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.



These are BEAUTIFUL!!! Thank you so much for offering them!!

They're lovely - your grandma would've been very proud, I am sure. Thanks for posting them. You could set up aFlickr group as I there'll be loads of them out there soon!x

O, Alicia, they are just as darling as sweet, but not too much. Nicely done! xo

Oh my! I love the monochrome aspect of these and the simplicity of the lettering. Just so GREAT! Thank you.

Those are adorable! Thank you Alicia! You have a fan of your blog even in Rome, Italy! :)

Thank you, they are beautiful, can't wait to try it.

Oh, so lovely, Alicia. And I can understand the conflict you feel about using them.

Oh, my! These are so pretty. Thanks for sharing! What a sweet tribute to your grandma.

Pretty ! i like wednesday best.
i just finished my 'millie' cardigan. come and take a look if you have a minute - she's super cute.

So cute!!!!! I love them, Alicia ! Makes me want new dishtowels for sure :) Mine are just BLAH.......have a great weekend!!!!!

Diane from Baltimore

oh! how darling!! :D

Alicia, those are really wonderful. What a loving tribute to honor your Grandma. Your talents never cease to amaze me.

Cynthia Granmo Riebe says: February 08, 2008 at 08:47 AM

LOVELOVELOVE these! I've said it before and I'll say it again: Alicia, you are a wonder! Thank you so much for this gift...I'm off to buy some floursack towels so I can get embroidering! (I was wondering what I was going to do this weekend!)

Your designs are quite lovely in their simplicity. And you are really very generous to offer them for free. Good for you! Bx

I love your dishtowels. I'd say that they are truly worthy of having a spot in a newly remodeled kitchen. Thanks for sharing your patterns. A toast to grandma's everywhere. *raises glass*

Very cute! I like how the designs are something you wouldn't see anywhere else. Good job on those!

Oh, Alicia!!! Thanks for your generous gift to us! (Despite my earlier whining about transferring designs, I will be happily tracing these lovelies!)

This is SO wonderful! One of my goals for the year is to learn to embroider. I bought a couple of how to books and my mother supplied me with all of my grandmother's floss. I've started playing around a bit, but this is going to be an excellent project for me to really begin with. Thanks so much!

Thank you so much. You are generous. I look forward to more I can purchase from you.

Alicia, they are wonderful, even if they're not transfers! :) So nice of you to offer them up at no charge... And I do like the binding very much.

Thank you! XO

Ha, ha! I'm so impressed that Andy asked before trying to use the towel. Truly a smart husband.

Your designs are fantastic - thanks for sharing!

I was just wondering how I was going to justify going over my craft budget to get these patterns, and here you're offering them for free. I think that is the sweetest, most generous thing today.

I thank you very, very much.

These are absolutely fantastic! THANK YOU!!! :)

Alicia, they are adorable! Thanks so much for sharing with us. I will download them and enjoy looking at them and will remind myself that I need to finish a few works-in-progress before starting anything new :-)
BTW...I got the new "Country Living" yesterday. Someone had given me a heads up that you were in there so I tore through and found you on page 50. Love the article and the pictures. But tell me, do you still use that pink iMac?

These are so wonderful - thanks for sharing with us! Maybe we could set up a flickr page to post our creations?
Our family has some weekday dishtowels from a grandmother - except it's centered around which household chore you do each day (laundry, baking, etc.)!

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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