Friday, July 26, 2013

DIY Family Cloth

Family cloths are very easy to make should you choose to go that route. If you don't know what family cloth is, please read my blogpost here.

Step 1: Buy a Few Yards of Fabric

Recently the local fabric store in my area had a sale on flannel for 50% off which made it $2.99 a yard. You can get about 25 - 30 cloths per yard of fabric depending on how large you make them and how good you are at cutting up the fabric. I generally purchase half-yards of fabric so that I can use a variety of prints for interest. You can see from my picture here that I have a camping theme, birds, and a fluer-de-lis. There are some folks who would choose fabrics that match their bathroom theme or colors. Others buy one print for each family member so that the cloths are used only by one person. You get the picture. I look for old baby recieving blankets and fabric remnants at my local thrift store as well.

I choose to use 100% cotton flannel. Synthetic fabrics may feel soft, but they don't absorb moisture which is kind of our goal here.

Step 2: Wash your fabric first because flannel shrinks.

Plus, you don't know where that fabric has been, lol. Don't add fabric softener to your family cloth because it reduces absorbtion. If you need to soften the fabric, add 1 cup of Vinegar to your rinse water. It will do the same thing as fabric softener without the residue and chemicals. Dry it completely and iron if you need to take out wrinkles and smooth it for better cutting. Iron it right sides together.

Step 3: Cut your fabric into same-size squares.

With your fabric right-sides together, use a rotary cutter to simplify the process and get more even squares. I choose to make 6" X 8" squares because they are a convenient size: not too large, not too small. Since the fabric is right-sides together, the squares you cut will be ready to sew.

Step 4: Sew your squares.

I cannot get nice rounded corners like some can with a serger, so I am just going to give instructions with a regular old sewing machine. As long as your machine can make a simple stitch, you are good to go. However

Using two squares, right-sides together, start about 1/3 from the end of one side of the squares and begin sewing around the square, turning and continuing your stitches until you are back to the side you began on. On this side you want to leave the center third unsewn so that you can turn the square inside out and have the right sides on the outside. Trim across the points at an angle to reduce bulk.

Once you get to that point, turn the square right-sides out and iron them out flat. Tuck in the open area in so that it looks like the finished edge area on either side of it, and iron it.

Now go back to your machine and sew down 1/4" in from the edge all the way around this square. I use a longer stitch for this because it is more decorative that tiny stitches. Experiment on a scrap of fabric to see what you like first. This makes a nice finished look and reduces the chances that seams will fray or come undone (see close up at right). Clip all your threads and iron once again. Your squares are now ready to use.