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.



How dang cute are these? Thanks for sharing!
.....running off to find thread and a dish towel to make the pyrex one....

hi alice! thank you for sharing your patterns!

more power!


Those are beautiful! Thank you for the download. I am very new to the embroidery and these will be fun to do!

sweet towels....i was going thru my great aunt's embroidery transfers and found a few. visit my blog (in a couple of days) and see what I found.

Judith Roenke says: March 10, 2008 at 08:04 AM

I love your towels and want to make some of my own (which will also be hidden from use with my William Sonoma towels - for looking at only.)

I am learning to embroider using the video tutes here

Do you back your tea towels to cover the threads or just hang them so no one sees the messy backs? My embroidery looks terrible on the back side. I was thinking of sewing a panel of cute fabric or another tea towel to make it double think and cover the threads in back. ANy idea how the old folks/mod crafters do it? Thanks

Thank you so much for the dish towel download! My girlfriends will love these for Christmas. We are all cafeteria ladies and enjoy vintage kitchen stuff.

Thank you so much! These are darling!

These are so pretty! Thank you O much for sharing them!

Alicia -- You are a funny woman. I mean funny haha. Thanks for the beautiful school-house-charming designs and the laugh at the end of the post.

Great designs and certainly make the days interesting. Not a sewer myself, but I know just who in my family will enjoy these ideas.

I love this site.

Breathtakingly beautiful! These reminded me of my Grandma too. Thank you SO much for your generosity in sharing your lovely talent! :O)

Very creative. I like the cheese lady. It looks like Polish pottery that we make in Poland.

Thank you so much for offering them!
You are generous, for sharing with us.

These are so cute...thanks....I have put them on my freebie blog if thats okay...Khris

thanks for sharing! :)

I have just started doing hand embroidery and love the peacefulness of it. Does anyone have a pattern for veggie designs on dish towels such as "Cool as a Cucumber", etc.

oooh this is exciting! I am going to submit... :) Good luck to all the applicants, I can't wait to see who is chosen!oooh this is exciting! I am going to submit... :) Good luck to all the applicants, I can't wait to see who is chosen!

absolutely adorable. Thanks so much !!!

polish stoneware cheese lady, nice! can be this made in colors of actual pottery pieces?

I tried to find the dishtowels you linked to but was just directed to the front page of the P.O.S.H. site. Can you recommend a different type of dishtowels? Or a link for toweling fabric? This is my mom's only request for Christmas this year, so I wanted to get something nice that will last.

Rosalind says: May 24, 2016 at 08:20 PM

Hi Alicia,
Such a big fan. I made your peasant tea towels a long time ago. I wanted to make some more but the link is broken.
Any chance it can be put back up?

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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