Two Tea Towels = Simple Apron plus Gift Basket Ideas & Giveaway

Ahh, I’m seeing gift baskets everywhere these days. ‘Tis the season! I both enjoy giving and receiving them as they often contain some special little personalized treasures that have been carefully inserted with the recipient in mind. Having a theme gives me direction while on the hunt for items to include in my baskets.

You may remember from one of my previous posts, I mention the new spices I purchased in Portland at Penzey’s Spice Shop. I have decided to put together some holiday gift baskets for my girls that would include some of these spices along with some additional baking goodies. While on an outing to Cost Plus, I found these wonderful accessories.


The small containers are not only adorable, but so perfect for storing spices. I love that the ceramic tops come in different colors and coordinate with the bowls and measuring cups. Some decorative labels will help to identify the spices.


Seems that once I get on a roll, all sorts of possibilities become available. Tuesday, I found these wonderful tea towels on sale at my local quilt shop. I purchased four (two black and two blue) thinking I would do some quick hand embroidery or add simple appliqué shapes to each one. Instead, I found myself slicing and dicing to make quick-and -easy aprons. Note: I just went back today and purchased the pink and a few more black.


Here’s what you will need to make one apron:

 Two tea towels

1/2 yard of ½”-wide elastic

Two buttons

1. Cut a 4″ wide strip from each long side of one of the towels. Since these towels have stripes, I cut 1/2″ away from the inside stripes to allow for seam allowance. You may adjust width depending on the design of your towel.

2. Turn and press the cut end of each strip and then stitch through all layers. These make the two waistband ties.

Fold, press and stitch strips in half lengthwise. Photo indicates both front and backside of ties.

Fold, press and stitch strips in half lengthwise. Photo indicates both front and backside of ties.

3. Cut the leftover piece of the first towel to measure 12-1/2″ x 12-1/2″. Fold, press, and stitch a narrow 1/4″ hem on all sides. This will be the apron bib.

Apron bib.

Apron bib.

4. On the second towel, measure 1-3/4″ in from one long side. Turn and press to the wrong side, and then stitch close to the folded edge. (Note: The folded edge should already be hemmed, so simply stitch close to the fold.) Stitch again 1/2″ from the top folded edge to form a casing. Finally run a 1/2″ wide piece of elastic through the casing. The length of the elastic will depend on the desired finished width of your apron.

Run elastic through a casing formed on the top edge of the skirt.

Run elastic through a casing formed on the top edge of the skirt.

5. Use safety pins to secure the elastic on the ends, and then insert the waistband ties into the casing on each end. Stitch through all layers to secure.

6. Finally, attach the bib top to the apron skirt with two stitching lines. Use a ribbon or leftover piece of of the towel to make a short neck band. I turned the top corners of the bib back and secured with decorative buttons.

Attach top to skirt, stitching through all layers (gathers).

Attach top to skirt, stitching through all layers (gathers).

8. You can keep your apron simple or consider adding  embellishments, such as rick-rack, pompoms, ruffles, embroidery, or appliqué. I’m heading out of town tomorrow and plan to bring these with me to add some hand embroidery both on the bib and along the bottom edge. Note: There is a leftover piece after cutting the bib top that can easily be used to make a pocket – no waste!

Giveaway-Green:RedI think this simple idea offers many possibilities and I hope you try some of your own. I have an extra set of pink and blue towels and would love to give one set away to one of our readers. Just leave a short comment by end of day Sunday, December 8th, telling us what your favorite gift basket would include and we will announce the winner in our next post on December 10th.

Happy Season everyone!


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33 Responses to Two Tea Towels = Simple Apron plus Gift Basket Ideas & Giveaway

  1. elaine says:

    what a great apron: perfect for wiping your hands and easy to make. i love to have a selection of aprons for different events. i even have a quilted apron so i can grab warm dishes easily using the apron. like the simple apron design you’ve shared. glad to hear you had an anniversary getaway–always good to renew special times with special loves.

  2. susitravl says:

    Glass storage containers with lids, any orange kitchen utensils, vanilla, a silpat and other baking supplies.

  3. sorchagirl says:

    What a cute, clever idea for an apron!! I’ve used these towels many times in the past to stitch an embroidery design for a hostess gift. My gift basket would include the apron, mini tart pans and the ingredients for a pecan pie. Thanks for the post, Laura.

  4. Cheryl Simpson says:

    I love this idea for an apron. It is so easy!! As for what I would like in a gift basket- anything because it’s always nice to be thought of. Have a great day and thanks again for the apron instructions.

  5. Donna W says:

    Different types of coffee would be part of my gift basket.

  6. mindingmomma says:

    That apron is genius! I would love gift basket of teas I think.

  7. Ellen says:

    Would depend on who I am making the gift basket for what I would include – for a sewing friend : I would put in some fat quarters, a few notions, thread, and some needles and/or embellishments and something to nibble on like homemade caramels. for a friend who cooks I would add some spices, cooking tools, some towels, a cookbook, and some homemade snacks. For a friend who entertains: some bowls, napkins, candles, and a knick knack for decorating and some cookies with recipe.

  8. Linda Stone says:

    Would it be possible to see the back of the apron? How are the straps attached? Thanks.

  9. Dry skin care products made a great basket for here in the dry cold north country!

  10. Cindy Dahlgren says:

    I would love the one you’re giving to your daughters. Or one filled with quilting supplies and precuts. i’m pretty easily pleased.

  11. Terry says:

    Your apron is adorable! My favorite gift basket would include fabric, quilting notions and some dark chocolate to munch on while sewing :) Thanks for the sweet giveaway!

