Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sewing: Rick Rack Dish Towels


I'm feeling like such the 1950s housewife these days. Home with the kids, shuttling to school and classes, keeping house, cooking (occasionally anyway) and sprucing up the kitchen with some new dish towels! I've wanted to do this rick rack thing since I bought some very similar to this in Christmas colors from Crate & Barrel a few years ago. Such a simple, graphic way to add a bit of color. I think it looks modern and vintage and a little kitsch all at the same time.  And it's an easy way to give a nod to Valentine's Day without adding too much clutter. I need to save room for Valentine drawings made by my two little artists: Audrey and Scarlett.


This project is pretty self-evident (to be honest, the most difficult part was finding plain white dish towels that weren't terry) but I created a little tutorial anyway. So if you'd like to see the step-by-step on making your own rick rack dish towels click to read more.



Supplies:
  • Two white kitchen towels
  • Four different lengths of rick rack, 1-1 1/2 yard each depending on the width of your towels

  
The first step towards a set of rick rack dish towels is making your selection of rick rack of course! I chose a few shades of pink and a true red in various widths. A lot of different combinations would be fun here. there are no rules. I think what ever looks good to your eye works. I would like to try some in orange and aqua for instance.


You'll need 1 yard to 1 1/2 yards of each of the four colors of rick rack you chose to complete two towels. My towels are on the smallish side so 1 yard was just enough.  You could measure twice and then cut and sew, but I preferred to skip the measuring part and instead sew, and then cut to fit. Worked just fine since I started with enough length.


To finish the end of the rick rack, and stop fraying, make a little zigzag stitch (or you could of course serge--I still have my serger sitting in a box!) a bit back from the end and then trim the rick rack close to the stitching. I find if I try to sew right on the edge it's a big mess.


Now fold back the rick rack on itself. It's nice if the ridges (ricks?) line up...


and pin on the wrong side of the dish towel where you will start sewing your first line of rick rack.


I suggest working from the bottom up to make it easier to keep everything straight. You could measure and mark on the towel but I did this by eye. I placed the first row of rick rack about one inch from the bottom of the towel and stitched down the middle in a white thread. 


At the end I reverse stitched, cut the thread,...


...trimmed the rick rack leaving about 1 inch out from the towel...


...then zigzag finished this end, and tucked it under towards the back side of the towel. I think stitched this in place.


Continue in the same manner with your other lines of rick rack. I spaced my stitching lines about one inch apart and paid attention to the "negative space" between the rows of rick rack to keep them straight.



That's it. Pretty quick!


These are fun for other holidays too, or in your favorite color combinations.



26 comments:

Amy said...

Adorable! What a fun project!!! I ♥ rick rack - probably because anything preppy makes me smile! ;)

Heidi said...

Simple. Quick. Great bang for the buck instant gratification! Thanks!

casserole said...

I am soooo loving these towels!!! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:
http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-easy-valentines-dishtowels-with-rick-rack/2011/01/27/

--Anne

Our Seven Dwarfs said...

I love this! Great way to use up a limited amount of rick rack as well. Just love your blog! Thanks!

www.oursevendwarfs.com

Hilary Mercer said...

Cute! I was actually just thinking I needed some valentines day kitchen towels! Totally making these next week!

dana said...

Cute! Classy without looking cutesie. Very fun.

Jayna Rae said...

I do love the 1950s feel!

@jenhalloran said...

You have such a great eye for color -- these are adorable! And SO glad you included the tutorial for folks like me who need a little extra help figuring out how to finish off the ends. Did you wash the rickrack first? Just wondering about color-fastness (or perhaps these are display-only towels?).

Jess said...

adorable!

The Cottage Mama said...

Very cute!!

Kara said...

Pretty quick and cute! I have a great love for rick rack.

Anneliese said...

@jen: I did not prewash the rick rack, though I did wash the towels (mostly because I was anxious to improve the texture, but also in case of shrinkage). It might have been smart to prewash the trim but I was in a rush (as usual) to complete in the free hour I found yesterday afternoon. New rickrack claims to be colorfast (caution if using vintage trim) but perhaps shrinkage could be an issue. I'll have to see! I confess these are more for eye candy in the kitchen but the towels should be totally functional. I've washed others and the rick rack may require ironing because it sometimes curls...

~The Bargain Babe said...

Pretty!

Ann said...

Love it! I am so glad that I found your blog! You are still just as creative and artistic as you were in high school. Thanks for sharing your talents with everyone! :)

Lori Lynn @ LurlynnCrochet said...

Love these! So cute! I want to make some now :-)

SmilesandSunshine said...

Where did you find the towels?

Tina said...

I love those!

Anneliese said...

I found the towels at Target, on clearance no less! Such luck! They are their "@Home" brand.

wayside wanderer said...

These are so cute!

Melissa~ said...

Anneliese, this is such a clever idea! They are beautiful.

I actually have these dish towels from Target in my stash waiting for me to think of something! Ha! Now I don't have to. :)

I tweeted this (@pinkpeppermints)and pinned it on my pinterest board too! Thanks for the great idea.

♥ Melissa~
Pink Paper Peppermints

Clara said...

Great idea! Easy and funny to make. Thanks for sharing, Clara.

Urban chic said...

How sweet I love the rick rack! You used such fun colors I can't wait to make these! I live on the West Coast near the beach and want to do these in blue. I love the waffle towels that you used as well they are really awesome. I think I have seen towels similar at Ikea here. Great project thanks for sharing!

Paris @ http://urbanorganicstudios.blogspot.com/

Jessica said...

Hi! These towel are adorable!! Where did you find the plain white dish towels?!For some reason I'm having trouble finding them.

Thanks for your help!

www.lookslikespiltmilk.blogspot.com

lookslikespiltmilk@gmail.com

Anneliese said...

@Jessica: I got these towels at Target this past summer, but I've also seen similar at Williams Sonoma.

Julie @White Lights on Wednesday said...

This is such a cute idea. :) I found you through Pinterest. I got some Ric-Rac in a grab bag from a craft supply company I use and wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. Now I know!

Monica // mon makes things said...

This is so cute! What a fun and easy project :) perfect for dipping my toes into the sewing world.. :)

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