to market, to market dishtowel

May 26th, 2011

Edited to add: It was brought to my attention that it isn’t actually Anthropologie who makes the Primal Cuts dishtowel, but a very talented indie designer Sara Selepouchin. She sells her butcher’s diagram dishtowels and many other amazing things at her shop, girls can tell. They are beautifully designed (the coffee one is my favorite) and professionally printed–definitely not a slap dash affair like mine.


handmade may from the long thread

Ellen asked me to do a little tutorial for her handMAYde month and I was happy to oblige.  There were some fabulous tutorials for weddings, babies, and kids, but this last week is for knock offs. Being the cheapskate that I am this was the week for me. I was perusing everyone’s favorite store to knock off and saw these dishtowels:


Actually, last christmas I wanted to silkscreen a set of butcher diagram dishtowels for presents, but that meant learning how to silkscreen, so the idea kind of fizzled. Sadly, I still don’t know how to silkscreen. I thought maybe freezer paper stencils would work, but then the images would loose a lot of detail. Iron on paper or ink jet transfer? Well then you’d have to find and buy supplies and wrestle with your printer. I wanted a quick and dirty project. So I went downstairs to my studio, rustled up some supplies and this is what I got:

to market, to market dishtowel:

a tutorial in 3 easy steps

to market, to market dishtowel tutorial



  • large embroidery hoop
  • flour sack towel
  • fine point fabric pen
  • image to trace (2 copies)

fabric pen

This is the fabric pen I used and it worked surprisingly well. I haven’t the faintest idea where I got it, but I’m guessing some crafty big box store. The flour sack towel I picked up at the grocery store a while back (3 for 5$). They shrink up a lot in the wash, so you should probably wash, dry and iron them before you start. The image might get all weird if you do it after.

tracing the image


1. fit your embroidery hoop on your towel where you want the image to go. Make sure to put the hoop on upside down–so the towel is right side up, but flat on the table.

image and copy

2. Then just trace the image. I found it handy to have another copy of my picture  I could refer to as I traced. The flour sack towel is easy enough to see through, but it’s nice to know exactly what the image should look like without picking the towel up to peek under it.

3. Heat set the image with your iron. And that’s it! Quick and dirty–and pretty stylish too.

to market dishtowel hanging up



Posted in tutorials.

22 Responses to to market, to market dishtowel

  1. Shauna says:

    I love it! We had a framed picture of that in our kitchen growing up, it brings me back to my childhood, and who knew it would be so easy?

  2. cpcable says:

    I absolutely love this! Even more so, I love how easy it is…

  3. Lili says:

    Genius! I love it.

  4. cal says:

    very impressive results! so satisfying when you can just whip something up with no new shopping or learning involved… that’s the upside to having a well-stocked craft room ;n)

  5. Ruth says:

    Oooh! What a fab idea. I might have to make a few of my own……

  6. Eat your heart out, Anthro. I like your way better.

  7. erin says:

    smart girl, you! it’s awesome.

  8. Peggy says:

    Umm I LOVE that towel! And to think I have a stack of flour sack towels just WAITING for me to do something with them. Thank you so very much for this idea!!

  9. ellen kelley says:

    Fantastic. I was going to preface the word Fantastic with another F word, but caution is the better part of valor and old ladies shouldn’t use the eff word. ..and of course, I never do. Ha!

  10. k a t y says:

    it’s just not fair. you always have the great ideas.

  11. kris says:

    this is so awesome!!! i think i need to whip some up for my Hubby and his friends!!

  12. Kimberly says:

    Amazing! This is such a simple, clever idea – thank you so much for sharing this tip with us.

  13. Jenny says:

    Love them! I can’t believe you did that with a stinkin’ fabric pen! I’m totally doing this. Thanks for the tutorial~

  14. Deanna says:

    What a great idea – I never thought of using a fabric pen – this opens so many doors!! I’m going to whip several up right now for teacher appreciation gifts!!

  15. Holly says:

    you are my low-tech hero.

  16. Mandi says:

    Awesome! Can’t wait to get start.BTW made the Awesome bag, it is awesome!

  17. Sascha says:

    Well, aren’t you just all that. Pretty nifty that technique. I may try it on a linen dress for Luca. Don’t worry, no pig butchering for my little girl. Something a little more palatable for a 7 year old.

  18. Sue James says:

    MARC HETU ” ET” with DI YOUNG!

  19. Erin says:

    This is great! I love it. :)

  20. End product aside, I never even knew these pens existed! Thanks for the wonderful ideas, on your wonderful, wonderful blog.

  21. jen says:

    so very brilliant; like your blog.