  12. Elaine says:

    Love your blog-always find something I want to do on it and the apron is no exception. no gift basket is complete without a gift card to the local latte store, add a fat quarter or 2 and 50/2 thread for applique and I am a happy camper. The 8th is my B’day so maybe that will bring me luck. Thanks for a great blog:)

  13. Linda Stone says:

    I forgot the part about what to include in my gift basket . . . everyone had such great ideas. Did anyone mention a hot pad? Panels are great for those.

  14. Linda Stone says:

    What a neat apron . . . cute, yes, but classy at the same time. Perfect! Thanks for sharing your inspiration, and like you, I am crazy about Penzeys. I had a roll-out spice rack built beside my refrigerator to hold my Penzeys spices. Do they make me a better cook? I don’t know, but they make me think I can be. Browsing in a Penzeys store is aroma heaven. With my spice rack and an apron like yours, I could fool almost anyone, I think. Thanks, Laura.

  15. Sue says:

    A nice coffee and some decadent chocolate along with some cute fabric, FQs, charm squares, or maybe a jelly roll. Also, some matching varigated thread.

  16. Annye says:

    I LOVE Penzey’s Spices–the one in Seattle is a ferry ride away. My cooking has improved since I discovered them. They have a wonderful catalog also. My dream basket would include some dark rich coffee, a teal mug, some candied hazelnuts and then thread–lots of variegated. Also, maybe a genie to tidy the quilt room! But, it would need a certificate for Heifer Project for a baby chick donation or some bees. Thanks for the opportunity to daydream a bit.
    Annye in Washington

    • Laura Nownes says:

      Oh Annye, I see you are a girl after my own heart! I too have donated to the Heifer Project. My girls love selecting from all the animals and enjoy telling their friends they have donated chicks or pigs to a needy family. It’s so special. Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! please send that genie to my quilting room too. Thanks for stopping in today and happy holidays. Laura

  17. Peggy O'Connor says:

    So cute! I was looking for an easy apron to make and you delivered! Thank you Laura!!! Any gift basket would have to have a wee bit of chocolate!

    • Laura Nownes says:

      You are so welcome Peggy! Now I am seeing cut tea towels everywhere. I may have created a monster. Funny you should mention chocolate as I also found a can of salted caramel chocolate cocoa mix at Cost Plus (half price!) to include in the gift baskets. It’s so fun. Happy Holidays to you! Laura

  18. Carol Barringer says:

    The apron is just darling, unadorned! I usually view these “make an x from a y!” projects with skepticism but this one really delivers as promised. My gift basket would include a lot of thread, especially variagated! Fabric, certainly, an intriguing tool or book, and perhaps a magazine subscription or a gift certificate for a class. I wish!!

    • Laura Nownes says:

      Thanks so much Carol. I too often take a leap of faith when jumping into these projects but have to say I too was pleased and surprised with the simple results. Glad you like it. I too love the idea of magazine subscriptions. There are so many new ones to select from today with such much inspiration. Enjoy your holidays and many thanks for stopping in today. Laura

  19. Jane says:

    The apron pattern is cute and easy – love it!! My special basket would have some fiestaware small plates in various colors, charm squares with “sweets” theme and some polka dots; pink, acqua and red embroidery floss (as many fit); a pair of floral embroidery scissors that cut to the tip; and the “Quilty Fun” book.
    Thanks for the chance.

    • Laura Nownes says:

      I can see it already. So many wonderful colors, shapes and inspiration. Anything with dots is definitely on my wish list. Hope you get them all, and more. Enjoy your holidays and thanks for taking time to stop in today. Laura

  20. cynthia says:

    My fantasy gift basket would be some tea, some biscuits sweet and savory, some honey, and some fresh Meyer lemons.

    • Laura Nownes says:

      Yes!! Love it all. My Meyer lemon tree is just about ready for curd making. I can hardly wait. It is so yummy on biscuits with a hot cup of tea. Thanks for sharing Cynthia. My best to you for a lovely holiday season. Laura

  21. Evelyn says:

    A 12-piece fat quarter bundle, a layer cake, a jelly roll, a charm pack, thread, a 6″x12″ ruler, a 12″ square ruler, a rotary cutter, a seam ripper, wonder clips — all sorts of things to play and create with — along with some chocolate and peppermints for a quick pick-me-up — all in a basket lined with a 2-yard piece of a coordinating background fabric. Whew! It would have to be a good-sized basket, I suppose. Hmmm, I may give this list to my husband in case he might like some inspiration for a Christmas gift for me. Then I’d have just the right ingredients to make him a something super for his upcoming birthday. =)

    • Laura Nownes says:

      I was thinking the same too Evelyn. My husband is always asking for ideas. I don’t think there needs to be a limit to the size of the basket, do you? Sounds like so much fun. I may leave a note around the house for my secret Santa also. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Ah! I love tea towels. :)

  23. Pat T. says:

    Oh, my!! I *love* your apron!!
    Thank you for the great directions!
    This is SO perfect for my gift basket… with my favorite, Saigon cinnamon, my own recipes for candied cinnamon almonds, and chocolate English toffee, and a sample box of these goodies!!
    Thank you!!
    Pat T. in Michigan

    • Laura Nownes says:

      Thanks Pat. Yes, there are so many wonderful ideas. I think I need to start hunting for larger baskets! Enjoy your holidays! Laura

  24. Toya Charles says:

    I bought several Penzeys sampler boxes so this apron would be great to add. Fresh loaf of sour dough bread, dipping oil, apron, and a bottle of wine or sparkling juice. A cook must nibble while preparing a meal!! Thanks for the giveaway.

    • Laura Nownes says:

      Nibbling…yes, that’s goes without saying. I too love dipping oils. It makes all the difference. Thanks for stopping in today. Our best to you for an enjoyable holiday season. Laura

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