Easy and fun scrap buster dish towels for Dare to … give homemade gifts (Dare to DIY)

Can you believe we’re already halfway done with this year’s Dare to DIY. I love every week and I’m really looking forward to seeing the types of homemade gifts you are giving this year. Remember, the link-up will go live on Monday morning. Will you dare?

I really like giving handmade gifts and actually have a few things up my sleeve this year. Unfortunately, like many of you, friends and family actually read our blog. So, I can’t give away all my secrets.

So for this challenge, I decided to share a really quick and simple holiday gift that works well for lots of people. Friends, neighbors, coworkers, teachers … whoever is on your list.

Each year, I try to put together a small gift for my 8 coworkers. I typically plan our department holiday lunch, so I like to have a little something for each of them when they arrive. I don’t want to spend a fortune and I like it to be something practical but fun. I also need to be able to complete the gifts before the luncheon, along with all the other holiday things on my to-do list. So it can be a challenge. In the past, I’ve made hot/cold bags, soy candles and mason jar cookies.

This year, I decided to make semi-homemade dish towels. I work with all women and I figure that anyone can put a fun dishtowel to use.

This isn’t rocket science. I decided to go with a simple white bar towel as the base. They are $3.99 for 4 of them at Target. (Cheap – check.)

I decided to make two towels per person – one with a strip of fabric (or fabrics) and one with the first letter of the person’s last name. This was an excellent project to use all the fabric scraps I’ve accumulated.

For the strip of fabric – Iron the towels and the fabric you’ll use as embellishment. This is an awesome scrap-buster project. I used scraps from past projects in coordinating fabrics. If they were narrow, I just sewed two strips together.

Then, I flipped the fabric so the fabric and bar towel were right sides facing. The fabric was approximately 8 inches wide by 12 inches long, but this will depend on your towel. Then, I ironed down the sides as a hem to match up with the side seam of the dish towel. I eyeball this, because I am not a perfectionist. If you are, you can measure.

Sew the seam down the fabric and turn over and press. Sew around the entire piece of fabric, and bam. Pretty dishtowel. If you don’t have a strip that’s as wide as you’d like, sew a few strips together. That’s what I did on one of them.

The letter applique are equally simple. I drew the letter on Wonder Under and ironed to the fabric. (Remember that the fabric will be reversed. Plan accordingly. For the “C,” it didn’t matter.) You could print out a letter, word or drawing. Or you could use a Silhouette or Cricut. I just eyeballed it. My bubble letter skills are pretty impressive because I was a resident assistant in college. (Yeah. I know that explains a lot.)

Next, pull off the backing of the Wonder Under and iron your letter to the dishtowel. Sew around the letter and bam. Pretty dishtowel #2.

They really turned out cute, in my humble opinion. And the best part? I made four of them in about 25 minutes. So now I only have 12 to go for my semi-homemade gifts. Bing. Bang. And Boom.

If you are looking for other simple and fun gift ideas to make for Christmas, here are a few of my favorite past projects.

I’m looking forward to seeing your handmade projects on Monday. To find more Dare to DIY inspiration, check out my co-hosts’ projects at Decor and the Dog, Maybe Matilda and Two Twenty One.


  1. says

    You’re totally right, they came out adorable! I wish I were your coworker :-) This would make a great neighbor gift, too . . . I just might copy this idea. Thanks!

  2. Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication says

    Those turned out so cute! What a lovely co-worker you are! I really love the casserole carrier too! I may need to make one of those for myself, I mean my mom…

  3. Bungalow Boutique says

    These towels are so cute – and I have TONS of scraps that I could use to make these. Thanks for the inspiration!

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