Monday, December 5, 2011

Appliqued Towels

I have a friend who is afraid of her sewing machine.  Which works for me because she also owns a Cricut and vinyl.   I sewed a project she wanted for her kids and she's going to cut me a vinyl phrase.  I hope she knows what's she's getting into because my phrase is going to be about 30" long.  

I hope these towels are worth it for her:
I made two.   One for her girl and one for her boy.

I started with a print out of the CTR shield from lds.org.  I tried to find a link for you, but was unsuccessful.  I'm sure it's there somewhere.  This is super easy to do with any design, however.  You could do a monogram  for a child or newlyweds, too.  

I traced the image onto a piece of paper backed sewing adhesive.   You could probably print directly onto the paper, but my printer was acting up.  Just make sure you print your design mirrored.

 I just held the design up to the window (great big light box!) and traced it that way.  You'll notice all the letters are backward.  This is important.  

Next iron the design onto the back side of your fabric and cut the design out.
 Then fuse your design to towel one section at a time.  Play around with the design on towel to make sure you get the placement exactly where you want it.  It's impossible to change after this step.  

I saved my scraps with the paper backing still on when cutting out.   I ironed down the big shield shape first then I used the scraps to make sure I got the letters placed exactly where they belonged.  They did slip slightly though when I was iroring them down.  Working with towels is a bit difficult.

 Here's the design fully fused to the fabric.  It's ready to sew.
 You want to set your machine to an extremely tight zig zag.  Mine is down in the "buttonhole" size for length.  I'd give you exact numbers but my machine is not digital so I have no idea.  It's very close with no visible space between the zig zag stitches.  My stitch width is just barely smaller than 1/8th of an inch.  I kept it on the narrow side because of the narrowness of the design.
Sew around all the edges of the design.  You need to cover everything.  Notice how the foot and needle are placed.  You want the stitch to be almost entirely on the applique with less than 1/4 of it over the edge.  This will keep the applique from unraveling later as you wash it.  The nice thing about tight stitches like these is it's so easy to go slowly and take your time.  Don't hurry through this, you want to be sure your stitches are placed properly and your lines are straight.  When you sew the curves turn the fabric into the needle.  Curves can be tricky, so practice if you haven't sewn a lot of them.

And here it is all sewn down.  You can see my threads still because I'm tying them off instead of just cutting.
 I do this by threading a needle with the thread ends and pulling it down to the back side of the towel.  Then I tie a surgeon's knot and cut the ends as close as I can to the fabric.  This will help keep the thread from unraveling as the towel gets used.  Towels need to be sturdy and ready to put up with years of laundry and abuse (I don't know about your house, but towels get dropped on the floor and walked on a lot at mine.  Not that I like that happening.  We're working on it.  It's a lifetime project.)
 And you're done.  This is a great project for a niece or nephew for Christmas, too.  Do a Superman or Wonder Woman shield and you are the coolest aunt ever.   If you are doing several and use sale towels you should be able to keep the costs down to under $5 a towel.

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