Pleasant Kitchen Dishtowels

comments: 248


Here they are, my dishtowel designs! I decided yesterday to offer these little designs as a freebie, in honor of my sweet Grandma Ieronemo, and all of our grandmas, really. I drew things I have (or want to have, in the case of Sunday's Cheese Lady, ahem . . . someday) in my own pleasant little kitchen. Please click here to download the pdf (you will need Adobe Reader to view it).


I enjoyed making these so much. You could add color to these, or some further decorative stitches, but I really love the simplicity of simple black line art lately. Alas, for now you'll have to transfer them yourself using a light box or a bright window (they are not iron-ons), but I really just wanted to get them out there. I will probably start doing some embroidery kits and transfers later this year, when I get a little more caught up with things, I promise.


Should you need dishtowels, I've heard that these are very nice. I used the cheapies from the fabric store myself, but after seeing how much work went into these, I kinda wish I'd gotten some better ones. I trimmed all the edges straight with a rotary cutter before transferring the designs, 'cause they are so not square. Be sure to wash them (and your trim fabric, if you're going to make some binding to edge it all) before sewing. Or don't, and just get to work. They're just dishtowels, after all . . . ish. (See below.)


I used a Micron 0.1mm marker to transfer the images, and a water eraseable very-fine-tip fabric marker to transfer the text (so I didn't have to draw each dash; I just drew a solid line and then embroidered dashes with running stitch, washing the marker out when I was finished). You could use a fabric marker for the pictures, too, but I prefer the Micron myself. The line is so fine it can be covered with one strand, but I don't have to worry about it fading at all. I just find it easier to use in general. I have a pretty steady hand with it, but if you're nervous, just use the fabric marker. Be careful using an iron-on transfer pencil to trace these in reverse and iron them on; when you print them, you'll see that the design details are quite finely drawn (as in skinny) and I'm not convinced that one strand of floss would cover the transfer pencilmarks, as they tend to be a bit wider and don't wash out, at least when I use them. Yours might be different, but just be careful there.


I'm on the run this morning, but next week I'll do a little binding tutorial, and give you some resources for further embroidery patterns, books, and kits. I used simple backstitch and running stitch on these towels, almost exclusively, and those stitches are very beginner-friendly. My computer is not happy with me today and apparently isn't going to let me look up links here, and I'm moving too quickly today to fuss with it and reboot my computer seventeen and a half times like I did yesterday, agh.


I think my grandma would be happy with these dishtowels, but I can tell you right now that she would never in a bobillion years have attached binding to a dishtowel by hand, as I'm doing. (I'm doing a different calico that reminds me of her on each one.) I'd be a little conflicted about it myself if I didn't enjoy attaching binding so much. It's a fancier, more precious-seeming treatment, and not super practical. That's okay since I've now decided we'll only be looking at them, and not using them. Ev-er. Andy saw one of the towels in the kitchen last night and said, "Can I use this?" and I was suddenly, surprisingly, like, "Er . . . um . . . um . . . um . . . no, give it here." And I took it and put it in the living room. Hrmmmm.


I know. Not very typical of "oh-good-grief-who-cares!" me when it comes to functional crafting. I say use it, baby. But these make me want to not only clean the kitchen, but completely remodel it so that it is worthy of these precious floursacks. Sigh.



oh I do love these! May have to make them for myself!

Thank you so much for sharing these with us! Hooray for Grandmas!

These are just too cute! I'm thinking a couple of sets. One for my sister and one for me for Christmas!!

Alicia--I've been a long time lurker, but I had to comment on the wonderful dishtowels. I can't wait to get started on them! I think I'll have to have a serious discussion with my husband about the difference between special dishtowels and the ratty old ones we use everyday. Your Gram would be proud of you! Thank you for your terrific blog a well--peeking in here is treat for me.

Alicia dear, those beautiful designs are worthy of a wall at the it's perfectly fine to ban them from daily duty! They are exquisite, and so are you for giving them to us free for the taking. Time to go find 7 dishtowels!

Sally McEntire says: February 08, 2008 at 12:55 PM

I am especially fond of Saturday with the stove top espresso maker because that is what I use for my morning coffee. Thanks so much for sharing! I will definitely need a whole new house for these cute towels! Dishtowels are a good starting point, though.

got a magazine (country living) in the mail yesterday - SOMEONE's picture and an article was in there. hmmm?? i wonder who it could have been? YOU!! congrats.

These are very pretty. Your drawings are adorable. I love Tuesday with the heart shaped pancake mold. It looks just like the one you used to make your pancakes. A great tribute to all grandmothers. Thank you.

Carla in Alabama.

I WANT TO EAT THEM they are so cute. Wow. That would be totally gross but I still kinna wanna. xoxo.

thank you for sharing, alicia. they are beautiful.

thank you!

i may just do thursday and saturday because i cannot imagine doing seven before i poop out, and those are my faves :)

thank you so much for these! i am going to make them for MY grandmother. :]

Such beautiful work! You are such an inspiration.

How adorable! Thanks so much for the patterns!!

Perfect. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work with us!

They are so cool! Thanks. One question - I looked at the link as I have never heard of "flour sack" before. So can I just use any kind of sturdy cotton??? Thank you :)

This is such a wonderful idea. Thank you for kindly sharing your creativity. Sadly, both of my parents lost their mothers when they were very young, so we have no such treasures in our home. I guess this makes it more important to ensure that I have things to leave for generations to come!

Thank you so much for the patterns!!! You are the sweetest thing ever!!! I can't wait to get started stitching these! This makes me want you book more if that is possible! I can only imagine all of your goodies that will be included!!

So lovely, thank you for sharing the the wonderful results of your hard work and beautiful imagination x.

These are just my style! How did you know!!?! Actually, that is why this is my favorite blog. Ever. (And my mom has a few of those cheese people. She has an entire collection of German pottery that matches them...slightly different than the polish pottery many love so much.) Thank you, thank you! I can't wait to get started! :o)

These towel designs are gorgeous Alicia - thank you so much. Even though Friday is my favourite day of the week - Wednesdays towel design is my favourite image! Love that little bird on the egg cup :-}. Your Grandma would be proud!

These are so lovely! I can't wait to stitch these!

Thank you! These are amazing!!

I also found the article in my new Country Living magazine - so cool. (I even have the Country Living, April 2003 issue with your photo albums in it. I keep my old issues and was browsing through them one day and spotted your work.) :)

Thank you so very much. These are delightful, and I'll look forward to creating a set of my own!!

"Remodel the kitchen..." LOL Thanks for making these freebies. They remind me of my Nanny too.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


post a comment

About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at