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 they are so family would probably grab them to clean up dog water spills and various other tasks..........

Thanks so much, Alicia! Those designs sure will brighten up the kitchen every day of the week!

Just downloaded the patterns - I LOVE them, I would have paid money for them!! Can't wait to start stitching - I love that they are not your typical patterns - yet still cool and a little vintage.

thank you for this...

The designs are wonderful, and cheese lady is my fave! Thank you for being so generous in sharing your patterns.

wow! these are beautiful - everything about them. thanks so much for your generosity.

Oddly enough, I was just thinking about embroidering a set of tea towels! These are delightful!!

These are wonderful and lovely! Thank you so much!

Thank you, thank you, Alicia!!! Can't wait to get started on this gorgeous embroidery project. Love your idea to add calico binding. Perfect.

You dont need another person telling you how great these are so thank you very much for sharing them. This is the first kitchen design set that I have liked enough to make a set for myself. Great work!

Hooray!!! THANK YOU!!! what a wonderful Valentine treat for me to find this morning. They are just lovely!

These patterns are more than adorable, they lend easily to other projects, I thought of aprons,pot holders and a little kitchen quilt.thank you!!!

Faylene Keep says: February 14, 2008 at 10:24 AM

I just have to say your kitchen towels are soooo lovely. I liked that you finished them off with bias tape. Thank you for sharing these lovely inspitations.

These are so beautiful! I love changing my dishtowel each day, what a great idea to add something special to the process! Thank you for the inspiration!

Thank you so much for sharing your creativity- I plan on making these as Christmas gifts for the women in my family (I know Christmas already, but...)

I can hardly wait to get into this project.

My mother-in-law and I have been looking all over for great dish towel patterns- these are perfect: Classic, Simple and Free - As my grandmother would say, "If that don't beat all!" Thank you for making your spot in the world more beautiful!

Beautiful! You are truly an inspiration for me to work more diligently at my crafts! Thank you for your lovely designs. It has been a long time since I've done embroidery but I am looking forward to these. I even have a recipient in mind! Thanks for sharing these towels and each day on your blog. I always look forward to reading it!

I agree totally that it would be very hard to use these. I started embroidering some tea towels for a friend about a year ago and I found that after the hours and hours of work (filling in a bird's wing with a feathery stitch!) I couldn't bring myself to imagine that it would actually be, like, used in a kitchen!

But the designs are awesome -- thanks! I'm going to write about them on DIY Life some time next week.

These are so the Italian coffee pot (lived in Italy 7 years)...the Polish Pottery girl...owned quite a bit of it at one time...these are such cute drawings...thank you so much.
What a blessing.

I hope it is okay I featured this post on my blog today....
These were just to cute NOT to share.

Thank you! These are lovely!

Yes, these are so nice! Thanks for sharing.

I just posted recently on my passion for Polish Pottery here
I LOVE IT! "Sunday" is a Polish Pottery cheese lady - I must make these for myself, and my Polish Pottery shopping partners from yesteryear! Thanks for sharing!

Thank you Thank you Thank you! I ti so much fun and I LOVE your drawings!

I had to download these because of the moka! We love ours. Thanks for giving them out as a freebie. They are awesome!

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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