Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cupcake Towel Tutorial

I made these kitchen towels earlier this week and thought I would tell you how I did it!  Are you excited yet?  I got a five pack of these towels on sale at JCPenny.  The funky green color was just the thing to spunk up my cupcakes and my kitchen! 
To start out, I drew a cupcake shape on cardstock making a pattern.  Once that was done, I traced the pattern on the fabric.  
When you make yours (wink, wink) layer two pieces of fabric right-sides together, put them on top of some quilt batting, and for a little more stability, a stiffish piece of interfacing.  I made my first ones without the interfacing.  They worked fine, but I think it would be better to use the interfacing if you have it. 
Trace the patterns and sew RIGHT ON THE LINES!  You don't need to add seam allowance on the pattern if you do it this way.  I was really into making dolls for a while and that is the method recommended on the patterns.  Then you have much more fabric to hold on to when moving around the sewing machine-a plus when working with smaller pieces.  Sew all the pieces with a small stitch length, around 1 on most machines, much smaller than when you do your regular sewing. 
When you go to cut the pieces out, cut very close to the stitching, about 1/8th of an inch away from your line.  That way you don't have gathering around the corners and curves when you turn them right-side-out.  I like to turn my fabric to the back side, the side you did not draw on.  That way when you cut you can be sure you are not cutting your stitches you just made.  
  The frosting part I sewed completely around, not leaving an opening (will show more later).  The cupcake liner part I left open at the top flap.  I planned the pattern with an extra 3/4 inch so that when you turn it right side-out there is fabric left over to tuck inside.  When doing this you need to cut out the extra batting so there isn't a bulge.
Turn it right-side-out.
Then I use a small tool, actually a barbecue skewer, and push it around inside the piece, along the edges and in the corners, to make sure they are completely turned.
  Push that flap inside and press the shape flat with a hot iron. 
Will look something like this:

The frosting piece is a little more stressful. You need to grab a spot in the middle of the fabric.  Rub the fabric in between your fingers until you can feel the two layers of fabric separate.  When you are sure you only have one piece in your fingers, snip a small opening to use for turning.

It should be just big enough to get two fingers into.  A little bigger won't matter too much on this shape, it will just mean more to stitch closed later.
Turn right-side-out, then use your tooly thingy again to smooth out the edges.  When you are finished it should look like this.
Finish it off by whip stitching the opening shut.  This is a fabulous method for making fabric shapes when you don't need to worry about how the back looks.  If I were totally honest, I would tell you I have skipped the hand sewing and used glue more times than not.  My favorite fabric glue EVER is Fabritac.  It comes in a clear bottle with blue print on it, and usually a red lid, at Joanns, Walmart, Michael's....everywhere really.  It has gotten a bit more expensive, but is totally worth it!!!  I actually usually have a bottle with me when we travel!  I used it several years ago to glue a wooden heart on the butt of Madison's Care Bear costume.  After several wears and washes (she used the costume as pajamas for a while) it is still on there!  I convinced my aunt to use it on my cousins wedding dress-No Complaints!  I even, and don't report me to the authorities, used it to glue the top of my son's ears into an elfish point for his kindergarten Christmas party (he really believed, at that time, that if he ate his green vegetables his ears would grow pointy and Santa would pick him to be an elf)!!!  It is a miracle glue!  Absolutely fabulous for gluing on Boy and Girl Scout Patches!

Enough of that, back to business...
I started by stitching a line down each side of the wrapper piece, then one line right down the middle.  Next, in the picture below, I stitched a line right in between the outside and the middle lines.  I just eyeballed it.  I give you permission to draw them on with a pencil or a marking pen, chalk even, if you need a line to follow.

