Tea Towel Transformations

I’m a hunter and gatherer.  That’s a fun way of saying I’m an avid browser of flea markets, country stores and thrift shops.

I’m always on the lookout for lovely little finds.  Maybe you are too.

Whenever I come across a shop off-the-beaten path and tucked away on a country back road… well, I just have to stop and look around.

My latest stop at this rustic shop, inspired my tea towel transformations and this post.

tea towels set

I’ve written about Gather before and you can see more of this lovely country boutique and read my interview with the owner in an earlier post HERE.

During my last visit to this shop, one of the first things I spotted were these cotton tea-towels on the porch.

There’s just something about crisp, white linens and cottons that get me all goose-pimply with glee.

These tea towels had a little something extra too. Each one features a simple, elegant,  thought-provoking quote.

Some of the familiar phrases and quotes come from notables like Earnest Hemingway, Buddha and John F. Kennedy just to name a few.

typography tea towels

I couldn’t resist buying more than one (and they match the plain white flour sack cloths already  in my stash).

When I got home, I started thinking about the best way to put my new tea towels to good use.

As you’ll see throughout this post, several fun ideas came to mind.

Tea towels can be so versatile, as you’ll see throughout this post.

tea towels and rosemary

I think they would make gorgeous napkins… although, I’m not sure I really want anyone wiping lasagna off their hands with these pretty towels.

They still look great when folded, wrapped in jute with a twig of rosemary.

How awesome would these look on each plate at a dinner party?

If you’re feeling especially generous, these would make great dinner guest parting gifts too.

tea towel apron

Now, this is another tea towel transformation that doesn’t get any easier.

I had some twill ribbon on hand and I just machine-stitched a strip to each upper corner of the towel.

Voila. Instant apron.

Don’t you just love the simplicity of this?  Me too.

twill ribbon apron tie

Of course, you can always use pretty tea towels the way they were meant to be used.  Although, I rarely use pretty towels like this for drying dishes.

I definitely have a thing for finding new, inspired uses for them.

Oh, if you missed my previous post on framing a favorite tea towel, you can check it out HERE.

throw pillows

Another way to use tea towels is to turn them into throw pillows.

Since the towels are a little oversize, they make for equally gorgeous, oversize pillows.

Very casual and comfortable looking.

pinning pillows

I didn’t even have to buy any new fabric for a pillow backing.

This was a nice way to use a few of those plain, white flour sack cloths.

Pin right sides together and stitch all the way around the tea towel to form a pillowcase.

pillows from tea towels

Leave a small opening in the bottom of the pillowcase.

Insert pillow-form and close the opening with a slip-stitch by hand.

Always close handmade pillowcases along the bottom of the pillow.

That way, when the pillow sits upright, the hand stitching will always be concealed.

pillow tea towels

I typically have slightly darker bedding in this room which tends to make the space a little on the dark side.

However, the introduction of these white pillows and a white comforter really brighten up the room more than I initially imagined.

Just gotta keep the kids from dive-bombing the bed if I want to keep all this fresh, white bedding clean.

pillow quote

Are you wondering how my sweet kitty can be such a sound sleeper?

That’s because Clarice the cat is a faux feline.

Fooled you, didn’t she?

I don’t think my kids have ever fully forgiven me for not welcoming a real cat (or dog for that matter) into the house.

pillow set quotations

Here’s a closer look at the full quotes for the other two pillows I made.

I think it’s a nice change in this bedroom and I’m smitten with the trio of pillows stacked together against the headboard.

It’s all so crisp, sweet and simple.

Such inspiring words to live by.

home decor throw pillows

Thanks for stopping by.

See  you back here next time. 

I’m linking this Tea Towel Transformation post to the following:

Botanic Blue


  • sheia

    oops. my first comment must have disappeared.
    Love your tea towels. I have a stash…and hide some of them from my family. ha. 🙂

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks again, Sheila.
      You’re so sweet. Nope your comment didn’t disappear.
      It just take a moment to register.
      Enjoy your Sunday!

