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Thread: Sewing with terry cloth

  1. #1
    Senior Member Prissnboot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Houston TX

    Sewing with terry cloth

    Has anyone ever sewn with terry cloth - like washcloths or such? I have a friend who's been requested to take swimtowels and make into a memory quilt. I told her to use stabilizer, but wanted to check here as well. I also suggested perhaps (before ironing on the stabilizer) to use a sweater shaver on the backside of the cloths so it adheres to the stabilizer, also decreasing the bulk while sewing.

    So...any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance, hope you all had a Happy New Year.

    She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pat M.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Do not shave the material, the loops will unravel and you will have a bare towel. You can sew without stabilizer. The towels should not stretch if you follow the grain line. I have not made a quilt with towels but I do serge the ratty side of them and I have used binding to make them last longer. I would use a very thin batting.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    I make things from washcloths (hand puppets, dust gloves, etc) and I always serge the edges because of the fluff that is generated when they are cut. I know that makes the seams bulky, but if you lengthen the stitch it isn't bad. I think if the pieces for the quilt would be large, it would be fine to serge. Small ones not so much. I sure wouldn't shave the terry! I also would not waste stabilizer. T-shirt quilts require it because of the stretch, but I don't see that being a problem with terry.

  4. #4
    Super Member bluteddi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    I agree, I would not shave the towel nor do I think u need to use stabilizer... I used to make swim robes out of towels, and I serged the seams...
    you might consider a rag quilt if weight would be an issue?

  5. #5
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Blog Entries
    The very first quilt I ever made was a crumb pieced top (although I didn't know that's what it was called at the time) with a terry cloth backing. No batting. I didn't have any problems with the terry cloth stretching. This was a drag around blanket for my youngest and I was just winging it. In fact, I think the DD still has that little quilt and it's probably 30+ years old.

  6. #6
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
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    I agree, no stabilizer. She may also want to go with no batting, or just a layer of pre shrunk flannel. Cotton terry doesn't stretch, and since it's a memory quilt, they have been laundered enough to not worry about shrinkage. The only thing that might cause a piecing problem is if they have that decorative woven strip with no loops as this sometimes shrinks more than the rest of the towel. Just something she may have to work around.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  7. #7
    Super Member lalaland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Yakima, WA
    I make all my burp cloths with terry on on side and cotton on the other. I always serge around the terry before sewing, and I don't use any stabilizer either. I think serging is the key here because it will shed like crazy if you don't.
    Thought for EVERY Day: You know all those things you've always wanted to do? You should go do them.

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