Butterfly Towel Sundress


Children’s Corner Katina pattern

Using linen towels for sewing is not a new idea, but it is one which I think is worthy of repetition. The sundress Laurel is wearing is made from an Irish linen bath towel. Measuring 29″ wide by 42″ long, it is a generous size for a skirt front. These imported towels are such a bargain. Not only does the buyer get a lot of linen for a relatively small price, the extensive handwork is quite lovely.

The towel was cut in half, rendering two pieces each 29″ x 21″. Cut from Children’s Corner Sissy/Katina pattern, the size 4 sundress uses the embroidered half for the front and the plain half for the back. Scraps of linen from other projects were used to cut the narrow front and back yokes as well as the straps. Blue piping outlines the yokes.




The linen is a nice, cool fabric for our hot Florida weather, but it surely wrinkles.  Laurel had been playing in the yard, chasing her brother and running with our dogs when this picture was taken so the dress is more than a little wilted.

What a quick and easy project this was! With both the top and bottom edges scalloped, the towel skirt required no hemming. I did, however, take time to pinstitch over the machine scalloped hem. It is a nice touch.




Several years ago, I wrote an article for Sew Beautiful magazine using these towels for the projects. The towels were used to make a smocked bishop dress, a doll dress, pillow shams and curtains which lived in my guest room until recent redecoration. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I will quote sections of that article.

“Some prefer hours of productive quiet work with needle and thread, while others savor the effortless and prolific hum of a well-tuned sewing machine. But without exception, all stitchers sing the universal lament, ‘not enough time…..’

Bed and bath linens made in China offer a beautiful head start for heirloom projects. The towels pictured are especially well made. The shadow embroidered flowers and Madeira appliquéd butterflies are beautifully designed, perfectly executed and reasonably priced ($20), too. The fine organdy medallion is inset with a delicate hand pin stitch; the ends are finished with a gentle scallop. With the help of the nimble fingers of Chinese kindred spirit, a really special gift can be made in short order.”




The article goes on to explain how to use two towels to make this ruffle sleeved bishop dress. I do have a few of these towels left in my stash. Just go to “A STORE”  in the menu on the right.  If you are interested in purchasing one or two, drop me a note.

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