For a woman who keeps a newspaper from the day she was born, my mum has surprisingly few keepsakes or handwritten memorabilia from her own mother who passed away in 1999. When I asked her to trawl through her old papers and files, she managed to find three handwritten recipes from my grandmother. They appear to be the only remaining examples of her handwriting left in the world, and they are therefore as precious as they are priceless.
I decided to use these recipes to make a set of dish towels for my mum and I. This way, the handwritten originals can be safely stored away yet the joy of being able to see my grandmother’s handwriting in an everyday context will continue to make us smile and feel close to her.
Spoonflower’s linen-cotton canvas is the perfect fabric for dish towels. Linen is known for it’s super absorbent qualities, and with a 54” wide printable area, they are perfectly sized to fit a set of four dish towels on to one yard.
I began by taking photos of each recipe page, saving them to my computer and opening them in Picasa. The originals were old and yellowing with discoloration in some areas, but by using some of Picasa’s edit tools -- specifically the ‘retouch’ option (to minimize some of the blotchy discoloration) -- I was able to get a cleaner appearance to each page.
I then turned each recipe into a landscape orientation.
After selecting all three images (I only had three recipes, so two of my recipe dish towels are identical), I selected the ‘Picture Collage’ option under the ‘Create’ tab. Picasa automatically places the images into a collage arrangement, that you are able to edit and move as you please. I added a grid spacing in between each image so that I would have a convenient cutting line, and by making the grid lines a color, I had an eye-catching feature for the back, hemmed edge of the finished dish towels.
Under the ‘Page Format’ option, I set the size of the collage to 54” x 36”, which will fit exactly on to one yard of the linen-cotton canvas and uploaded the design to Spoonflower.
I always recommend ordering test swatches before committing to ordering the actual yardage, that way you are able to make color and size adjustments without spending a lot of money.
The dish towels were simple to sew up. I cut them out along the grid lines and turned back the hem. I also sewed a small length of twill in one top corner of each dish towel for convenience.
The linen-cotton canvas is a beautiful fabric and will only improve with extensive washing and use. The really nice thing about these is that if they ever do suffer from wear and tear I can simply have more printed, without even having to dig the original paper copies out from storage.
Addendum to original post (11/9/12):
It seems that there is an extra step involved to have your collage of tea towel designs print to fill the area of one yard of linen, which measures 54in width by 36in length, which equals 8100 pixels x 5400 pixels at 150 dpi.
When exporting out of Picasa, the image resolution will be 72 dpi, which is standard for web viewing but which caps the exported file size at 5120 pixel width x 3414 pixel length. Because of this, there is an extra step involved to increase the size of your design collage exported in Picasa before uploading to your design library in Spoonflower.
- You can open the design in Preview on a Mac. Once open, go to Tools and Adjust Size. With "inches" toggled, enter in "54" width and "36" length and "150" for the resolution dpi. Export the resized file as a PNG, and then upload it to Spoonflower.
- If you don't have access to a Mac computer, you might want to try downloading a program calledPaint. Here is a great tutorial for resizing using Paint.