Update old towels with scrap fabric bias binding

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Today I am super excited to share with you how I have updated my scrappy towels, giving them a new lease of life with scrap fabric bias binding. But first today is the beginning of waste week 2017, I am proud to be a blogging ambassador for zero waste week.

Why? I make no secret of how I like to reuse and use what I have for my creativity, I am passionate about trying to use what I have rather than using more of the worlds finite resources. Spirituality and faith are not something I talk about (it’s personal) but it is at the core of who I am and therefore impacts how I perceive the world. I believe we each have our own responsibility as to how our lives impact the world. We need to look after our world for future generations. Zero waste week focusses my mind on waste, on what we throw away as a family.  If you are inspired to find out more visit the home of zero waste week, you will be sure to find inspiration.

This week I will be blogging with a focus on zero waste week. Today is all about make do and mend. As you can see this towel is very frayed. I am going to share with you how you can update it with scrap fabric bias binding.

 

 

 

Are your towels looking a little tired, frayed around the edges? Learn how to update them with scrap fabric bias binding. #scrapfabricbiasbinding

Are your towels looking a little tired, frayed around the edges? Learn how to update them with scrap fabric bias binding. #scrapfabricbiasbinding

How to make scrap fabric bias binding

This tutorial is broken down into sections, I suggest reading to the end before you start.

Let’s start by ironing your fabric scraps. Sort them into pieces with the grain running straight.

Pin right sides together along the grain, then stitch. 

Press open the seams on the wrong side.

Cut your fabric on the bias. As my cutting mat does not have bias marking as a guide I have created a paper guide by simply folding a right angled piece of paper in half. The original edge is placed along the grain, the folded edge is your bias guide.

Cut strips along the bias  1 3/4″ or 4.5cm. I started with a cutting mat and rotary cutter but changed the method to tailor’s chalk and scissors due to the limited size of my cutting mat. 

Join your strips, place your strips right sides together at right angles. Sew diagonally across from top left to bottom right (as per the pin).

Fold the outer edges in. I have used a bias binding tool, pull the fabric through and press. There is a knack to this, the more you do the easier it will get. Spray starch can help the folds press good and strong!

 

How to edge a towel with scrap fabric bias binding

Calculate the volume of bias binding required for your towel. Measure the edges of your towel, my towel measures 182 by 41cm. Therefore I need 182 + 182 + 41 + 41 + 5cm – the extra 5 centimetres is to be on the safe side and to allow surplus for the join.

Open your bias binding folds out, pin the raw edge along the edge of your towel.

When you reach the corner fold your fabric at a 90 degree angle away from your towel. This will give you a diagonal 45 degree angle at the corner.  Press with your finger so that you form a crease, then open out.

Sew along your fold until you reach the 45 degree crease line, back stitch and finish your threads.

Fold your tape to create a 90 angle, with your tape running down along your towel’s edge, pin and then stitch.

Continue around until you reach the starting point. Fold your bias binding so you have a neat folded edge underneath your first piece of bias, stitch over.

Fold your bias binding over to the other side. Pin from the front in along the seam of the towel and bias binding, ensuring you are holding the bias binding on the back. At the corners fold so you form a neat diagonal as on the front and hold with a pin.

Stitch all round along your pinned line. One transformed towel…. I love the result.

Personally, I have had a towel shall we kindly say borrowed from the side of a swimming pool, never to be seen again…. I am trusting no one will dare borrow my unique towel. I’m tempted to edge all my towels whether they are fraying or not! If you love using fabric scraps check out my fabric scrap clutch tutorial.

Are your towels looking a little tired, frayed around the edges? Learn how to update them with scrap fabric bias binding. #biasbindingtutorial #scrapfabricbiasbinding

What can you make do and mend at the beginning of zero waste week?

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18 Comments

  1. Donna Faye
    September 4, 2017 / 12:00 pm

    GOOD MORNING VICKY! You must have known the state of my towels! Yep, gonna try this right soon. After I showered this a.m. I was concerned for one of my favorite towels as I dried off. The folded sewn edges on the long sides were completely worn off, yet the two shorter ends are holding strong. It is not easy to get towels that please me, they must be cotton (some aren’t!), not overly large (wasteful of detergent and water), not too small, and if I had my druthers I like for towels to be striped. Well! To each their own! So… as soon as this 98% perfect towel comes off the clothesline I’m going to try your Vicky-Technique! Thank you.

    • Vicky
      September 4, 2017 / 5:47 pm

      I love your description of a perfect towel Donna – enjoy your sewing:)

  2. Kathy E.
    September 4, 2017 / 3:37 pm

    This is such a great idea! I have several bath towels still in good condition, but the edges are fraying like your photo. I also have scraps! I need to give those towels a little make-over! Thanks for sharing!

    • Vicky
      September 4, 2017 / 5:46 pm

      You are welcome Kathy, so pleased you like the idea:) My towels are over twenty years old, it’s great to give them a longer lifespan.

  3. September 4, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    Vicky, I LOVE this idea! I’ve sewn a zigzag over towel edges when they’ve begun to look worn, but this is so much prettier than that. Thank you!

    • Vicky
      September 5, 2017 / 10:48 am

      So pleased you like the idea Michelle:)

  4. September 5, 2017 / 8:36 am

    I LOVE this idea, Vicky! Not only because our otherwise acceptable bathroom towels are getting mangy around the edges, so this would save them, but I can also picture using just one color per towel to help keep them straight so members of the family don’t end up using each other’s towels. You make a good point, too, that nobody could ever “accidentally” mistake your pool towel for his own! And great explanation of binding the corners! Pinning and sharing! 🙂 Lisa

    • Vicky
      September 5, 2017 / 10:48 am

      Thanks Lisa – I love the idea of a colour per person. Have to admit I have “lost” a towel twice:( hopefully no more!!

    • Vicky
      September 6, 2017 / 6:33 am

      Glad you like the idea, its fab extending the life of an item in a fun way.

  5. kay webb
    September 5, 2017 / 5:36 pm

    I have been doing this for years. I also cut up towels into wash cloths and bind the washclothes. People talk about my towels and washcloths. Sometimes I send them home with my houseguests. They are so pretty. I cut bias tape without a maker and it works just as well. Press over, then press each side to the middle. Sew as usual.

    • Vicky
      September 6, 2017 / 6:35 am

      I have to admit it was the first time I have used a bias binder maker, purely due to the quantity I made!! How lovely to send home with your houseguests:)

  6. September 6, 2017 / 2:26 am

    Great idea! I never feel right giving up on old towels, when they work perfectly fine. This is a nice way to give them new life.

    • Vicky
      September 6, 2017 / 6:39 am

      Thanks Reece:)

  7. September 6, 2017 / 7:54 am

    I had a towel that looked just like yours, and I have to admit I just zigzag stitched it back together because the rest of the towel was nearly new and it would have been a crime to ditch it. But next time I am going to use this idea…. no one will ever know that it was wearing… this looks like an intentional upgrade. Well done.

    • Vicky
      September 6, 2017 / 10:17 pm

      It’s lovely to hear you didn’t throw your towel away:) I hope future generations appreciate resources and don’t waste them.

  8. September 25, 2017 / 7:31 am

    This is both functional and pretty – I love it. I am a failed seamstress but this winter I have set myself the challenge of doing some form of sewing starting with turning a torn duvet cover into hankies. It may be basic but it represents a big step for me. Wish me luck! #GoingGreenLinky
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  9. LaNell
    September 28, 2017 / 12:48 am

    I love to see people doing what they can to stop waste. I am a Senior Citizen and was taught “Waste Not, Want Not” by my mom who came to adulthood during the depression of the 1930’s and was very frugal the rest of her life. When I was small she made my dresses out of pretty printed feed sacks. Then when I became a teenager she converted men’s dress slacks into straight skirts for me. Keep up the good work, girls!!!

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