Sunday, August 17, 2014

Vintage Tea Towel Cushions

I know vintage tea towel cushions have been around the traps for yonks, but even though I've bought a couple
(and I've been the happy/lucky recipient of some really lovely ones too) 
until recently (I'm talking this week) I have never sewn my own.

There were two main reasons for this:
(and lord knows a deficit of vintage tea towels to make 'em with wasn't one of them!)
1. I couldn't bring myself to go near them with a pair of scissors, 
2. Fear of zippers (i.e. inserting them)

Anyway, as mentioned above that's all 
(or almost all - I still feel like a vandal, and sewing zippers still = mucho unpicking)
in the past, because as of today I have made three.

Here are two of them 
(the third - my first attempt, is on its way to a bona-fide vintage tea towel cushion connoisseur in South Australia. Scary!) 
they are for my Mum whose Grandfather was Scottish (and her Father was the President of "The Thistle Club" here in Western Australia in the 50's). Just explaining the Scottish thing... 
Pom-pom trim (Grrrr! Hideous to attach!) and all!

Robbie Burns on one.

Amazing Grace on t'other.

Do you think she'll like them?
I hope so.
We're all (Mum, my sisters and me) going out for lunch tomorrow so I'll let you know next time I'm here.
Annabel says she doesn't like them...but she admires me for giving it a go! Ha! There's nothing like a (brutally) honest teenager! 

Vintage Scottish postcards. Try hard. Me?!

Thanks for reading. Ye ar verra kin!

p.s. those gorgeous aqua baskets are from K-Mart. $9.00!

p.p.s. I found this tutorial on how to sew a concealed zipper very useful.

Oh and here is a link to my friend Vicki's ace post on tea towel cushions and vintage Australiana tea towels in general. It's interesting and funny, and I know you'll enjoy reading it.



  1. Kylie, they look fabulous! Cushion covers are next on my list of things to try and make. And you know, I was wondering about using a tea towel to make a lined/reversible tote bag - what do you think?
    I'm sure your mum will be delighted, enjoy the birthday celebrations! xxx

  2. Wow I love these, I have some vintage tea towels I must give this a go .

  3. They're brilliant Kylie. The pompoms are awesome, worth the vandalism. If you've got so many vintage tea towels, you gotta figure out how to show them off.

  4. they may have been around for a while but I've never seen them before! Very cool! x

  5. They look so great. Well done! And do love those baskets too...

  6. They are tops and I think they'll bring more enjoyment as cushions. Pom-poms look fab. You are quite the little sewer/sewist nowadays aren't you? I am beyond excited about your coco. Hurry up postie! Have a great week!

  7. Top tea towel job Kylie and I'm with you on the scary zip thing. Funnily enough I bought a Sussex (my home county) tea towel in Poundland today with the very same intention. I figured if it was only a £1 it won't matter if I stuff it up. Yours look gorgeous and pom-pom trim to boot which really adds a professional finish.
    Your mum will be rapt, not only do they have the Scottish connection but they were made with love by YOU. x

  8. Well done! Tote Bags are another use. Know how you feel though, for now my stash is safe and intact.

  9. Great job and I especially like the pom poms on them.

  10. I'm feeling your pain. I made some a while ago to lessen the pile of old tea towels in the cupboard that nobody was allowed to use. There is still residual guilt every time I look at them. The baskets are lovely and potential good for trapping the junk in the girls' room. Kmart's gone a bit up market 'replica' of late it seems!

  11. yay for zips (I'm intimidated by them too - a with a cushion, well, there's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, is there?) Loving the Scottish theme (go Scottish Independence!) and tell Annabel to pull her teen head in from me! Those teenagers. Mine sometimes say "Oh no Mum. That's so, like, craft lady!"????

  12. You did a great job! I used to put zippers in clothing all the time, but I'm sure I'd make a mess of it nowadays. I'm all into your Scottish theme. I'm a Scots-Irish girl from way back. My great-grandfather on my dad's side was John O'Kelly McGill, and my great-grandmother on my mom's side was Helen Bruce Campbell (named for distant relative Robert the Bruce).

  13. These tea towel cushions look absolutely amazing, and you know the pompom trim is fantastic. Your mum is going to love them. Fancy you having a Scots connection. I'm half-Scottish via my Mum. Very soon they are having a referendum on whether to break away from the UK and self-govern. I hope the answer is no... Xxx

  14. As the happy and lucky and over-awed "bona-fide vintage tea towel cushion connoisseur in South Australia", I want to say that you are brilliant, Kylie, and your eye is so good for pattern and colour. And here is my homage:

  15. i love them!! i too suffer from fear of zippers syndrome, it limits my sewing quite a bit and i plan to overcome it one day!! i love the pom pom edging btw xx

  16. Oh good job on the cushions. it's addictive you know, that cushion making business.
    Love the baskets too, so much in fact that I bought too today in an orange hue.

  17. They are great....they will be real conversation starters in her home I am sure. xxxx

  18. What a coincidence - I've just made a tea towel cushion myself. And one made from a woollen blanket. I have zipperphobia and buttonholephobia too, but they turned out OK. Even without pom-poms!

  19. K ,
    I love them there cushions! and the bobbles are beguiling ....xxxx