I came across a pack of plain napkins, and they called my name. "Embellish me! Add some color!" So I did! What, don't craft supplies talk to you too? Anyways, here's how I made this retro-inspired stamped apron and tea towel set!
Make Your Own Stamped Apron & Tea Towel Set
Shop this Project
Here's What You'll Need
Aunt Martha's Dinner Napkins in Natural
Tsukineko - Fabrico Fabric Pens in Vivid
Inkadinkado Cling Stamps - Kitchen Icons
Inkadinkado Acrylic Stamping Block
Iron and ironing board
Pins or Wonder Clips
Sewing machine and thread
Let's Get Crafty!
First, I prepped my napkins by prewashing and pressing my dinner napkins. Then I mounted one of my cling stamps on my stamping block, and evenly applied ink from my fabric pen onto the stamp. I love this mixer stamp! The pens are dual-sided, with one a brush tip and the other a bullet tip. I used the brush tip to add ink to the stamps.
You can apply your stamps randomly, in groups, in lines, however you like. For this first tea towel, I started in a corner.
Then I used a ruler to line up my next stamps, changing colors all the way to the opposite corner. I did the same with all of the stamps, all over the napkin.
For the stamps where I used black ink, I colored in some of the details with the yellow pen, using the bullet end of the pen. It's like a fabric coloring book!
Here's half of it done!
For my second tea towel, I mounted all four stamps onto my block and applied black ink. Then I stamped the whole group all over the napkin, rotating it back and forth.
Then I did more coloring with all of the pen colors in random combinations. Fun!
I took a third napkin and made an apron out of that. First, I stamped across one end of the napkin, about 2.5 inches from the hem. Then on the opposite edge, I formed a pleat. First I found the center of the edge, and folded in the napkin about 3/4 inches on either side to form sort of a kick pleat and pressed the creases. You can hand/machine baste the creases down or just pin/clip it.
To create the tie for the apron, you could do any number of things. The simplest would be to use something ready-made, like 2-inch twill tape, and sew it across the front of your apron. Then you wouldn't have to worry about any raw edges except for the ends, which you could just fold in twice and sew, and you'd be done! If you want to go fancier, you can buy some colorful binding. fold it over the edge, and sew it down, or make your own. I still have some of my jelly roll fabric left over from my Embroidered Patchwork Drawstring Bag (which would go well with this apron/tea towel set!). I took two colors, as one wouldn't have been long enough for a tie. I measured the top of the apron, after forming my pleat, and cut one of the strips to that length plus one inch for seam allowance. Then, I determined how much fabric I'd need from the sides of the apron to tie it on, and cut the other strip into two pieces. After that, I sewed the two pieces to both ends of the other strip. Here are my specific measurements to give you an idea: My jelly roll strips are 2.5 inches wide. The middle strip was 15 inches long (the top of my apron, with the pleat, was 14 inches). The two end strips were each about 22 inches (a jelly roll strip, cut in half). So add the two together and we have a 59-inch strip for the tie. You can adjust any of these measurements, but I wouldn't go any narrower than 2 inches.
Fold the long edges in about 1/4 inch and press (below left) then fold it down the middle and press (below right).
To finish the ends, open up the fold, and fold the end down about 1/4 inch (below top), and fold it back down the middle again (below bottom). Press that as well.
Now to attach the tie to the apron. Open up the fold, and center it onto the apron. Then envelop the tie around the apron so the top edge is inside the fold of the tie. Pin or clip down.
I sewed the tie closed as well as sewed it to the apron in one long stitch. First, start at the fold of one end of the tie, perpendicular to the machine. Stitch from the fold to the corner with about a 1/8 inch seam allowance (so stop at 1/8 inch from the corner).
I sewed the tie closed as well as sewed it to the apron in one long stitch. First, start at the fold of one end of the tie, perpendicular to the machine. Stitch from the fold to the corner with about a 1/8 inch seam allowance (so stop at 1/8 inch from the corner) (first row, left photo). Then, with your needle down and presser foot up, pivot your work 90 degrees and begin sewing the open edge of the tie closed (first row, right photo). Continue sewing, securing the tie to the apron. You should be sewing through the apron to the back of the tie as well. (second row, left photo). Finally, keep sewing until you get to the other end of the tie. As before, stop sewing 1/8 from the edge, pivot your work to close the short end of the tie, all the way to the fold.
All finished with the apron! I love the two different colors of the ties.
I had a little bit of the orange fabric left, so I cut it into two strips and folded them as before. Then I sewed the folds closed. After that, I sewed them to one corner of the tea towels to form hanging loops, sewing a rectangle with an "X" in the middle to make sure everything was secure. Along with the stamps, this really brought the whole set together!
Stamping the napkins was so fun. I love the colors!
This apron and towel set would also make a sweet housewarming or hostess gift for a retro loving friend (or should I keep them for myself?!).