Review: Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Tea Towel

Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Tea Towel

Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Tea Towel
by Nathalie Mornu, Lark Books, 2010

With so many sewing books currently on the market, and even more free tutorials available online, it is getting increasingly difficult for authors to distinguish themselves and earn some coveted space on your (or my) bookshelf. But Nathalie Mornu manages to accomplish just that with her latest offering, the second in the Craft Challenge series, Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Tea Towel.

When shopping for any kind of DIY book, be it cooking, crafting, what have you, I personally am seeking inspiration. And from the vantage point of this vintage textile collector and advanced-beginner sewer, Tea Towel provides plenty of both the visual and practical varieties. Its two dozen-plus, beautifully-photographed projects are well-written and include all of the requisites (stuffies, aprons, coasters, a basic tote bag, etc.), plus a few standouts (an owl clock, a panel skirt, and the handled carrying bag featured on the book’s cover). But that alone might not prove compelling enough to the more accomplished sewers out there, or those who already own several titles fitting this general description.

What a Hoot!

{ What a Hoot! This owl clock project is a standout from Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Tea Towel. }

What sets this book, and these projects, apart is its focus on the tea towel. Could these projects be made with fabric, new or vintage, purchased off the bolt? Of course. But Mornu deftly demonstrates how each of these projects is elevated by use of a vintage tea towel, and how the tea towel itself is elevated through its repurposing. Mornu doesn’t merely treat the tea towel as a glorified fat quarter; she teaches how best to showcase a pattern with placement and just the right project. And in the process, she provides a primer on vintage tea towels and their history that’s insightful and engaging for both the uninitiated and the veteran collector alike.

As for me, I was sufficiently inspired to immediately begin sifting through my vintage trove for towels to upcycle, and seeking still more to replenish the collection. And that’s worth a space in my crowded bookcase any day!


  1. Phyl Jones says:

    I thoroughly enjoy your blog! but now can no longer see the type. On my browser, the background color is a beautiful deep burnt sienna but the black type disappears into the background. Only highlighted type is visible. Is this a problem only I am experiencing?

  2. Phyl Jones says:

    Oh, it’s a miracle! Now the white background has loaded, and I can happily read True Up. Whew! Go ahead and delete my comments, since the problem was temporary. Thanks!