Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Kitchen Towel Tutorial

The difference between a kitchen terry cloth towel, a flour sack towel and that of a tea towel has everything to do with its application.  Being Mother's Day, I thought I'd share my mom's advice on their utility.  See Mom, I was listening.  :)

But first, here's one of my very first tea towels as handcrafted by my Aunt many years ago.

Hand Embroidered Flour Sack Towel

A terry cloth hand towel does a great job drying hands just as a bath towel does.  But not so good a job at drying dishes. 

A linen or flour sack towel is much better equipped at drying dishes and cutlery.  They are more absorbent and leave little lint behind.

Flour sack towels came into being due to hard times from the Great Depression up to the 1950's.  No wonder I've been attracted to them for my 1940's kitchen.   Frugal women would make many things including kitchen towels with the tightly woven cotton bags from their food staples (cornmeal, flour, sugar, chicken feed).  The food manufacturers caught onto this trend and started to print pretty patterns on their fabric.  When times became more prosperous, food was distributed in paper products and flour sacks and their second-life creations fell out of favor.

Fortunately, they've made a comeback.  Not only are they absorbent, they dry quickly and launder well.

A tea towel with a special linen drying cloth had usually been reserved for drying expensive,  precious tea services and other heirloom pieces.  They also make a lovely bread basket wrap.

While a towel can be utilitarian, I love towels with a personality.  Here's a favorite a girl friend gave me recently....

Thanks Mom for showing me how to appreciate what others may consider mundane.  I love these quirky additions to my kitchen every time I get one.  Happy Mother's Day!


  1. AnonymousMay 13, 2013

    I received kitchen towels for Mother's Day. They will always be special.

    Love the old towels and the artistic new ones!

    ~ Barbara

  2. Outstanding job!!! ! Lots of hard work definitely paid off! I love it.


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