The first step is choosing your fabric. You can purchase bath towels or hand towels on sale and cut them into smaller pieces to make into washcloths, or you can purchase terrycloth in the yard goods section of your local department store or fabric store. Make sure the terry you choose is very soft with small loops. The smaller the loop is, the softer the terrycloth will be.
Wash and dry the fabric before measuring it or cutting it down to allow for shrinkage. It is also a good idea to wash first in case the color runs. If you use towels, cut off the ribbon area at the top and bottom before dividing the remainder into sections. A typical washcloth is eight inches by eight inches. This size is fine for bigger kids, but baby washcloths should be smaller. Six inches by six inches is a good size.
You can either measure out every cloth as you go, or you can cut out a pattern from the poster board. The pattern should be an inch larger on each side to allow for hemming. For example, if you are making six-inch by six-inch washcloths, the pattern should be seven inches by seven inches. Bump the edge of the pattern up to the edge of the fabric and trace it.
After cutting out the washcloth, measure down one inch on all sides and lightly mark the fabric. Fold each edge until it reaches the mark then iron it so there is a crease. This will make it easier to keep in place when you begin to sew. If you would rather not iron, you can fold each edge over and pin it into place. After sewing down the edges, trim any rough or uneven areas.
Very thin terrycloth can be a bit stretchy. Be careful not to stretch the fabric as you sew or your washcloths will have uneven sides. If you are using a sewing machine, you may want to add decorative stitching. You can use a contrasting thread color for optimum effect. If you aren’t terribly confident in your ability to sew a straight line and do not want the stitching to be noticeable, you will need to match the thread as closely as possible to the color of the fabric. Use a small straight stitch to avoid drawing attention to it.
Since washcloths are rather small, you may stitch them by hand. Again, match the color of the thread as closely as you can to the color of the fabric. Make tiny, closely spaced, even stitches. You may want to draw a line on the back of the fabric that you can follow to ensure that your stitches stay straight. If you plan to add lace or some other type of trim, this should be sewn on at the same time as the hemming is being done. After folding the fabric over, simply pin the trim to the edge from the backside. Make sure it peeks over the edge and is facing the right direction.
For thicker cloths, you can sew two squares of terrycloth together. Make sure the good sides the fabric face each other and sew three sides together from corner to corner. On the fourth side, sew about two inches (or three depending on the size of your washcloth) from each corner going toward the center. Leave two inches open. Turn the piece inside out, being careful to push the corners out until they are sharp and pointy. Tuck the folds of the opening until they are even and hand stitch the opening. It is best to start one-half inch or so before the opening and continue about a one-half inch past the end of the opening.
Making your own custom washcloths is a fun project. It’s great for those who want to create a gift from the heart for an expectant friend or loved one, or a gift for a special child.Making your own