Free applique patterns for tea towels

Learn how to make applique tea towels with Michael Ann's beautiful trimming tutorial!

How to make applique tea towels

Who knew a tea towel could make a girl so happy? Turn a plain tea towel into a treat for the eyes with a few simple stitches and some pretty remnants with this easy DIY project by Michael Ann of Michael Ann Made. It’s a great upcycling project which can spruce up old towels into floral beauties. If you’re looking for more upcycling projects make sure you check out our how to do visible mending tutorial or our upcycled sweater project! But now let’s hand over to Michael and get her free applique patterns for tea towels…

How to make applique tea towels step 4

Meet Michael Ann of Michael Ann Made and contributor to Papernstitch. She’s our guest blogger today and we say welcome!

Springtime is here, and I couldn’t be more excited! This simple spring tea towel tutorial should help to bring a little bit of colour and sunshine into your home. And the best part is that it seriously only takes a couple of minutes and some materials you’re bound to have lying around.
Michael Ann

You will need

  • Kitchen towels that need sprucing up! I used plain 100% cotton towels I found at a local thrift store for $1. You could also use towels that already have a print for extra colour.
  • Colourful fabric off-cuts. This is a perfect project for using up precious tiny scraps.
  • Co-ordinating thread. The applique will look the best if you try to match the thread colour with the fabric. But contrasting on purpose can be fun too.
  • Sewing machine or embroidery needle, depending on your desired approach.

How to make applique tea towels


You Will Need

  • Fabric
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Cotton tea towels

Total time:

Step 1

How to make applique tea towels materials

Find a springtime pattern that you like and cut out your pieces. I knew I wanted a vintage look, so I searched around for vintage tea towels I liked. I found a little 60s flower power motif and drew my own simple pattern. This is the creative part, so let your imagination run wild! Keep in mind that simple and bold images work best with busy patterned fabric.

Step 2

How to make applique tea towels step 1

Next, pin and sew your pieces. If you are using a sewing machine, like I did, use either a small and very close together zig-zag stitch or buttonhole stitch, and machine all around the raw outer edges of your pieces. Pull the thread tails through to the back, tie them together, and cut them off instead of back stitching to finish.

If you prefer a hand embroidered look, then get out your hoop and stitch away! I found some gorgeous tea towels in my searching that used hand embroidery.

Step 3

How to make applique tea towels step 3

Finish off with any last-minute touches! I was originally planning to keep it simple, but then I found this scrap of pink ric rac… Just the kitschy icing on the cake this little retro towel needed! Depending on your mood, you could also add fun bias tape, lace or ribbon.

How to make applique tea towels step 4

Thanks, Michael Ann, it looks almost too nice to use though. If we can’t bear to use it, perhaps we’ll use our pretty applique tea towel as a cafe curtain in a small window. Keep in in touch with Michael Ann on her Michael Ann Made blog. You’ll find a cute mix of fashion, patterns, chat and DIY – we’re sure you’ll enjoy!

For more upcycling projects and tutorials why not learn how to make denim plant pots using leftover denim? Or maybe take a look at our decoupage tray DIY?