More Pretty Muslin Dish Towels (Sew Pretty DIY Projects)

muslin sewing projects - kitchen towels & low-sew no-sew napkins

So far, I have trimmed towels, made napkins, and sewn a clutch. I’m in the kitchen again and putting muslin to work. The best fabrics for any type of kitchen towels are absorbent. Being 100% cotton, muslin fits the bill. In the towels featured below, I used two layers of fabric for added absorbency.

Two months ago, I unintentionally, bought 30 yards of muslin. If you’ve never heard of muslin; it is a basic cotton fabric, widely used for utility purposes. I though, decided to turn all 30 yards of it into items I can use and be happy with. That requires much thought and imagination. For that reason, my mind has worked nonstop devising ways to use it. The towels below are the third of my muslin sewing projects.

Since I plan to be excited throughout all 30 yards of fabric, I will vary the type of projects I bring to you. Next time around, expect something that’s not connected to the kitchen. Until then, here’s to sewing pretty kitchen towels plus.


Adding colourful strips of cotton or other fabric trims is an easy way to decorate your muslin kitchen towels


About muslin fabric

In the textile realm, muslin is a utility fabric. That means it’s used more for function than appearance. It falls in the category of woven fabrics. A fabric is classified as a woven when it was created by weaving what’s called warp and weft threads on a loom at right angles. The warp runs vertical or lengthwise, while the weft is weaved horizontally or crosswise. Muslin also comes in different varieties, widths, weights and grades: bleached and unbleached are terms commonly associated with.

For more about muslin visit here

muslin sewing projects

For most projects, I work with unbleached muslin; the type often used to make trial garments in sewing. It is affordable and comes in a creamy beige color. Initially, you may find it a bit on the stiff side but repeated washings will change that. If you use white vinegar, baking soda or chlorine bleach in your white laundry loads, the color will also lighten over time. Sunlight is a natural bleaching agent that will brighten unbleached muslin with continued exposure.

Sourcing trim from other scrap fabric

Remember to prewash and press fabric before applying trim. Cotton trims need to be preshrunk before using as well. Above and below: I shopped my scrap stash and found materials perfect for trimming.

Materials and Tools

Muslin or absorbent fabric around 54” – 60” by 36” – 40”

Dressmaker’s chalk or marker if using

Sewing machine




Fabric scraps or trims for embellishment


Double layer muslin kitchen towels Instructions

Pre-made towel measures about 27” long by 18 inches wide on average. Make yours in a size that best fit your needs.

Step 1. Prewash and cut fabric: Cut fabric 54–60” long by 36–40” wide; ripping works too. Add extra inches to accommodate shrinkage in the event you decide to skip prewashing. Cotton wrinkles when washed; press fabric before sewing.

Step 2. Apply trim: Position trim on right side of fabric about 3” in from raw edge; machine stitch with a medium length stitch.

Step 3. Turn over and align fabric: With right sides together, fold the fabric in half lengthwise. Line up raw edges ensuring fabric is flat.

Step 4: Stitch, trim and press open seams: Pin together and stitch ¼” seams–leaving short side open. You will now have what looks like a pillowcase; trim seams and corners; press seams and turn case right side out.

Step 5. Stitch to close the open end : Use the side of the trim closer to the raw edge as a guide to stitch layers of fabric closed. Sew as close as possible to edge of trim with medium length machine stitches; backstitch at beginning and end.

Step 6. Press topstitch and cut fringe: Press and topstitch all around 3 stitched edges and beneath the border of the trim closer to the raw edges. Use scissors to cut 1/4” strips through both layers of fabric, to the marked line.

There; you have it: You’ve made your own pretty muslin dish towels in 6 easy steps!

You may use them as is; or wash for a second time. I did my second wash before sewing the towels. But sewing cut edges before washing is easier. Fabrics lie flat, and cut strips are less likely to get entangled.

