Hello Skip To My Lou community, this is Gussy of Gussy Sews! I’m super excited to be sharing with you today an easy sewing DIY tutorial, one that is perfect for creating a handmade holiday in your home or as a gift-giving idea. Joy is something I like to continuously cultivate — and especially with the upcoming holidays, having this cute tea towel in our home is a simple reminder to slow down a bit + relish more joy.

Let’s get started with this tea towel DIY!

All supplies needed for this DIY can be found at your local fabric store, and a few things you probably already have around your home. This project can be easily modified to spell a different word or showcase a different holiday applique element. I chose to spell the word JOY and made an ornament applique, but a Christmas tree or a wreath — even something to reflect Thanksgiving, would be fun!

Remember to use distilled water {available at your grocery store} in your iron — tap water will create rust + iron deposits.

Step 1// Iron your tea towel, making sure you pay extra attention at ironing out the creases:

Step 2// Since we’re making an ornament for our applique I used a coffee mug as my “bulb” template. In the upper right corner of the red/cream fabric {below} you can see a faint circular tracing. Use a pen or a fabric marker to trace your circle on the fabric. Carefully cut out the fabric circle and set aside:

Step 3// Repeat the tracing procedure on your second piece of fabric. Cut the circle out and set aside:

Step 4// You now have two fabric circles cut out. Remember from the first photo in this post {scroll up} one fabric circle is smaller than the other fabric print to create the ornament? Decide which fabric circle you want to become the smaller circle and carefully cut it. Below you can see I’m using the outer edge of the fabric as a guideline for creating the smaller circle, but you could also use a smaller mug or cup to trace a smaller circle. For this project I used the outer edge of the fabric circle and cut an even .25″ off. Continue cutting all the way around the fabric circle until you’ve cut all the way around:

Step 5// Place your two fabric circles on top of each other, making sure they are even circles. Using a piece of scrap from one of the fabrics used, cut out a small rectangular piece {about 1″ x .5″}. This will become the top part of your ornament:

Step 6// Next you’ll want to cut out your word. Make sure you draw your letters on the front-side of your fabric {for tracing the ornament, I traced on the back-side of the fabric}. If you draw on the back-side your letters will be backwards 😉 It’s OK if you need to re-draw a couple letters, making bubble letters is hard. Still need help? Consider printing the letters from your computer, then cutting them out + using the paper cutouts as a template for tracing the words on the fabric:

Step 7// Lay your finished applique on your tea towel, making sure to fold the tea towel in thirds beforehand. You’ll want to make sure your finished tea towel shows your stitched design in the center, so taking the time to arrange all the pieces where they belong first will save you time later. Once you lay your finished ornament applique on the teal towel, take a moment to make sure it’s centered between the left and right folds of the towel. Then place your applique words below. Pin everything in place:

Step 8// It’s now time to sew your appliques. I top-stitched with cream thread on the argyle print first, then switched my thread to red and top-stitched around the red floral print, making sure I stitched closely along the fabric edge. Don’t forget to top-stitch around the small, rectangular piece at the top. {Scroll back to the beginning of this post if you need a larger photo example.} Tip: don’t be afraid to use your hand wheel to do the majority of your top-stitching. This is a slow process, take your time:

Step 9// Repeat the instructions from Step 8 for top-stitching the word applique. Tip: sew slowly and be careful when sewing around the pins:

Step 10// Your ornament and word appliques are now top-stitched and are looking lovely as ever! 😉 Now it’s time to hand embroider the “metal loop” at the top of your ornament. Select a 10″ piece of embroidery floss and needle. {I used all the strands to create a thick embroidery design.} Thread your needle and begin stitching the “metal loop”, making sure to leave a small tail on the backside of your tea towel {at your start + stop points} for tying/knotting your embroidery thread:

Step 11// Carefully iron your finished appliqued tea towel. Then walk about your home, looking different ways to display your tea towel. Drape it over a festive metal basket, or consider a more-traditional decor style by hanging it on your oven door. Other adorable display option: hang the tea towel on a dowel/peg under a wooden shelf, near your front entryway, or on the dresser in your guest bedroom:

What word do you want to invite into your home this holiday season? Share with us below!

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xoxo, Gussy

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  1. This looks so cute, and so easy to make! A great idea for gift giving!

    And thanks for the giveaway!

  2. I love this xmas tea towel. Why did you not use Stitch Witchery to hold the appliques down? This has inspired me to come up with a applique for some autumn hand dish towels. Thanks for a great project.

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