I put this picture in there to show you how I chain the stitches.  I never, and I repeat, NEVER do just one of ANYTHING!  I have found that I make much less mess if I slide the sewing pieces in one after another.  You use less thread, have less to clip and less on the floor, and save just a little more time if you run the pieces one right after another.  I do my quilts and clothing patterns this way too.  In this picture you can see how the lines of stitching just continue to the next piece I am sewing.  How do I do it?  When you get to the last stitch in one piece, put the needle all the way down into the fabric, lift the pressure foot, and slide your next pattern piece right up against the first, ready to sew.  Then, put the pressure foot back down, and sew.  If the piece is one that requires backstitching, just backstitch before leaving it, and backstitch the new piece just after starting it like you usually would.  
Here is my in between shot to make sure things were going to line up ok. 
On to the frosting!  I used a pencil to trace where I wanted to sew my frosting contours.  I hadn't made one before and didn't want to totally screw it up.  The great thing about a light pencil mark is that you can erase it!  Just use the eraser on the end of the pencil.  It works.  And erase I did, like 5 times.  When I finally had the marks where I wanted them, I set my zigzag stitch to a rather thin zigzag, and gave 'er a try.
Sorry about the blurriness of this picture.  I was rather happy with how the stitch came out.

Next was to gather the towel.
I tried three ways before I finally came back to the old sew-two-lines method.  With how thick the towels were, nothing else seemed to work.  Set your stitch length as long as you can.  Use a gathering foot if you have one, if not, no problem, and be certain to use quality thread (I love Gutermann).  Sew straight lines on either side of the middle, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart.  Pull the bottom threads, moving the fabric down little by little.  Check your gather with the width of the piece you are attaching it to to make sure you gather it enough. 
In this picture, the horizontal line sewn across the wrapper is where I attached the towel.  I was worried that the cupcake would flap up so I also ran a stitch from just below where the button is, to the bottom of the wrapper, sewing through the cupcake wrapper, and both layers of towel.  I think it did the job.
I sewed the red button, for the cherry, on first, putting it at the top where a cherry should be.  I bought a tube of buttons from Hobby Lobby, the whole thing was less than $3 and came with more than fifty buttons.  I didn't realize at the time that the buttons were all shapes and letters, but I like the bit of whimsy it added to the project.  When I sewed all the other buttons on, I held the frosting over the top portion of the cupcake wrapper and used the button stitching to secure the two together.  A final whip stitch around the edges and we were in business!
The plain white towel was snazzed up with a little rick-rack at the bottom.
Don't you think they made the stove a little cooler?  I do mean cooler like awesome, of course!

This project was linked up Here:
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  1. Oh thank you so much for the tutorial! I am loving these adorable cupcake towels. I wanted to let you know that I gave you the versatile blog award over at my blog. Congrats!

  2. What a sweet project. I love the embellishments on the "icing."

    :) Laura

  3. Cutie Pa - Tutie!!! Love them! Thanks so much for planting your creative seeds at Plant a Punkin Seed Party!

    Come plant again next Friday!

    Punkin Seed Productions

  4. I am so happy you posted the tutorial. When I saw that you made them for prizes, I was so bummed I didn't win. Now I'll totally have to try and make my own.

    Love them!

  5. I'm a winner of one of these cute towels, but I do not know how to email you my info???

  6. Hey Norman Five, I emailed you last week at the yahoo account you sent. Please check your spam just incase it ended up in there. I can't wait to mail it to you!


  7. I'm your newest follower from Tuesday Tag-Along, come follow me too!

  8. Oh Vanessa, these are SO sweet. Wonderful tutorial, as well. Thank you for sharing!

  9. New follower here. I just have to say these are so adorable! I want to make some for me, but I will probably have horrible looking cupcakes since I haven't done any big sewing since middle school :p

  10. Hi! Those towels are just too cute. I love them!

    You won the Gorilla Glue giveaway on Tatertots & Jello, send me your address and I will get them out to you!


  11. Those are just adorable! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  12. So cute! I featured this in my Friday Favorites...

  13. So cute! We'll see if I have the courage to make these. I'm not sure I could manage to make the cupcakes look good.

  14. This is just too cute!

  15. LOVE this idea! Im your newest follower! Follow me at
    If your interested in doing a swap with me, email me at

  16. These are totally awesome... I'm bookmarking and hope to come back when my sewing skills are better.

  17. Cute, cute, cute!
    I like your blog, following you.

  18. Thank so much, im very excited to make my own. LAte i will send you the pictures.

    1. Awesome! I can't wait to see them!!!

      The Sew*er, The Caker, The CopyCat Maker


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