Sunday, January 6, 2013

Free Washcloths!


Yup, I made 32 washcloths yesterday in about an hour and they were free! I love things that are free! You can do this too…all you need are a few supplies you probably have on hand!


A few old towels…I wait until I have 3-4 tattered towels.  These were all past their prime, some with holes, all of them with frayed edges.


You need a cutting mat and a rotary cutter, and a ruler or square.  I use a 10.5 inch square and cut all around it.  It’s not as easy to use a longer ruler, because I have to cut around holes and am not usually cutting a straight down-the-towel line.


I cut all around the square…I can usually get 6-8 washcloths out of a single towel.


I will cut the grooves at the ends of the towels too, adds some interest to the washcloth (probably putting in too much thought here, so just bear with me). Plus I can get more by getting that close to the edge!


Now this is messy work, there are lots of fuzz bits that appear when you start cutting a towel!


Now there is a great “side effect” (I can’t help using that term, I am a nurse!) of making these….you get lots of small pieces of towel that are good for things like staining furniture, cleaning yucky things (you can just toss them when done), and various other messy projects!


Now drag your tired rear end up to your sewing room and there you will need a sewing machine (I used my serger, but you can also use a conventional sewing machine with a zig zag stitch—just use a medium width close stitch to finish the edges).  I used Woolly Nylon thread that wears well and has a bit of “give” to it. 


I have also used regular old Coats and Clark sewing thread too, works fine!


So next I serged around the edges, rounding the corners as I went.  At the last corner, I rounded and then serged off the edge, leaving a tail of thread about 4-6 inches long.


Here’s my pile beside the sewing machine.  It seriously took less than an hour to make 32 of them using the serger…the regular sewing machine and the zig zag stitch would take a bit longer.


I stacked the washcloths with the thread tail on the same side, and used Fray Check to keep the thread from raveling when I washed the cloths.


I then wove the ends of the thread underneath the stitching to further keep them from raveling.  By the way, I have been making my own washcloths for probably 5 years, I have never had the stitching at the edges ravel.  I used rayon thread once that broke on a few of the washcloths so I haven’t used it again.


And here’s the finished product! I like how they are all exactly the same size so they stack neatly.


It seems like the cheap washcloths are about $3 each…so that’s about $96 worth of washcloths free!!  Did I mention this project didn’t cost me anything and was free??


I am linking to some of these great parties!



Sophie Belle Designs said...

What a really great idea, I will definitely give it a try the next time I look at the older of my towels. Thanks

LilyWhite said...

Great way to save some $$! Link this on up to our blog hop!
xoxo, Jordan

Unknown said...

Thanks for the idea! Gotta try this!

Kathleen said...

I need to do this. I just sorted out and organized my hall closet and it seems like I have more nasty towels than nice ones. We use the nasty ones for the dogs when it's wet outside but I think I could take some of the nicer ones and make washcloths! Thanks so much for sharing this idea with us!

Amanda said...

This is a great way to save money! My mom always does this. I only own two towels, so can't be cutting them up. What would we dry ourselves with after the shower? :)

Unknown said...

I love this! I wish I had a serger to do it with. I might give it a try when we get new towels (soon). I have made cloth "papertowels" out of a white flannel sheet set we didn't need. I use them in the bathroom where all the kids wash and dry so they're not using the same damp towel and spreading germs...I just keep a little basket in there for them to toss them into for the laundry. Works great and I don't spend extra money on paper towels.

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Great idea. I used to make smaller towels out of worn out larger towels using a serger too. Fun times.

Jill said...

Brilliant Ellen!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a fabulous week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success

Anonymous said...

And those wash cloths are pretty too.

I am a Registered Nurse also.


Unknown said...

Cool Idea! I've saved a couple of old towels for the same idea, nice to see someone already done it and have a few tips! That saves me from the beginners mistakes:-) Have a nice week!


Helen Handley said...

Love this idea- I was just thinking our face cloths were looking a bit gross. I will try it! Popping by from Keeping it Simple. I blog over at

All Things Fee said...

Hmmm. Perfect timing! I was just going to donate some old towels since I am renovating the bathroom! I may have to start cutting them up!

Anonymous said...

Excellent idea! What great upcycling. ~Kelly

Fluster Buster said...

What a good idea. I saw your link on Serendipity and Spice. I would love for you to come by and share your creativity with my friends @

Robin@ Fluster Buster
Fluster Muster Linky Party - Wednesdays

MJ said...

Great idea! And they all look so neat, very impressive :) Even with a rotary cutter I can be abysmal in cutting straight LOL. Thanx for sharing!

Rebecca from Who Needs a Cape? said...

What a frugal and crafty idea! I have loads of towels I could do this with. Thanks so much! I found this on Flour Me with Love's Mix it up Monday party.

