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Ruffle Bunnies: Fun Appliqué Kitchen Towels

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These kitchen towel Ruffle Bunnies are ready to hop-to-it and help with your dish drying. Download our free appliqué templates to make a set for yourself as well as all your friends. As you know, bunnies have many friends and relations, so they like to have lots of company. We used a Fat Quarter Shop Jolly Bar bundle to cut out our cute bunny trio. These 5” x 10” pre-cuts are a FQS exclusive and were the perfect size for all three designs. You’re going to love the unique way we came up with to create the double ruffle, which is finished on all sides and doesn’t leave a visible seam allowance. It’s like magic, you might say a bit like pulling a rabbit out of a hat… if you aren’t too tired of the bun-bun metaphor yet! 

We chose Moda toweling for the towel base panels. It’s pre-hemmed along both sides to a perfect 16” width so all you have to worry about are the top and bottom hems. We added a handy hanging loop behind our top hem. 

The ruffles are made from two coordinating panels sewn together. As you’ll see in the steps below, with some clever folding and gathering, the ruffles can be attached, along with a piping highlight, with one easy seam. 

Even with such a pretty bottom ruffle and the appliqué, the bottom and back of the towel are nice and neat with hardly any stitching show-through. 

With Easter coming, a set of three towels makes a great gift, and we offer three different bunny templates below. 

Of course, you could certainly choose just one template as your favorite and have all the bunnies match – perhaps even matching your ruffles. But, since variety is the spice of life, we recommend some mixing and matching with the ruffles (folding two different directions gives you two different looks as shown below) as well as with the fabric for the appliqué. 

Each towel finishes at 16” wide x 28” high when flat and folds evenly into thirds and then in half to hang and display the featured bunny appliqué.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Quantities shown are for a set of THREE mix-and-match towels.

  • 2½ yards of pre-hemmed toweling; we used Moda Toweling in Natural, which finishes at 16” wide
    NOTE: You will cut each towel at 30”, which for three towels is exactly 2½ yards. If you are worried about your cutting accuracy, get a 2⅝.
  • ¾ - ⅞ yard EACH of TWO coordinating 44”+ wide quilting weight cottons; we used two prints from the new Bonnie and Camille Basics collection for Moda Fabrics: Scallop in Orange and Stripes in Orange
    NOTE: If your fabric has a random motif or a motif that can be cut horizontally, you’ll need ¾ of a yard (this was the case for our Stripes fabric). If your fabric has a motif that must be cut vertically, you need ⅞ of a yard (this was the case for our Scallop fabric).
  • THREE Jolly Bar pre-cuts or similar in coordinating prints for the bunny appliqués; we used a Jolly Bar bundle from Fat Quarter Shop from the Farmhouse collection by Fig Tree Quilts – the selection of Jolly Bars at FQS is always changing to include the latest and most popular collections
  • 1½ yards of packaged piping; we used two different colors of Wrights Bias Tape Maxi Piping, red and lime green, and so purchased two packages – the number of piping colors is up to you, one package would be enough to complete all three towels
  • ½ yard of fusible web for the appliqué; we used Pellon’s Wonder Under
  • All-purpose thread to match fabric (both the toweling and the ruffle fabric)
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper 
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins
  • Semi-transparent paper to trace appliqué template(s); tissue paper, pattern paper or even cooking parchment paper all work well

Appliqué Templates

  • Download and print the three Bunny Templates, which have been bundled into one PDF file to make the download easier. 
    IMPORTANT: This pattern download consists of THREE 8½" x 11" sheets. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.

Getting Started

  1. From the toweling, cut THREE 30” panels.
  2. From EACH of the coordinating cottons, cut THREE 9” x 29” panels with the motif running horizontally along the 29”. 
  3. From the remaining cotton of your choice, cut THREE 1½” x 7” strips for the hanging loops; we cut our loop strips from the Stripes 
  4. Cut THREE 17” lengths of piping.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create the hanging loop 

  1. Find the narrow strips of fabric. 
  2. Press back each 7” raw edge ¼”.
  3. Fold the strip in half, wrong sides together, so the folded edges are flush. Press well. 
  4. Thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. 
  5. Edgestitch along the strip to secure. 

Hem the top and bottom of the towels

  1. The Moda toweling comes pre-hemmed along both sides, so you only need to hem the top and bottom. 
  2. At the top and the bottom of each towel cut, open both existing side seams about 3”. This gives you enough fabric to work with at each corner to create a pretty diagonal point corner. 
  3. The existing side hems are ½” double-turn hems, so the top and bottom hems need to match. 
  4. With the corner fabric free, fold the top raw edge back ½” and press, then fold and additional ½” and press again. 
  5. Unfold so the crease lines are visible.
  6. We trimmed back the corner point along the first crease line to reduce bulk. 
  7. Then, re-fold along the original crease lines to create the corner point. 

    NOTE: If you are new to this technique, we have a full, step-by-step tutorial on this type of narrow hem with a diagonal point corner, showing both ¼” and ½” folds. 
  8. Repeat these steps at each corner and pin in place.
  9. Along the top hemmed edge, measure to find the exact center point and mark this point with a pin. 
  10. Measure 1½” to the right and left of center. Insert the ends of the loop at these outer points. 
  11. Stitch the top and bottom hems, securing the hanging loop in the top hem.
  12. Pivot to stitch around each corner just enough to re-seal the side hems. 

