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.



Thank you so much. These are lovely. Also thanks for the link to the towels - those look GREAT.

Those are SO cute! I wish I didn't suck at embroidery (I guess I'll have to learn!)

Speechless. Love them. THANK YOU.

Thank you so much, these towels are wonderful! You are so kind to share these patterns.
Keep up the good work, you are such an inspiration to me:)

So adorable! and what a wonderful tribute to your grandmother.

Thanks so much for the pattern!

These totally remind me of the lovely tea towels my grandma always had! So fun.

I love them!! Thank you so much!

Alicia, these are lovely.

I taught English in Krakow, Poland for a few years, and have many of the dishes you are liking. You probably don't want to know this, but before the wall came down, in 1986, they were about a dollar per item. Even now, they are not very expensive. You might consider a trip. :) The Sukiennice in the town square is full of such loveliness. Also beautiful wool and wooden items. Your heart would go pitter-patter. And Krakow itself is so beautiful. It was not bombed during WWII, and retains its original medieval architecture. And the statue in the main square in front of the Sukiennice is of Adam Mickiewicz, a poet. A poet! It's a lovely, lovely city.

These look absolutely simplastic (Fantastically simple..ya like that?). Anyway, can't wait for the tutorial on the binding. I had such a hard time sewing binding onto a baby blanket I made for my niece. Beautiful job, Alicia. Can't wait to do these up!

These are lovely! I think the last one is my favorite. I have been interested in making my own embroidery patterns available but I struggle with image clarity. Yours look so nice and crisp.

so sweet! thanks for the patterns. I like the modern yet sentimental nature of them.

I love your cheese lady. Being a military wife stationed in Germany, it is required that I have a closet full of Polish pottery. Maybe I'll blog about it soon, but here's a tiny little taste because they make fabric too!

Wednesday is my favorite though.

I love the designs! The look of the black floss on the towels is great, thanks for sharing.

I hardly ever comment, but check in all the time. I should have commented yesterday, because your post made me so nostalgic. I must be older than you are, because your post about your grandma reminded me exactly of my great-grandma, whom I spent every school vacation with until she died. She wore cotton house dresses just like that. (What I wouldn't give to have those dresses to make a quilt out of!) and used to let me brush her long curly hair before she put it in a bun every day. She fed the birds her table scraps, gave me baths in her farm sized kitchen sink until I was at least 6 years old, and was just the most patient and lovely woman.
Somehow your tea towels remind me of her as well. Or maybe it's just the feeling of her.
Thanks for helping me to spend the time to think about all of my fond memories.

Thank you so much! It's like an early V-day gift!
My grandma didn't embroider, but my best friend's did and she still sends me one (usually redwork of ducks or kittens) on my anniversary! So I gratefully receive this in honor of Grandma Mary!

Wow, love these designs! I have some nice thick white linen that is just begging to be turned into dish towels... I like that you used binding on the edges----it's a nice touch...

These are beautiful. They evoke thoughts of the past. Thank you so much for sharing them.

Thank you, Alicia! So nice.

Forget the lightbox and just copy the designs in reverse with an iron-on transfer pencil.
I can't think why more people don't use them! Maybe they don't work? I haven't tried them yet, but you've given me reason to finally open the one I have in my sewing supplies.

Yea for Grandmas! These are really sweet towels.

Wow, you are very kind! I usually buy my dish towels at rummages and flea markets because I love the embroidery. Now I can try it myself. Thanks!

Oh my gosh, thank you A! I would have paid for them, truly, but you giving them to us gratis is so very nice. As soon as I get through my ripple blanket and baby blanket and tucker out from my crochet freakout, I will totally be taking on emobroidery. And I'll be in the same town as the sublime stitcher herself! :)

I didn't grow up in the same town as my grandparents, and my mom's parents died when I was pretty young, so I really miss that uber-strong connection to a grandparent that many people I know have. My strongest was with my dad's mom, who was ornery and pissed off most people she knew in her later years, but not me. I adored her.

Yesterday I was killing some time in the drug store downstairs and I picked up a bottle of Jean Nate, unscrewed the top and took a whiff, just to remember her a bit. And that was before I read your grandma nostalgia post! True story.

Thank you so much for the patterns for these lovely kitchen towels! I have done many sets of embroidered flour sack towels but it never occurred to me to bind them with calico. What a wonderful idea - I am so going to do this:) Thanks again.

These are amazing! wow and thanks*

Thank you!! I was bummed when I read you were going to put them up this weekend. I gave up shopping for Lent and knew they'd be sold out before I could get them. THANK YOU for giving away your hard work :)

I just love the clean simplicity of these designs. I will enjoy making these as gifts. Thanks a bunch. Your blog is delightful.

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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