Karen Jinks's picture

REVIEW: Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter

Looking for a quick and easy sewing project? This week Emma of Yumptatious makes the 'kitchen towels' from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing.

From fabric to function in less than an hour?

 simple sewing

For this, my first review, I've chosen the uber stylish and tasteful Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing. Bound in the same way as Amy Butler's In Stitches, this user-friendly ringbound book comes complete with patterns, handily stored away in an envelope attached to the inside front cover. 

Now, I shall confess to you that I had forgotten that I had offered to do a review and so it was with panic that I flicked through my copy, hoping to find a quick easy project with which to meet the deadline by the skin of my teeth. Well, Hallelujah! The Great Goddess of Craft smiled sweetly upon me and yielded this gem of a project, complete with the rather bold claim that '...this is a very easy project that will take less than an hour to complete even for beginners' (p 41). But then my heart sank: it was for tea towels (or 'kitchen towels'). Surely making your own tea towels is a sure-fire sign that you really need to get out of the house more often and actually interact with real-live people? But, I was intrigued by the 'less than an hour' claim, so swallowed my superior assumptions and dug out some suitable fabric.

The instructions were for two towels, so I used a cotton / linen blend with a cute pink polka dot (£10 fine to the first person who says 'shabby chic'...) and a printed cotton. Then I set my timer for one hour’s time.  The instructions were very clear and easy to follow, with a simple line drawing to show how to attach the hook properly. Basically, all you need for each towel is a piece of fabric 18”x24” and a piece of cotton ribbon 4.5”x1/2”.


I used up valuable minutes by embellishing one piece of fabric with pink dots (to tie it in with the other towel) using a fabric pen, fixed with a hot iron.

You then need to iron a 1/4” fold all the way around and then again to create a good, clean edge. Ironing a neat, straight edge is the tricky bit: an ironing board cover with ruler lines on it would be very useful! Because the corners seemed a bit chunky to me, I mitred them, which again used more minutes. You then pin the loop in place, sew all the way round, and Voila! Two surprisingly gorgeous tea towels appear in just over an hour!

But are they any good? I put them to work instantly and discovered that they are the perfect size, drying my big plates, pans and cutlery perfectly. They also look rather gorgeous and even Mr Yumptatious, not usually drawn to household textile appreciation, was very impressed: in fact, he declared them 'Wicked!'

Would I make them again? Yes, I think I would, if only because my old tea towels look depressingly skanky in comparison. I wouldn't recommend embellishing them with artful stitchery, however, despite the lovely pics of her towels featuring embroidered cups: I reckon you'd catch your forks on them. But I could be wrong...