Tranquil Waters by Henri Biva 1848-1928, French
Today's beginner project is a dish towel, sometimes called a tea towel. It can also be made of muslin. Since this is 100% cotton, it can be used as muslin.
Lay a dish towel that you already have, on a piece of your fabric, with the selvage at the lower end of the towel. Cut around the dish towel, leaving ample room on all sides, for hemming, which is about a half an inch on all sides, except for the selvage edge.
. Above you see a roll of grosgrain ribbon, which you can get at the dollar store, and a strip of co-ordinating pink cotton fabric. If you do not have ribbon for trim, you can make your own, with the strip of fabric.
At the start of each sewing project, the fabric must be pressed, using a cotton or linen, very hot, setting.
On the two long sides, iron a hem one-fourth inch wide. Then iron it down one-fourth inch at the one short end.
Iron each long side another one fourth inch and tuck in all the stray threads. Now, stitch all three edges down, using a running stitch, an overcast stitch, or a slip-stitch. Look up illustrations of these stitches so that you can see how they are made. You may run out of thread and have to tie off and re-thread your needle several times. Putting too much thread in your needle can cause a lot of tangling, so if you are a beginner, you might be able to manage a limit of one foot of thread at a time.
Above, is a raw edge,
and here is the selvage edge. I wrote about this in a previous project. It is the part of the fabric that is bound at the cotton mill, and will not unravel. It helps to use this edge to avoid extra steps in sewing. You do not have to turn it down and hem it.
After hemming all three sides if you are not adding trim, iron your towel and fold it in thirds. Note the selvage edge is the lower part of the towel. You have hemmed only three sides, and saved some time by using the selvage as one edge. Tie a fancy shoe lace to make a loop and hang it up on a hook. This cotton towel works really well on glassware and cutlery. Unlike terry cloth, it does not leave any cotton residue on the dishes. It is great for tea cups, too.
I will post a print-out pattern for this precious pig toy. If you do not have printed fabric, sew all the projects so far, in white muslin.
Why does it matter whether or not you learn to hand-sew? Firstly, you might not be in a place where you can get things ready-made. Secondly, there will be times when you will want to be frugal, and sewing certainly can be less expensive. Thirdly, hand work is good for the mind, and fourthly, it leaves something to show for the time you have spent, and fifthly, it is beautiful and calming to look at. It is important to be able to make things yourself and not be helpless. In good times, sewing can be a leisure activity, and in difficult times, sewing can fill an important need.