all around. Cut off the selvages too.

Pin around the edges, and sew all the way around leaving about 3” open for turning.

Use a 3/8” seam allowance.

Clip the corners, turn right side out and press. Then stitch the opening closed close to the edge.


Make a whole bunch and get ready to embroider!

You all know I love pearl cotton. It’s just so much fun. For this project, thread a sharp embroidery needle with a long single strand and tie a knot at the end.


Take your first stitch, only going through one layer of fabric. You are going to bury the knot in the middle of the towel.


Pull the thread through to the end and gently tug at the knot until it pops into the middle. If it pops all the way out, no worries – that happens. Just try again.

Hand sew long stitches (this time all the way through on both sides of the towel) all the way around. Use the seam allowance on the inside of the towel as a guide to keep your stitching straight. You can feel it through the fabric.

When you get to the end of your thread, use your needle to tie a knot in your thread about 1/4” away from the towel. Take a last stitch through one layer only (kind of like the first stitch) and pop the knot to the center again. Pull the thread taut and cut, hiding the end on the inside.

Repeat with another strand of pearl cotton until you’ve sewn all the way around. Done!

If you want to make your stitching a little bit fancier, use a disappearing ink pen (like the Frixon) to mark a design around the edges. Here you see I used the bottom of a cup for curves and the corner of my ruler for a zig zag effect.


Then sew around them the same way, following your marking lines.


Happy Sewing!

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  1. Charlotte Howett says:

    Love this idea. What a cool way to get to sew but not taking hours and hours and finish an item. Will need to try it. Thanks for sharing this idea. Love, love, love it.

  2. I love quick and easy projects now and then. And these are so pretty.

  3. Gladys Hontz says:

    Hi Caroline, Love,Love, Love your tea towels. I am going to look thru my fat quarter stash and try to whip up a few of these beauties. Thank you for sharing and I am sew happy I found you. Gladys

  4. Julie Barkley says:

    Love this now I need to go make some!

  5. Debi Tisdale says:

    excellent idea! i may put i lightweight terry on the back.

  6. I was thinking that you could use them for napkins instead of tea towels and maybe even using some of the fancy stitches on my sewing machine.

  7. Love the towels!! What size pearl cotton do you use?

  8. Darlene M. says:

    I’m learning to machine quilt and need to learn big loopy stitches for some charity quilts. This is a great idea to use for practice pieces and usable without wasting fabric. Thanks for a great use for fat quarters.

  9. I have just finished a quilt using these gorgeous fabrics and the Rainbow Petals pattern from Corey Yoder’s Playful Petals book. They are simply divine fabrics. Don’t think I could bear to wipe dishes with them!

  10. gayle hill says:

    Love this idea for pretty towels in the kitchen, thanks for the great tutorial.

  11. Charlotte Ann Howett says:

    I have made 3 and just love using my fat quarters for these. I may be giving some to our battered womens basic need center. There are several places here in our small town that could use them. Love doing this.

  12. Charlotte Ann Howett says:

    I did use fancy stitches instead of just straight stitch. Way fun and cool.

  13. Mary Lata says:

    What do you mean by pearl cotton?

  14. Maria Laurence says:

    Never thought of using fat quarters for tea towels. Love the idea. Thanks foe sharing.

  15. What a wonderful idea. Must get to making some of these. Thanks.

  16. Terri Tresise says:

    Cute! Wonderful, easy idea!

  17. Jeanne Regan says:

    Just found this idea on Pinterest. Exactly the kind of project I was looking for to use up some fabric (so I can buy more)! Thank you for sharing this idea!

  18. Donna Burke says:

    What a great idea! Two of my favorite things, tea towels and fat quarters. Fast and easy gift idea. Thanks so much.

  19. Letha Gaudet says:

    Pearl cotton is embroidery thread.

  20. These would be perfect to include with a table-runner or placemat gift!! How well do they absorb?

  21. Barbara Gilbert says:

    Nice! I would wind that pearl cotton on my bobbin and stitch by machine, using a scallop stitch most likely, or a triple stitch zigzag. My arthritic fingers will thank me. But don’t these towels need ironing, or least line drying? Not that I wouldn’t mind line drying in the sun, actually.

  22. Love you, Caroline, and THANK YOU for all of your lovely shared patterns! Hope this finds YOU well, and your child that has been sick back to perfect health, too.

    (By the bye–it is PERLE cotton, ladies, NOT pearl!) xoxoxo

  23. Love these! Always looking for a pretty towel to display on the oven handle. Add a little applique too and it will be so cute!

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