Home > Sewing Tutorials > Use Old (unused) Cloth Diapers and Scrap Linen to Make Dish Towels

Use Old (unused) Cloth Diapers and Scrap Linen to Make Dish Towels

by Sarah


If you are as hopeless in the kitchen as I am, you may need a kitchen towel to lift your spirits. I take solace in the fact that, at the end of dinner time, when even the dog won’t touch my creation, I can always order some great take out or head over to the sushi bar and drown out my sorrows with a nice cup of Sake.

I like to keep my projects as inexpensive as I can, so instead of dishing out money (pun intended) to buy waffle embossed cotton or terry cloth, I substituted some cloth baby diapers I had lying around. I had never actually used them as diapers, but I have used them many times to clean up spills and they work great! The combination of linen and cotton are great for clean ups and easy to wash. Enjoy!

Tip: Pre-wash your linen under the same conditions you plan to wash when used. For instance, I wash everything on cold and tumble dry regular. So, I’ll pre-wash my fabric the same way.

Tip 2: Use a press cloth when ironing linen to prevent a shiny coating.

Don’t have an embroidery machine? No problem! There are tons of awesome appliqué patches on the market that are easy and quick to apply.

Sewing Supplies

step 1

1/2 yard of linen

2 cloth baby diapers


Edge Stitch foot

Universal thread

Universal needle


Basting Spray


Embroidery Supplies


Embroidery Thread

Embroidery Pattern


Embroidery foot

Embroidery Hoops

Marking tool


Step 1

I used the size of the cloth diapers to determine the ending size of my kitchen towels. Cloth diapers stretch in some funky directions, but I found that I can get a good and even measurement of 19in by 21 in with very little waste.

step 2 copy

Cut 2 cloth diapers and 2 pieces of linen at the above measurements.

Step 2

Lay out the cloth and apply a light coat of basting spray. Roll up the linen piece like you would a newspaper. Line up the corners of the linen to the corners of the cloth diaper piece and slowly unroll.

step 3

Step 3

Sew a 1/2 inch seam along the two longer sides and along the top (shorter), leaving the bottom open.

step 4 copy

Turn right sides out.

step 5 copy

Step 4

Fold kitchen towel into thirds (or as you plan to fold it in your kitchen).

step 6 copy

Mark a center point with your marking tool. Make 4 more marks an inch from the top, bottom, and sides to start a grid. This helps you evenly space out your embroidery. Feel free to add more marks to the grid if you need.

step 7 copy

Step 5

Use your basting spray to add stabilizer to the back of the grid markings.

step 8 copy

Step 6

Position the center marking as best as you can to the center of the embroidery frame. Make sure your material is snug enough to feel taut, but not so much that the fabric is warped.

step 9 copy

Step 7

For the first towel, I embroider the words.

step 11

On the second towel, I first embroidered the sushi picture. I wasn’t sure if “eat sushi” was really necessary. However, I felt it was missing so I went back and added the words.

step 12 copy

Step 8

Turn fabric wrong sides out and trim down your embroidery stabilizer.

step 13 copy

Step 9

Sew a 1/2 inch seam along the opened edge leaving a hole larger enough to fit your hand. I like to leave my opening slightly off center so I can avoid a corner.

step 14 copy

I find it’s easier to get crisp corners is I clip them before I turn everything right sides out.

step 15 copy

Step 10

Turn fabric right sides out and press the opening closed.

step 16 copy

Step 11

Install your Edge Stitching Foot and Top Stitching needle. Stitch as close to the edge as you can for the first row of stitching.

step 18 copy

If you would like a second row of stitching, move your needle over 1/8 of an inch. These make a great house warming gift. I plan to give these to my brother – he’s just as bad in the kitchen as I am. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and thank you for reading! Happy Sewing!



You may also like


Jenn April 14, 2016 - 9:01 am

Gee whiz, and I thguoht this would be hard to find out.

V June 24, 2013 - 1:15 pm

Hi, could you tell please which stabilizer did you use?
I am looking for the same one exactly for a week!! can you tell where can I buy one exactly like this online? what is the name of if is is it a waffle tear away?
thank you.

Sarah June 26, 2013 - 10:05 am

Hi! For this I just used medium weight stabilizer. You can buy it by the yard at your local sewing supply store or you can buy it from us already precut: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/stabilize-it-9-x-12-5-medium-no-show-mesh-1-5oz.aspx <----Fantastic embroidery stabilizer. Especially since you'll have to wash and rewash your towels frequently.

V June 30, 2013 - 12:49 pm

Great, thanks a lot. 🙂

Elisabeth Keck May 11, 2013 - 10:31 am

I loved this tutorial it was written well the pictures were wonderful and as a beginner I felt I could do this project….. can’t wait to see more. what a gift you have for sewing and teaching have a wonderful weekend.!

Sincerely ,

Elisabeth keck


Leave a Comment