I have been seeing the hanging towel pattern pop up all over Pinterest lately for cute DIY gifts. I thought that since I rarely use my sewing machine, this would be a great project to re-learn how to use my sewing machine. I will say that it was a bit frustrating, since I really didn’t know anything about my sewing machine at the beginning of this project. But, I continued on and actually learned a lot of cool techniques on my sewing machine besides the basics, such as sewing a buttonhole and attaching a button, all using the sewing machine! Here is my hanging towel project, along with links to great tutorials.
First, you will need the following to complete the project:
- Fabric Quarter (JoAnns, Michaels, Walmart)
- Flannel or some other thick fabric — I used felt because I had it on hand
- One 24″ x 15″ towel (Walmart)
- Thread (1 spool)
- Buttons (2)
- Sewing pins
- Sewing machine
- Scissors or Fabric Cutter
I had purchased two different towel sets, so everything I have here is doubled:
The first thing you want to do is cut out the template they provide and paste the “TAB” together so it forms one shape. This will be your template to trace onto the fabric quarters for the top part of the hanging towel. For each towel, you will need two shapes. Each fabric quarter should have enough room for you to cut out 4 pieces. Make sure to keep your scraps for practicing along the way! Also, you will cut your towel in half so that it is two pieces that are 12″ x 15″ (cut the towel in half on the longest side).
You can then sew up the cut edge of your towel (the 12″ side) by folding, ruffling, crimping the edges together then sewing across. The new length of the side should be 6 inches instead of 12 inches. I folded mine and it looked like this before sewing it:
Once you have cut out the shapes from the fabric quarters, you should also cut out two shapes (one for each towel) from the thicker fabric you have. I used felt, but the directions originally call for flannel. Once you have everything cut out, you should stack the fabric as follows: patterned fabric face up, patterned fabric face down, felt/flannel fabric. You will be stitching this around the outside (leaving the bottom open, as the directions describe).
Once you have the shapes pinned together and have sewn around the outside–again, leaving the bottom open, you will first iron the fabric then turn your fabric inside out and iron it again. The sewn towel and two fabric pieces will look like this before turning them right-side out:
Next you’ll need to turn under about 1-inch of the fabric shape and iron it, so the edge is even and flat. Then, you will insert in the sewn edge of your towel into the opening about 1 inch in. Pin to hold in place and then sew across the bottom edge. You’ll want to make sure that you sew at least two lines across the fabric to be sure that it’s strong to withhold people tugging at the towel.
Next becomes the part that I discovered how to really make good use of my sewing machine: making a buttonhole and attaching a button. I used my sewing machine manual and found some online tutorials and videos to help me learn the process. If you’ve misplaced your sewing machine manual, most likely it’s online if you search for it, but this will definitely help. I have added some extra notes below for you to read if you needed some tips. Otherwise, here is my final product!
EXTRA INFO FOR THOSE WHO ARE NEW TO SEWING MACHINES:
I wanted to add some information that I didn’t know when trying to sew a buttonhole and attaching a button. I am posting this information below for anyone who is also learning how to use their sewing machine. Again, I have the Singer Simple 2263 machine, which I got from Walmart a couple years ago for about $100 (I think, don’t quote me on the price).
Foot Attachments: These are the different foot attachments that came with my sewing machine. The first one on the left is the traditional foot used for sewing, the one in the middle is the foot attachment to help you sew a buttonhole, and the one on the right is the foot attachment to help you attach a button.
This plate is also something you need when you actually attach the button. It has two little prongs on the under side, which clips into the holes on your main sewing area (on the metal plate).
Buttonhole Tips: When sewing your buttonhole, you will need to measure the size of the button compared to the buttonhole foot attachment. Your instruction manual and the tutorials below will help you understand and accurately measure the size you need. My button was large, so my buttonhole spanned from the first red marking to the last red marking (as seen in the foot attachment photo above).
Sewing Machine Settings: Next you will need to understand the stitch options on your sewing machine, again your manual and the video tutorials below will best explain this. Below, I took a picture of my machine:
Buttonhole Settings: The red buttonhole settings on the knob are as follows: (left) 3 – stitching from bottom to top on the left side of the buttonhole, (middle) 2 & 4 – stitching along the top and bottom of the buttonhole, and 1 – stitching down the right side of the buttonhole. Your machine may differ slightly, but they all use the same concept and techniques. Again the tutorials below and your sewing machine manual will be more helpful on specifics. Also, on the top knob, you will want to make sure that the Length is set between 0 and 1. There is a red pattern (that looks sort of like a completed buttonhole) which corresponds with sewing a buttonhole.
Attaching a Button Settings: When you attach a button, the top knob (Length) will turn to 0 and the bottom knob will turn to the first zig zag pattern (usually next to your traditional straight line). For attaching a button, you will likely adjust your Width dial between 3 and 5. You should not use the pedal for attaching a button, instead use the knob on the side of your machine to move the needle back and forth to properly adjust your Width.
How to change foot attachments: This took me a long time to figure out on my sewing machine. My sewing machine has a little lever (I am pointing to in the photo below) which makes it easy to change the foot attachment. Some other machines may not have this option and instead have a screw that you can loosen to change foot attachments.
Practice: As usual, it’s always best to practice before you actually sew a buttonhole on your finished product to test size and stitching. Make sure to use those scrap pieces of fabric to practice sewing the buttonhole not only to learn how to use the settings properly, but also to test the size of the buttonhole. Below is my practice buttonhole:
The Final Product: Once you have finished practicing, it’s time to move on to the real deal. You want to sew your buttonhole first, then fold over the end of the fabric piece and measure where the button should be attached. You can attach the button using your sewing machine or by hand, either way will work.
Here is the original photo on Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/pin/86342517825572183/
Here is the blog that has the main tutorial - http://kleiosbelly.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/christmas-prezzies-6-1-for-you/
Here are the links to all of the tutorials that I used: