Friday, April 22, 2016

DIY Absorbable Un-Paper Towels ~ A Tittlemouse Tutorial


"When Mrs. Tittlemouse ventured to come out—everybody had gone away.
But the untidiness was something dreadful—"Never did I see such a mess—smears of honey; and moss, and thistledown—and marks of big and little dirty feet—all over my nice clean house!"
~ Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse
"She fetched soft soap, and flannel, and a new scrubbing brush from the storeroom. But she was too tired to do any more...
"Will it ever be tidy again?" said poor Mrs. Tittlemouse."
~ Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse

{Welcome to another edition of "Fun Friday" with Beatrix Potter!}

Poor Mrs. Tittlemouse indeed! She had been invaded by many unwelcome guests (of that un-thoughtful insect population) and was now left with quite a mess! However, she was a prudent little mouse and quite prepared. She simply walked into her stocked storeroom for the necessary housecleaning supplies. But no, dear reader!-- She did not reach for disposable paper napkins to wipe up those smears and smudges! She was a frugal little creature and used her handmade flannel (un-paper) towels. 

Did you mention that you buy paper towels every week? Did you want to streamline the budget? If so, follow along with Mrs. Tittlemouse's easy tutorial and you will be saving money in no time! We haven't purchased a paper towel in over 5 years and I must say it is splendid!


Supply List:

All you need are a few yards (or meters) of soft flannel (which is chosen because it is so absorbent), a pair of scissors, some sewing pins and a sewing machine (or needle and thread). The pattern we used was simply a regular piece of paper which measures out at 8 1/2 by 11 inches (which is near a common paper towel size). I also used a solid flannel on one side and my pretty print on the other in order to stretch the fabric I had on hand.


9 Easy Steps:

1. Gather your supplies (see list above).

2. Cut out your patterns (you will need a set of two pieces for each "towel" so you decide how many you would like to make).

3. Pin each set together with right sides facing each other (but leave a 5 - 6 inch opening so that you can get your hand inside to turn the fabric inside-out when you are finishing up).

4.  & 5. Sew around all four corners (with a 1/4 inch seam allowance) except for your "opening" of 5 -6 inches.

6. Now place your hand inside and invert your fabric to the right side out. You should now have both of your nice sides showing.

7. Iron down all your cloths and tuck in the opening seam area and pin the opening down in order to finish off the towel.

8. Now, do a zig-zag or fancy stitch around the entire edge of the napkin for a final finish.

9. Store in an easy to locate spot in the kitchen (mine are in a small plastic basket under the kitchen sink). 


These are great to use for those spills on the kitchen table and countertops (basically in areas where you don't want to use a "gross" rag from the rag bin). They are also nice for dusting and polishing furniture. Per Mrs. Tittlemouse, when you pair these with cloth napkins, you will no longer need to purchase paper disposables for your kitchen and that saves a mouse much money! 


Tittlemouse Tip:

If you are interested in doing this project, she would recommend preparing a stack of the "un-paper" towels in order for them to truly be a help in the household. If you make just a few, you will be tempted to purchase paper towels in no time.


You may also be interested in Mrs. Tittlemouse's bug spray recipe and her cottage rose pantry labels.


70 comments:

  1. How pretty! Thank you for the tutorial! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

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    1. You are most welcome! Have a wonderful weekend! :)

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  2. I am hosting an Earth Day blog hop today. This post would be a PERFECT addition! ;-) -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

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  3. Dear JES, What a lovely tutorial! I no longer use paper towels in my kitchen, but I'm afraid I do occasionally turn to my ugly rag bin ;) These would be much better. I love the material you chose for yours. How could anyone go wrong with roses? I will be making some of these when I am able to find some pretty flannel on sale.
    I wanted to tell you that I made your lavender cleaning products and cleaning cloths for a wedding gift. I added a homemaking book that I had purchased on clearance and some cleaning sponges and rubber gloves to the package, along with your lavender drawer sachets. I love how everything turned out, and it only cost around $10 for the entire gift (book, sponges, and gloves included). I wanted to thank you for your lovely tutorials and let you know that I had such fun putting everything together :) Thank you for all you do and for sharing with us! With love, Kelsey

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    1. Hi Kelsey! Don't worry, I would turn to my gross rags before I met Mrs. Tittlemouse too! That is the beauty of sharing with one another! And I strongly agree, you can NEVER go wrong with roses!!! Your lavender product gift sounds absolutely lovely! That is a great idea and what an affordable gift!!! If you happened to take a picture of it, I would love to see it all arranged! :) Love, JES

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  4. This is great ...I just bought more paper towels last night as I shopped and was wishing I didn't need to spend the money on something I will throw away. I will be doing this project soon. I did not know that flannel would be so absorbent.
    Thanks for the information.
    Have a blessed day dear JES....

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    1. Thank you Shirley! I hope this is a help to you! :)

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  5. What type of dusting product use not to stain cloths, and I'm assuming you have some special cleaner to get wiped up stains out of cleaning cloths. I would very much like to make the as I have a lot of flannel I could use.

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    1. Hi there! I am not too concerned about stains on these as they are in essence re-usable paper towels (or glorified kitchen rags).... I do hope to share some dusting product recipes soon though! Let me know if you make them! Being you are a seamstress I am sure yours will be lovely! :)

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  6. I need to do this so bad. Thank you for the tutorial and nudge to stop wasting paper. :)

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  7. This is a good idea, and much prettier than paper towels!
    Blessings, Leigh

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    1. Thank you Leigh! I think so too :)

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  8. Thank you for this tutorial, I though I I hit publish, guess not. I'm very interested in making these. What type of furniture polish do you use not to stain these towels and what type of cleaner for the towles do you use to get out stains after using to wipe up with. Ot are you using them only to dry Hands.
    Thank you
    Tonia

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    1. Hi there! I am not too concerned about stains on these as they are in essence re-usable paper towels (or glorified kitchen rags).... I do hope to share some dusting product recipes soon though! Let me know if you make them! Being you are a seamstress I am sure yours will be lovely! :)

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    2. I'll be sure and let you know when I finish them. Thanks for getting back to me. It took me awhile to remember where I saw them, I did not get an email with your reply.

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  9. Great idea, JES - and they are SO pretty!

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    1. Thank you Mary! Have a wonderful weekend :)

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  10. Adorable!! I wouldn't want to soil them! Lol! We actually don't use a lot of paper towel, but I do buy it every couple months. It would be nice to eliminate it all together! I think I'll give this a try! I just followed your pretty as a pinny tutorial the other week and made the most adorable clothes pins! I had scrapbook paper in a vintage rose pattern. Love! Well, I just stopped by during my cleaning break to see what you were up to! Glad I did! Next time I polish/dust my cupboards and furniture hopefully I'll have a rose patterned un-paper towel in hand! Have a good day!

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    1. How fun! I would love for you to email me a picture of your pinny-s! :)

      And yes, the first soiling of the "towels" is always the hardest!

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  11. Hello Jes,
    I can't tell you how much I enjoy you little blog. So much helpful information. Your kindness will be rewarded. I have some flannellette sheets that have a beautiful rose pattern and they do not fit our beds so I have now found such a good use for them. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

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    1. Hello Gail, It is very nice to hear from you again! And I thank you for the kind encouragement! :) Also, recycling out some flannel sheets that don't fit is a brilliant idea! You can make a nice supply with that kind of yardage.

      Love,
      JES

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  12. We also don't like paper towels and use rags only.(cut up t-shirts, old baby blankies, etc) I HATE to use paper towels! We buy about a roll every two months. This might sound yucky, but we discovered after quite some time that cleaning up dog or cat throw up (or little kid for that matter) is no fun with rags...yuck. Good to have paper towels on hand every once in a great great great while. Your towels blow my cut up rags WAY out of the water! Beautiful!! And yes, makes lots to really appreciate them! We use tons every day-as "hankies" as well. No tissues here either :)

    Thanks as usual, you're the best!
    Amy

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    1. Thank you for sharing Amy! I do also confess to having one paper roll on hand (1 purchase per year) to wipe out our cast iron pans.... Our rags also resemble yours! Half a sock, cut up shirts, you name it! :)

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  13. Your fabric choice is just darling!!!! I'm thinking some flannel little girl receiving blankets from a thrift store would make this a super thrifty project. Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Very clever! Yes, that is a great idea! Or like Gail above mentioned, a recycled flannel sheet in a pretty pattern! :)

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  14. JES, I'm always delighted by and amazed at the wealth of wonderful ideas you offer for thrifty -- and altogether charming -- home keeping. Your posts are beautifully photographed and written, and it's clear that much thought and effort goes into them. How often I've thought that your blog should be turned into a book. Have you ever considered this? Nancy D.

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    1. Hi Nancy, your kind encouragement means much and I thank you for taking the time to comment! A books sounds like a lot of fun but I really wouldn't have a clue at this point of how to begin something like that.... Or how much time and funds would be required... But, that is something that can be considered "one day" :)

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  15. I have just come across your blog and it is lovely and I look forward to visiting more often.
    blessings
    Page

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to visit Page and to introduce yourself! You are always welcome around these parts! :)

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  16. Yes! A book! A book! A book! Pleeease...😀

    Amy

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  17. Sweet friend, this is simply wonderful! And what perfect timing. Just YESTERDAY I was telling my husband about something I saw on Pinterest. It was a paper free kitchen and the lady had white wash cloths rolled up and place in apothocary-type jars. And then your post....Although I will say yours are MUCH sweeter {{smiles}}

    Thank you for inspiring all of us. Hugs!

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    1. Thanks Stephanie! Wash cloths are a great idea too! :)

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  18. These are so much prettier than paper towels! And our Hobby Lobby some very nice flannels, too.

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    1. I am sure you would find some lovelies there! :)

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  19. Great idea!
    We've been using rag instead of paper towels for a while. I like it much better. Though, it takes a little getting used to -- to not going looking for paper towels when there's a mess. So far old shirts have been the fabric of choice. I'm glad to know though, that flannel works well for absorbing stuff. When there's a great liquid spill, it's always a little perplexing what to do about that. (besides using a million rags!)
    Say, maybe you'd have an idea for this.
    What do you like to use for drying off food -- say when you have a dry a raw chicken before putting it in the oven?

    Thanks for the tutorial. I love your posts so much!!!
    -Christina

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    1. Hi Christina, I would use a kitchen towel or one of these and make sure to wash it in a hot water cycle with sanitizing properties (like some lemon essential oil or some kind of bleach or bleach alternative) at the same time as I do all my kitchen linens. Hope this helps! :)

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  20. I love this! I bet I could even make my own with this tutorial! Thanks for adding this to From The Farm, it's one of this week's favorites! Hope to see you again this Friday!

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  21. What a fabulously clever idea. I know I need some of these for sure!
    Thank you for sharing them at Shabbilicious Friday. I'm delighted to be featuring this project at tomorrow's party.
    Hugs ~ Kerryanne

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    1. Thank you so much Kerryanne! :)

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  22. I think these are a fabulous idea and I know I need to make these. Thank you for sharing this project at Shabbilicious Friday. I'm delighted to be featuring you at tomorrow's party.
    Hugs ~ Kerryanne

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    1. Thank you so much Kerryanne! :)

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  23. Those are so much prettier than any paper towel! I used to just use rags all the time. I only recently started buying paper towels, but it's already become a bad habit.

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    1. Yes, they are quite convenient but boy are they pricey! Perhaps you will make a stack of these! If you don't have time, simply cut up a batch with pinking shears and use those in the meantime :)

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  24. Jes, I love these to pieces! It reminds me of the soft flannel diapers I made for my babies back in the day. It was quite the done thing back then pre-disposables! Thanks for sharing at Five Star Frou-Frou last week. Will you join us again? Mimi xxx

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  25. Want to thank you so much for your exquisite blog and for sharing your incredible printables, will share them and enjoy them all. Happy weekend

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and share! :) Nice to meet you!

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  26. I've wanted to do this for a long time, but I struggle with getting the family to go along. I do have a question. What do you do about grease? That is one of my problems with rags. Then it seems to get everything greasy. There must be some solution. Thank you!

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    1. Hmmm.. Yes, I do admit to having one roll of paper towels to wipe out my cast iron pan... Other than that, the real gross stuff I would use a rag instead of one of these "paper" towels.

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  27. So pretty! I keep saying I am going to do this one day.... but one day turns into a week and then a month and then a year. I really need to get on this.

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  28. Another wonderful project. My pinterest boards have a lot of your projects. I hope to get to do some things this summer.

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    1. Summer is a great time to do these kinds of projects! :)

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  29. I love this going to make them right away. Thank you so much for sharing. I love your blog so much. Happy weekend with love Janice

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    1. Thank you so much for the sweet comment! I hope you enjoy making and using them :)

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  30. I've just discovered your blog....how wonderful! thank you for sharing all the neat things you post

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    1. Thank you Linda! So glad you took the time to visit and comment so kindly! :)

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  31. I just wanted to let you know that your un-paper towel tutorial inspired me to make reusable wipes for diapering my two yr old (and soon to be newborn.) We've always cloth-diapered (the soon to be newborn is #4 for us) but for some reason I had been hanging onto disposable wipes as easier. Of course, frugality has won out, and I can honestly say that the home-made wipes are so much better. I feel a little foolish for not having made them sooner. Also, I used an old flannel bed sheet with holes in it (cutting around the holes, obviously) to make the wipes. Doubly frugal!

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    1. YAY! That makes my day to hear! Thank you so much for sharing! :)

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    1. Thank you Annabel! Nice hearing from you my friend! :)

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  33. So glad to have the internet again so that I can 'visit' you once more! Wanting to make the transition with paper towels and napkins as well. Would you recommend flannel as well? I'll be honest that the idea horrifies me, lol! I just KNOW that they will become stained up with grease, tomato sauce and who knows what else! Cleaning cloths don't matter, but napkins, well...that's a different matter! They go on your table! I know they were used for generations and our foremothers made a go of it. I'm sure it is not really the big deal that it is in my mind. ;)

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    1. Sounds like some fun endeavors are heading your way! :) I like to use the flannel for the paper towels as they are more absorbent for spills, etc... However, when it comes to napkins, cotton is my choice... Using more bolder patterns on the fabric will help to conceal daily stains. I never take time to pre-treat our napkins for stains but wash as normal and so far, they are fine. Just don't use a light pale shade for napkins as you may become horrified at the results :) Tablecloths can be cut up to make lovely napkins too! There are many suggestions in these comments if you would like to peruse further. Happy homemaking, love, JES :)

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  34. JES, I used to use a ton of paper towels. Right now I have a stack of yellow dishcloths on my counter to use as "paper" towels. When they wear out or get demoted to the rag bin, I want to make your pretty flannel towels. Gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks Jean! These are very fun to use each time! :)

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