I hate drying dishes, and will take washing up over drying any day. Plus some tea towels are just too pretty to be used for such menial chores!
So I've come up with 6 alternative uses that will give your tea towel the respect it deserves. I'll be using my green vegetable print and bright pink flower power tea towels to show you. If you'd like to have a closer look at them, you can see them here.
1. Use it to wrap presents
A tea towel makes beautiful reuse-able gift wrap and you'll be giving two presents in one. Here are a couple of really easy ways to make your gifts look amazing.
For a bottle: Put your tea towel down with the long edge in front of you (landscape). Place the bottle in the centre, then fold the long front and back sides up against the bottle. Next, fold the left and right short sides up, pleating the excess fabric as you go. Then hold it in place by tying a piece of ribbon around the neck in a bow, letting the points of the tea towel fan out at the top.
For a book/box: Once again, put the tea towel patterned side down in a landscape position and place the present in the middle. Next fold the back edge over the gift, followed by the front edge (you can fold this under once more if it's too big). You want them to meet in the middle so the join is hidden at the end. Then fold the right and left sides in to the middle, bunching it up as you go. You can then tie a ribbon in a bow around it to hold it together.
2. Make it into two placemats
This one is really easy! Just cut the tea towel in half (where the ruler is in the picture). Then fold under and iron 1cm of fabric along the raw edge. Fold under again, iron and sew along it so that all 4 sides have a nice hem. Do the same with the other half of tea towel, and you've got two big placemats!
3. Make it into a cushion
How about a cute mini cushion? Just fold the tea towel in half with the patterned side together, then sew a line around the left and top open edges. Turn it the right way out, fill with toy stuffing then hand stitch the remaining open side together.
5. Line a tray with it
Jazz up a boring tray by folding the tea towel to fit and using it to line it. It will keep your glasses more steady when you're carrying it, catch any spills, and look pretty too! It also looks really nice lining a bread basket to keep rolls warm.
6. Make it into a tote bag
You will need to make 2 straps or handles out of a fabric of your choice to add to the tea towel. Or do what I have done here, and cut some ready made ones off an old tote bag.
Have the tea towel with the patterned side down, in the landscape position (photos below). Fold over about an inch of the top edge towards you and pin. Mark the centre where you will be folding it in half (where the ruler is in the photo).
We will now pin a handle to the top of each half. Place each end of the handle underneath the fold at the top (with the rest of the handle below). Space them out evenly, pin in place, then sew a line of stitching at the bottom of the pink folded strip to hold them in place.
Next, fold the handles upwards, pin them flat against the pink section, and sew a line of stitching right across the top edge.
Then all you need to do is fold it in half with the patterned side together, pin, then sew together around the side and bottom edges. Turn it through, and you have a tote bag!
6. Frame it
Last of all, why not use it as a piece of art by framing it and hanging it on the wall. And never dry the dishes again. Wouldn't that be great!