My grandmother gave me a couple of her old, calendar tea towels the other day. When I was growing-up, she always had one hanging in her kitchen, so I was excited to get them as they have happy memories attached to them, but other than folding them up and putting them in the linen closet, what could I do with them?
After playing with them for a bit, I decided I could make a couple of pillows from one and a tote bag from another. I’m very pleased with how both projects turned out.
There are a lot of tutorials on the web for creating a tote bag from tea towels, but most of them just have you fold it in half and sew up the sides. Because my tea towels have calendars on them, I didn’t want the image to be upside down on one side so I cut one of the towels in half, made sure both sides had the images in the proper position, and then sewed them together. I’m thinking I might give it to my grandmother for a Christmas gift. I know it seems silly to give someone something they had given you, but I think she originally gave me the tea towels because they were just rotting in her linen closet. Now that it’s a tote bag, she can enjoy a piece of her past and use it when she goes on shopping trips.
The pillows I’m keeping! I think the bird illustrations look like they might be in an Anthropologie store don’t you? The tea towel was really too long to make into one pillow, so I split it and made myself two. I used Bari J’s Art Journal fabrics to complete the pillows. The colors and bird & nest designs matched my tea towels perfectly and modernized them without taking away their vintage feel.
Now, go run and find some old tea towels and get sewing!