Appliqué the bunnies

  1. We fussy cut each of our bunny appliqués to carefully position flowers so they act as our bunnies’ eyes and are centered within their bodies. Because of this, we chose to work a bit differently with the fusible web, fusing it as a block onto the back of each Jolly Bar and then cutting a see-through template and working with that on the right side of the fabric to best position the bunny.
  2. Cut an approximate 4” x 9” panel of the fusible web and adhere it to the back of the Jolly Bar, centering it side to side and top to bottom. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
  3. Trace a bunny onto the see-through paper. 
  4. Slide the outline around on the Jolly Bar until the fabric’s motif elements are positioned just they way you want them within the bunny shape. Pin the template in place. 
  5. Carefully cut out the bunny shape. These bunnies are designed to be raw-edged appliqués so the edges are not finished. 
  6. Because the towel is usually folded into thirds and then in half when hung in place, the bunny should be positioned to be centered within this folded grid. The illustration below shows you how to measure out this grid on your hemmed towel. Remember, the ruffle will be attached 5” up from the bottom hemmed edge of the towel. Don’t get the bunny’s feet too close to this line. They should be at least 1” above the line. If doing multiple towels, make sure this distance above the line is the same on each towel; it will look better is all the bunnies' feet are in line with one another when displayed in a group.
  7. When your have the bunny’s position correctly figured out, remove the paper backing from the fusible web and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to fuse the appliqué in place. 
  8. Thread the machine with thread to best match the toweling in the top and bobbin. This insures the stitching will be barely visible on the back of the towel, and it also allows the pretty appliqué stitches to show against the fabric, which we liked. 
  9. With all the twists and turns of the bunny designs, it helps to shorten your stitch length for smoother curves. Run your seam as close to the edge of the fabric as possible; we recommend 1/16”.
    NOTE: If you are brand new to appliqué, you may want to review our full, step-by-step tutorial: How to Appliqué Like a Pro prior to starting this project. 

Create the ruffle panel

  1. Find two 9” x 29” panels, one in each of the coordinating cotton fabrics. 
  2. Place the panels right sides together, aligning the raw edges all around. 
  3. Pin in place, leaving an approximate 3” opening along one side for turning. 
  4. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal. 
  5. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all around. Remember to pivot at each corner and to lock your seam at either side of the 3” opening. 
  6. Clip the corners and press open the seam allowance. 
  7. Turn right side out through the opening. 
  8. Gently push out the corners with a long, blunt tool so they are nice and sharp. A chopstick, knitting needle or point turner works well for this. 
  9. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. 
  10. Hand stitch the opening closed. 
  11. Place the panel flat on your work surface with the side facing up that will be your bottom ruffle. In our pink-standing-bunny sample, that meant our stripe side was facing up. Measure 3” down from the top seamed edge and draw a horizontal line across the panel. 
  12. Re-set the machine for a gathering stitch. 
  13. Stitch across the panel, through both layers, along the drawn line. Remember, you do not lock gathering stitches at either the start or the finish. 
  14. Then stitch across again, just below the first line.
  15. Fold the panel along the first line, which means the opposite side of the panel, and therefore the coordinating fabric, is now facing up, creating a top layer. This top layer is 3”, leaving 2” of the other fabric showing below. Press well to set a sharp fold.
     
  16. Pull the gathering stitches to reduce the panel to 16” in width. 
  17. Because of the position of the two lines of gathering stitches, you care kind of gathering from between the layers.
  18. Tie off the threads at each end to hold the gathers in place. 

Attach the piping and ruffle

  1. Find the main panel with the bunny appliquéd in place. 
  2. Measure 5½” up from the bottom hemmed edge of the towel and draw a horizontal guide line. This line is ½” higher than the grid lines you were working with above when positioning the bunny appliqué.
  3. Find a 17” length of piping. At each end, open up the piping’s seam slightly and cut back the inner piping cord ½” at each end. This will allow you to more easily fold back the raw ends of the piping to create a clean finish at each end. 
  4. With the ends folded back as described, pin the piping in place across the towel, aligning the raw edge of the piping’s insertion tape with the drawn line. The folded-back ends of the piping should be flush with the side hems of the toweling. Confirm that the piping is straight all the way across. It should also be at least ½” below the bunny’s feet. Pin the piping in place.
  5. Find the pre-ruffled panel. Place the top ruffled edge of the panel right under the piping and pin in place. If all your measurements are correct, the bottom of the ruffle panel should be flush with the bottom hemmed edge of the toweling. 
  6. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the ruffle fabric in the top and to best match the toweling in the bobbin. 
  7. Topstitch across the ruffle through all the layers. 
  8. Trim the thread tails close and remove and visible gathering stitches.


Contributors
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

Section: 

Comments (10)

dstitchgal said:
dstitchgal's picture

in moving got rid of too many Easter decor items so used these appliqués on pieces of white burlap to make 3 small wall hangings thanks for the inspiration for another of my PSP's (piddley sewing project) 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@dstitchgal - sounds like a cute little project - glad we could offer a bit of inspiration!

Patty n Texas said:
Patty n Texas's picture

Adorable!!  A few years ago, I made alot of cute towels for gifts.  This year, I'm making some for my house.  These are perfect.  Thank you!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Patty - Thank you! Yes -- it's time YOU get new towels 

Filipp said:
Filipp's picture

These bunnies are so cute! There are so many possibilities to use them - not only on towels

Greetings from Germany!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Filipp - Hello to you in Germany! And thank you for loving our bunnies!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Jane - Thank you! Let us know how yours turn out!

Doloris said:
Doloris's picture

Beautiful Spring colors. Those bunnies are adorable.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Doloris - Thank you - there was snow on the ground again this morning -- so ready for Spring!

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