Summer Fun With Terry

No, I don't mean Terry Bradshaw, or Terry Garr, or Tarrytown - This terry is cloth! Something about terry cloth just makes me think of summer. It's a great fabric for easy living and has had it's place in beach and poolside entertaining for many years.

While looking for a project for my post today, I was leafing through a McCall's 1968 You-Do-It Home Decorating magazine and came across some fun terry projects. One of them reminded me of a project we did on my television show - terry cloth pillows!
These pillows from the magazine are made with Pucci washcloths and tea towels and they said you could find them for between $2 and $5. Good luck with that. You can still find fun printed towels at thrift shops and bright solids, which can be found anywhere, can be fun too. The process to make them is super simple. Just stitch them together around all the edges with wrong sides together. If you're feeling ambitious you can make them a little more special by stitching them together with right sides in and putting a velvet welt in the seam as shown above. Leave a 5 - 6" opening at the bottom for stuffing and when stuffed, just stitch the opening up. You can stuff them with polyfill or if you'd like to be frugal, do what we did on the show and use old nylons that have been laundered. The nylons won't rot if they get wet by the pool.

Another charming project is a terry cloth tea cozy.
It's made from two printed washcloths and backed with batting and lightweight cotton. You can use an insulating fabric for more heat retention, if you prefer. Stitch around the pattern for a trapunto effect.

The piece de resistance of these projects from 1968 is the terry cloth covered mirror frame.
This one is a little more complicated. It's made up of 7 different brightly colored wash cloths that have been cut into rectangles and wrapped around a plywood frame. I just love how it looks, don't you?

You'll need:

7 washcloths, each in different bright colors
2 18" square pieces of 3/4" plywood
12 decorative nails with 3/4" heads
8 1 1/4" finishing nails
1 8x8" mirror
12 large head tacks
Aileen's tacky glue
18" of decorative chain to coordinate with your decorative nails
2 3/4" round head wood screws and washers

Draw lines 3" in from the edge of one of the plywood pieces and then cut out the resulting 12" hole. On the second piece draw a line 6" in and cut out the resulting 6" hole. On bottom frame, draw a line 2" in from edges. this designates where the fabric will end. Extend the inner edges of the cuts with lines drawn out to the outer edges of the bottom and top frames. On the top frame, draw lines bisecting the center of each side.

The corners of the bottom frame will take 4" squares of terry. The sides will take 6" squares. Mix and match your colors for a pleasing effect. It's best to plan the arrangement out in advance to avoid having colors overlap between the top and bottom frames. Cut the squares of terry out carefully making sure the edges are straight. The fabric is too thick to seam in place, so the raw edges will be exposed. Using the tacky glue, glue down the corners on the bottom frame first, following the guide lines you drew on the wood. Then move on to the edge pieces and carefully glue them down and wrap the edges around to the back of the frame. Set the bottom frame aside to dry and move on to the top frame. The corners of the top frame will be 6" squares, the edges of the bottom frame will be 6x8" pieces. Repeat the process of glueing the pieces down to the face of the frame, but only wrap the fabric around the inner opening edges, don't wrap the fabric around to the back on the outer edge.

After your glued frames have dried completely you can connect the two with the finishing nails. Nail the frames together in the four inside corners and on the seam lines between the fabrics along the edges. Keep the nails close to the edge. Turn the frames over and carefully wrap the loose edges of the top fabric around both layers of plywood and glue them in place. After they dry you can attach the decorative nails to the front at each inner seam edge covering the finishing nails used to hold the frames together. Place the mirror over the opening in the back and hold it in place with the large head tacks. The last step is to attach the chain using the round head screws and washers. Screw it into the back corners and hang your mirror!

Vicky Howell had a fun terry cloth project on her blog recently. Have a look at that one too!