Tip If you have scraps and/or remnants of absorbent fabrics, use any number of pieces necessary to arrive at the size towel you need. Think quilt: it simply means doing some additional sewing before constructing your towel(s). And with double layers, raw seams will not be visible.

diy-white trimmed-muslin-towel

Pretty Muslin Kitchen Towels

…are as easy as adding a bright white strip of scalloped fabric scrap.


muslin kitchen towels - creating fringe

Mark a placement line on fabric with an erasable marker or dressmaker’s chalk. Position trim right side up on towel; set sewing machine at longer than normal stitches and looser-tension. To avoid puckering after washing and when folded, ease trimming while stitching.

Conceal unfinished edges in double layers

To conceal an unfinished edge, mark a placement line on fabric; position the trim on towel wrong side up; stitch in place following instructions above. You’ll more than likely apply this method if you’re using fabric scraps. Alternately, fold raw edge(s) of fabric under about ¼” and press. With right side up, set in place on towel and stitch.

decorate plain towels

To sew a tuck, fold fabric crosswise and sew seams parallel to the edge about the width of your presser foot. Repeat and stitch tucks at desired width apart. Press tucks toward raw edge of fabric; upward is okay too.

muslin sewing projects - appliques

Cut out a preprinted design from fabric or make your own. Spray the wrong side of your motif with temporary fabric adhesive or baste unto fabric/dish towel. Machine stitch around edges with close zigzag stitches. Do this before stitching layers together. Normally, applying appliques require stabilizing fabrics. I didn’t use any–with acceptable results.


Fabric scraps and Tucks

Dress up your muslin kitchen towels with fabric scraps, tucks, fringes and scalloped edged fabric scraps.



Edgestitch: Sewing an even stitch as close as possible to the edge of folds or seamlines.

Topstitch: generally, a straight stitch that runs parallel to edges and seams.

Baste: A temporary stitch by machine or hand

more muslin sewing projects

No-sew Low-sew napkins

Minus appliques, these napkins are completely no-sew. To avoid shrunken napkins, pre-wash your fabrics before starting projects or factor in shrinkage before cutting. If you have Poly/cotton blends on hand, you can use them. They will fray less but still produce satisfactory results after going through the wash.

Materials and Tools

Fabric to accommodate desired size napkins

Sewing machine, motif, scissors and thread, if using appliqués


Cut fabric in desired measurements.

Fold in half. Fold again in quarters.

Measure and draw line at edges.

Notch out fabric at corners;

Cut through all 4 layers of fabric to the marked line. Or, eliminate markings on fabric by folding at edges and ironing over folds.

Note: Wash napkins after construction to achieve the blooming fringe effect. Cotton edges will ravel, curl and fluff every time you wash it. Longer threads as those used at the edge of dish the towels can tangle in the wash. Use a stiff brush to release the fibers and scissors to trim if needed.


Standard napkins come in varied sized squares–between 14 and 24 inches. If your fabric doesn’t permit squares, don’t be afraid to go ahead and use what you have. It’s how innovation occurs.

If muslin is not an option, feel free to use another absorbent fabric. Napkins have a practical purpose and their ability to absorb is primary. To achieve a pretty easy no-sew edge on napkins, fringe with scissors and wash. Or, pull out threads at raw edges. If the fabric is a tight weave, it could be time-consuming. Alternately, for cottons and fabrics that fray, you could get fringe by drawing a line at desired length, away from edges and cutting ¼ inch strips through to the marked line. Use a washable marker.

Lovely for less:

Double layered muslin kitchen towels – $2.25 each

Frayed edge muslin napkins – 63 cents each

I hope you are inspired to create the towels you want in your kitchen. In the meantime; the muslin sewing projects continue. I look forward to sharing what I’m up to and further inspire you. I promise no more muslin kitchen towels for now.

As always, thank you for taking time to drop in and browse. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments. I’ll answer as soon as I can.

If the Lord will, see you next time.