  • sheia

    I love to collect tea towels…and have a stash. Hidden from my family. 🙂 I hate to bring the pretty ones out to be used/stained. ha ha. I use them for blog props, and table settings.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Ha-ha. Yes, Sheila, I know exactly what you mean about hiding those favorite tea towels.
      I have the same fear of food and sticky hands staining them too.
      That’s exactly why I save my best for props-lol.

  • Botanic Bleu

    All of your ideas for using tea towels inspired me. I pinned several images so I can find them quickly. We would love for you to share this post at our new Monday Social live now on my blog.


    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Congrats on the launch, Judith!
      So excited for you.
      I just added this post to your lineup. Happy to join in the fun.
      Good luck and have a great week.

      • Botanic Bleu

        I was so happy to see this post linked up to Monday Social this morning. Your creativity always inspires me, and I know your ideas and stunning photography will also inspire everyone who sees it. Thanks for joining the first Monday Social.

        Thank you for your encouraging words and support.


    • Botanic Bleu

      Your Tea Towel Transformations is one of Monday Social’s features for last week.


  • Marie

    I love the freshness of these towels and all your ideas! So loved your faux cat too! How fun is that? I would like a pillow with that Irish blessing on it!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      I appreciate that, Marie.
      Love my little faux kitty. She’s very old and never makes a mess of anything-lol.
      My kids still resent her though because they want a real one.
      I’m glad you like the pillows. Hope you’re inspired to transform a few for your home.
      Have a wonderful week.

  • jae

    Great ideas. I especially love the look of the tea towel pillows and white bedding….so fresh and clean, but not formal or stuffy! And as always, your photography is a visual treat! Have you ever tried printing your own tea towels? thanks for sharing.

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks Jae.
      Actually, I’ve always wanted to print my own tea towels.
      I looked into silk screening several years ago but there were so many supplies involved, I never pursued it.
      Maybe there’s an easier way to print your own now. I think it would be fun. I’ll have to do some current research now that you’ve put that idea back in my head-lol.
      Have a good week ahead.

  • Eilis MyHeartLivesHere

    I love your definition of a hunter and a gatherer. Those towels are just precious, especially as pillows.

  • Jeanne

    Lisa – The tea towels are a fabulous find and made into pillows is so perfect…I actually let out an “ahhh” when I saw them. Gather is a true gem of a find too. Have a lovely week.

  • Deborah

    Absolutely gorgeous! I can see why you are smitten.
    The towels are a fantastic find and I love all your ideas for them.
    Happy week!

  • Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I cook best with an apron but I need one with a bib on it — I get VERY messy. If I have flour on my hands and can’t find my other tea towel I wipe them right on the apron. Gather looks like a fun place — sure wish it were close. I think I’ll save up a bunch of projects to do when I dig out my sewing machine. Have a great day – big hugs!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Marisa, please dig out that sewing machine-lol.
      I would love to see some of your projects one day.
      I’ll keep an eye out in between your tasty recipes for a sewing project to pop up one day (smile).
      Have a great week.

  • Sherry

    I love these! I am quite smitten with quotes. And pillows. And linens in general. What a clever idea. They make your bed perfect, complimenting your purrfect little kitty quite well. I was just thinking last week that I would love to see a post from Celebrate Creativity. Wishes do come true. Thank you. Have a wonderful week.

  • Rebecca

    Great ideas! And I loved your charming post on “Gather”! I would go in a minute if I were the least bit close…but I’m way down here in Texas. Sad face. That place looks like so much fun!

    • Lisa Tutman-Oglesby

      Thanks, Rebecca. It is a lovely little shop.
      I hope you can find a little gem like this tucked away somewhere close to you in Texas.
      Keep looking. I know you’ll find one.
      Happy Day

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