Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Little More Green... faux paper towels

Yeah I know that sounds kinda weird... faux paper towels?

Problem is that I became a 'Paper Towel Junkie'.  I didn't start out like that - early on we never wasted spent money on paper towels.  I used a lot of dish towels - but they are often too big for what I want and too thick and don't dry quickly.

Then we started getting those folded paper towels (from Costco) to keep in the kitchen and over time I used them more and more.  By the time we moved from Massachusetts I was using them for just about everything... I had gotten outta control.

I'm trying to be better about how I impact my environment and knew that my paper towel usage had to stop.  But I still don't like the size and weight of dish towels. 

When I unpacked my cloth napkins and started using them again at meals I began to ponder... I figured I could replace my paper towel usage with cloth towels but I didn't want to spend a lot of money on fabric or spend time finishing the edges on the 'faux paper towels'.

My solution:

  • Buy discounted fabrics - clearance or 2nds are great
  • Cut the fabric on the bias... no need to finish the edges because they will NEVER fray, never shed any stray threads... NEVER!faux paper 012

I've run through 3 trials to test out my ponderings...

For my first set of 'faux paper towels' I purchased 2 yards of a cheery yellow print that was supposedly a second... personally I couldn't find anything wrong with the yardage I bought - nice at $1.69 a yard.

I wanted to try and use as much of the fabric as possible so I sewed the selvedges together faux paper 001 and then cut on the bias (45 degree)faux paper 005 so that my squares were approx. 10 inches square.  This way you got a square from the folded edge and the sewn selvedge edge.faux paper 010   If you wanted to have scraps to use for quilting then don't worry about sewing the selvedge edge together and throw the triangle pieces in the scrap bin.  

faux paper 017

My second trial was from a happy floranapkins 001l print that had a very evident 'blurrrry' print effect along the selvedge edge.  But at 1.69 a yard I didn't care - I didn't bother to sew that edge together.  Again a 2 yard cut - and I ended up with 22 squares at 10".  I also cut some of the larger leftover triangles from the edges down to makenapkins 005 a few

little napkins for my granddaughter to use - I was able to cut these about 6" square.   I didn't get many - but she'll be happy anyway!

My third trial was a pink 30's print - again from the seconds rack that I didn't find any flaws in my 4 yard cut.  I didn't sew napkins 006the selvedge edges together (couldn't be bothered) and from the edge scraps I cut pieces that measured approx. 5" x 6" - again figuring these would be great little napkins for my granddaughter to use - she loves pink!

  napkins 0011


I'm going to send the floral set to my daughter and some of the pink ones too. 

I love it that now I have lots of faux paper towels to use in the kitchen for what ever I want and don't have to feel guilty.  I can grab one to wipe down the counters - no more icky sponge or dish cloth.  Rinse it out and because they are thin they dry quickly so can go in the hamper and not get moldy.  My dish towels can be for drying pots and I can use these to dry my hands and therefore always have something clean and dry to use.

I can grab one for under my coffee cup and use one as a lunch napkin too or dry off that apple I just washed.

Throw them in the wash with all your other towels - remember no fabric softener in your towels if you want them to remain absorbent.

You could cut them bigger if you wanted to use them as regular napkins - I really like the unfinished no work at all edge to them.  Just remember your cut edges have to be on the bias and they will not fray.


Bon said...

Great idea. A great way to bust the stash of fabrics that probably would never get used.

Dawn-Marie said...

Hmmm I just might have to give this a try.

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

This is a great idea! A good use for Walmart type fabric.

Anna M. said...

What a great idea! I think I'll give it a try...I'd love to stop buying paper towels! =)

Helen said...

I love this idea. A great way to use up some excess fabric and end up with some useful napkins. I'm going to try this one.
Thanks for sharing...