Saturday, February 25, 2012

Utility Cloths for the Kitchen


I'm calling these utility cloths, but you could assign them to any job--dry dishes, mop up spills, cover the rising dough, keep the biscuits warm. I find it nerdily empowering to be able to sew these for myself and not go out to Wal-Mart to buy kitchen linens.

Choose any two fabrics (or double one), cut matching rectangles (size is totally up to you), sew with wrong sides together and let the margin fray (use zigzag stitch), or refine them with right sides sewn together and then turned right side out and topstitched.

Choose almost any all-cotton: flannel, seersucker, quilting, home dec. I'm trying it all and especially liking the unlikely mixes, including the backs of men's shirts from the thrift store, matched with something a little thicker.

13 comments:

Sheila said...

I have been obsessed with cloth napkins....but I don't double those. :)

opportunityknits said...

Such a good idea for using up leftover fabric!

Lilian said...

Such pretty blues! Just lovely and useful to boot.

Hana - Marmota said...

That's clever! We simply use rags in this household, for cleaning, but this looks like it could last longer - and it definitely looks nicer!
BTW, I think in the first "instructions", it should be "with right sides out" or "wrong sides together", not with "right sides together".

Anna said...

Thanks for catching that, Hana.

Yes, opportunityknits, using up fabric is definitely part of the fun!

Anonymous said...

What lovely "rags"! We use old flannel sheets to make sanitary pads (cut a rectangle long enough to suit for 9 layers, round the corners, zigzag over the edges and stitch a diamond in the center; wear with a lycra panty). We also cut up old t-shirts to use for tissues. I like linen best for drying dishes and have collected a bunch from thrift stores. These could be used as the backing of a utility cloth. One side terry cloth, the other side linen = best of both worlds!

Lisa said...

Now this is a good idea - I'm going to make some!! It's been on my mind for a while that I want more "rags", but I agree with Hana - these double-layered things seem better - this is what I've been waiting for!

Lisateresa

Project Tara said...

In this we are kindred spirits! I get that same boost from sewing my own. I like to make one side flannel and use an old cloth dinner napkin for the other side. Yours are so pretty.

cake said...

I think in another dimension you were my Mother's third daughter!! She loved repurposing & restyling & rescuing & reinventing. NEVER throw anything out. My baby brothers overalls were made from the backs of my fathers khaki work pants, his sleepers from old long underwear & his summer playsuits from men's dress shirts.Kitchen utility cloths? ALL from sheets & curtains & dress tails & thin bath towels. Throw rugs at the kitchen door were many layers of denim patchwork.She would much rather do this sort of thing than buy new ready made or even buy new fabric. When polyester double knit went out of fashion she was a senior citizen & she made enough patchwork quilt tops to blanket the county!They will more than likely last into the next millenium.
I too like rescuing & have 2 granddaughters that love shopping the Goodwill & thrift stores.

Rebecca said...

Since banishing paper products from my kitchen I've come up with all manner of cloth categories. One of mine is "kitchen cloths" which are for covering food for transport and rising bread/yoging (that surely is a verb) yogurt. They're smooth, unlike terry dish drying cloths, and get their own little stack in the towel drawer.

Anonymous said...

Love this post......I've been making my own dish towels for some time now, very similar to your description here. Fruity ribbons (cherries, etc) add to the charm. I've also been knitting dish cloths.....they are far superior to those found at discount stores. Marie

Margo said...

I love this kind of housekeeping detail! I just wish I didn't have so many old clothes to tear into rags so I could make some of these - would be so much prettier.

Heather said...

It's always fun to have hard working things be pretty - and to make them yourself is just that much more satisfying!

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