Domesticable said...

What a way to be resourceful! They look great.


Gina said...


I found your blog on Ladybug Blessings! Imagine my surprise when I see you are from Columbia, Missouri. I work in Columbia, Missouri! SMALL WORLD!

Gina said...

Come visit my blog if you want! I'm at

Great to see another blogger from my area!

Danielle said...

Great idea! Hopped over from Not Just a Housewife! Have a fabulous week!


Kristen said...

this is why I need to get a serger! haha Thanks so much for linking up to Handmade Tuesdays @ Ladybug Blessings.

Lisa @ Flour Me With Love said...

This is such a great way to use those old towels! I'm featuring it today...thanks so much for sharing at Mix it up Monday :)

Unknown said...

I love to save money. It's like a game to me. This is such a great idea. I'd like to feature this in February.

We may have met by chance...but we become friends by choice.

Rebecca @ Herons Crafts said...

This is AWESOME! What a great use for old towels - and I love that it is free! Thanks for sharing! Hope you are having a fantastic day!

Andaira said...

Creo que esta tarde voy a hacer lo mismo con mis viejas toallas....y seguro que me ahorro algunos euros...
Gracias por compartir!!!

Unknown said...

This really is a great idea. I will have remember this. I usually make rags out of old towels.

I'm having a GOOGLE + Social hop. I'd love for you to hop on over, grab a button and link up your Google +. If you don't have Google + it's ok, come link up your blog or favorite post.

I'm also looking for Pinterest Pinners to feature every week. If you are on Pinterest and are interested in being featured come link up! Who knows you might meet some other great pinners and gain a few great ideas.

Daniela @Frugal Aint Cheap said...

that's a great way to make the most of what you got!

Elise Engh said...

This is great! Thanks for the tutorial. I've had some old towels cut up for a while but didn't know how to keep them from fraying.

Anonymous said...

What a great way to upcycle! Not only do you save money in the cost of wash clothes, but you didn't throw away old towels. Thank you for the share!

Stuff-n-Such By Lisa said...

What a great idea Ellen!
I love this and I need to do it, because I have SO many towels...many which are old and worn out, but I hate to throw anything away, so this is a perfect solution!
I saw this project linked-up through the "Shine On Fridays" Link Party.
Lisa H.

Laurie @ Simply Creating Home said...

What a wonderful way to repurpose my old towels! I need some new washrags! Thanks so much for the tip.

Kathryn Ferguson Griffin said...

That is such a great idea! Thank you for sharing this at the Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Hope to see your prettiness again on Monday. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

Marissa Deen said...

Now that is smart. Pinning! :)

Jessica @ A Humble Creation said...

Brilliant! Thanks for taking the time to share your tutorial, too. I've got a stack of ratty towels...but they're also quite useful for kid and dog mishaps!

Unknown said...

Um, that is a genius idea. I need to use some of our old towels to make these. Seriously - genius. Love it.

Seaweed and Raine said...

Now that's a thrifty thought! Just curious how such old towels could be so fluffy looking... do you tumble dry them?

Unknown said...

ohhh good good good idea! Thinking I may have to look for clearance towels with kids themes and make my grandkids up a bunch. Some of those clothes for kids that are 'famous characters' are EXPENSIVE!! so thanks for the idea!!!

Bobi Jensen said...

Great post! Wish I had a serger :)


Diana of Diana Rambles said...

Thanks for linking up!

Christy said...

I have mad sewing skills, how come I never thought of this? You are so smart! Thanks for sharing:)

Unknown said...

I have made my own washcloths for years by cutting them out of old towels. {that's what my mom does} However neither of us was smart enough to think of sewing around them. So you end up with frayed and stringy clothes after a while. Thanks so much for sharing! This is wonderful.:)

Katie said...

This is so smart! It's one of those "well that makes complete sense, why didn't I think of that?" Thanks for turning on the light bulb in my mind!

JoAnna said...

I like that flannel sheet for paper towels idea. I really like that. Makes me want to buy some cheap flannel sheets!

Marti @ SewLicious Home Decor said...

That's clever! I've cut up old towels before to use as rags, but never thought to sew up the edges! I'd love for you to participate at Saturday SHOW-licious Craft Party that is still open!

Happy Sewing!

Hagrids Mom said...

Just saw this today but will be looking at older towels now - I work with handicapped kids (in St Louis Mo) and frequently need washcloths! The cheap ones in the stores are such a waste of money and fabric. Even at thrift stores they are not cheap. A towel will certainly be nicer and be more value for the money. I also make bibs for my slightly older kids with hand towels and ribbing. They can't get them off and they are so much more absorbent. Good to know the size and woolly nylon tips - thanks so much for sharing!!