“Towel Toppers!”

Those of us of a certain age probably remember towel toppers.  They were popular many years ago and, it seems, are making a comeback now.  My oldest niece saw some on Pintrest and asked if I might be able to make some for her.   I had never made them, so I went to YouTube (what did we ever do before YouTube?) and found a tutorial I thought I could modify for my niece’s taste. 

I modified the pattern given, making it slightly more tapered on the sides and decided on an inverted pleated towel instead of the gathered one suggested in the video.  Mine was a bit more difficult, but it fit my niece’s taste of clean lines and no “poof”.  Here are the ways in which my hanging kitchen towel and topper differ from the video.  I hope you learn something new!

After modifying the pattern sides slightly, I was able to cut two complete toppers from each of my fat quarters.
I found the terry cloth towel at Walmart and marked the horizontal middle so I would get two towels out of each one. After marking the center with a pin…
…I made a red mark on either side of the middle. This is where I stitched the towel to keep if from fraying.
I chose a narrow zig zag and stitched down each side of the middle. This keeps the towel from fraying after it’s cut.
Once my stitching was complete, I used my pinking shears to cut down the middle, between the rows of zig zag. I set the towels aside until I finished stitching the toppers.
Since I knew I would be making a buttonhole and attaching a button to the topper at the end of my sewing, I wanted to stabilize the fabric a bit. I put a scrap piece of no-show mesh stabilizer on the wrong side and then stitched the two layers of topper, right sides together.
I used a 1/4″ seam to stitch the topper together.
Once the topper was stitched, I trimmed away the stabilizer. On the left is before trimming the stabilizer and on the right is after trimming.
Instead of clipping the curves, I trim them with my pinking shears. This reduces bulk and gives the same end result of clipping the curves, but it doesn’t risk weakening the fabric.
Once the toppers were stitched, trimmed and turned, I measured the opening so I would know how much towel fabric needed to be pleated.
I needed to take up 8″ of towel to fit into the topper. I folded the towel in half vertically, then folded each side to meet the middle (right sides together). These were my midpoints for my inverted pleats.
I measured 1.5″ from my pin for my side pleats (3″ total pleat) and…
…1″ in from my center pin (creating a 2″ pleat).
Since I was sewing my pleats starting 1/2″ from the edge, I used my manual buttonhole foot, with the 1/2″ marking against the edge of the fabric. This meant I didn’t have to mark my fabric. I saved time and all my sewing was very accurate.
After stitching the pleats….
…I met the center pin with the center of the sewing and…
…stitched across the top of the towel, securing all the pleats in place. You are seeing the back of the towel. Inverted pleats are always right sides together.
I inserted the towel into the topper and sewed around the edges with my Bi-level Topstitch foot. This kept the topstitching equidistant from the edge of the topper, all the way around. Time for the buttonholes and the buttons!
Remember to chronicle what you are doing if you are deviating from a tutorial or a pattern!
The finished product! These eight finished towels took four fat quarters and four white terry cloth towels to make. The eight white buttons I used are all 3/4″ in diameter.

Happy Sewing!