I personally don't think we give enough thought to tea towels. After all they're on display in your kitchen day-in-day-out, hanging there looking all boring/pretty/average/tacky. I've got some nice ones, I've got some boring ones, I've got some tacky ones hidden in the back of the cupboard. But when I saw this little project on the Purl Bee I knew I had to have a go. I've made it simpler and cheaper by using ready made plain white tea towels so you don't need to worry about hemming. It's a great craft for practising your sewing machine skills. My anchor stitches got a lot neater and my lines straighter(ish). I might do a few more and play around with the stitches on my machine too.
Using your water soluble fabric pen and a ruler mark out your design. You can obviously do anything you like but I marked out mine as follows.
Small check Starting from one edge draw a vertical line 1/2 inch in. Then continue making stripes every 1/2 inch until your reach the other side. I found it best to measure the start, middle and end of each line so I could ensure it was more or less straight because my rule wasn't long enough to draw the whole line straight off. Then mark horizontal lines 1/2 inch apart along the other edge to form your check. Sew along each of your lines trying to stay as straight as possible. Don't forget to anchor each row at the beginning and end. (See notes)
Triple stripe border I put my first line about 3 inches up from the bottom of the tea towel. Then draw another line 1/8 and 1/4 inch above that first line - to make your first set of stripes. Measure 1/4 inch above your top line to start the next set of stripes in the same way. Then about 1/4 inch above the top line of the second set to make your third set. Repeat at the other end of your tea towel. Sew along each of your lines. Then sew a row in between your first and second and your second and third rows in each set of stripes. Each set will have five stripes.
Big bordered check Mark your first line 1.5 inches in from the edge of the tea towel and then continue making stripes every 1.5 inches. Repeat along the other edge to make a large check. On the first stripe of each edge mark 1/8 inch either side of the line. Sew along all your lines and in between the lines one the first stripe of each edge - you will have five lines to create your border.
Notes: *Don't forget you will need to wind on a bobbin that matches your main thread each time. *To anchor your thread start a little way from the edge of the fabric and sew backwards for a couple of stitches (check your machine manual for where your back button is) and then sew forwards over those stitches to anchor them in place and leave your stitching secure. Do the same at the end of your row. *Trim threads as you go along to stop them snagging up behind your work. *The marker washes away on a normal machine wash. If you're nervous about it test it on your fabric before you start.