Thrifty Thursday: Reusable Kitchen Roll

As the cost of living increases here in the UK I thought I’d share some of my top DIYs to help keep costs and wastage down. Growing up with a Make do and Mend mantra and a Dad who grew up during WW2, I learned how to mend most things and definitely make do with what we had, or reuse items where we could.

This project is an oldie but a goodie: Reusable Kitchen Roll.

It’s been at least 7 years since I last bought kitchen roll and I really don’t miss it. This tutorial will show you how to make your own custom kitchen roll sheets, either individually like napkins or how to join them and add to a roll.

You can use towelling fabric or just cut up an old towel. I like to back my kitchen roll in flannel/winceyette (you can use an old sheet or buy new) or you could use cotton/polycotton of your choice. This is a great way of using up Fat Quarter packs that you’ve added to your stash and don’t know what to do with.

Firstly you need to decide how big to make your sheets. I based mine on a medium sized roll so that my finished sheets would fit in my old kitchen roll dispenser.

So my sheets are 30cm by 30cm.

Next I made a pattern piece, this is really very simple. Draw out your desired size and add you seam allowance around all 4 sides of the square/rectangle.

Then you need to cut out as many pieces as you’d like to make in your towelling fabric and your backing fabric. I’d advise pre-washing any fabrics you’re going to use on a hot a wash as you intend to wash them in the future.

So there’s two ways of joining your backing and towelling fabric, right sides to right sides or using your overlocker to zoom around the outside edge.

If you don’t have an overlocker or don’t want an exposed edge follow method 1.

If you want to use your overlocker and don’t mind the look of an overlocked edge, follow method 2.

Method 1)

Lay a piece of your towelling right side facing a piece of your backing fabric. Pin/clip in place, making sure to mark a gap where we’ll turn your sheet out later.

Sew around the edge with your chosen seam allowance, leaving a gap for turning out.

Clip your corners and any bulk seam allowance. Turn your piece right side out.

Press, making sure to press the seam allowance of the gap to the inside, hiding the exposed edge and pin in place.

Top stitch with the backing fabric right side up, around your sheet.

Continue after Method 2

Method 2)

Place a piece of your towelling and a piece of your backing fabric wrong sides together and pin/clip in place.

Overlock all the way around the edge of your pieces, taking care to remove pins/clips as you go.


Continue below for both methods.

For added stablility, I like to sew from corner to corner diagonally in the shape of a big X. (see above photo). I used a chaco liner and my wooden rule to draw the lines and simply followed this line with a row of stitching, back stitching at either end.

If you’re just making napkin style sheets, you’re all done but if you’d like to be able to attach your reusable kitchen roll together in order to wrap it onto a tube, continue below.

Mark and attach snaps.

I pop my snaps in the corners of my sheets, I personally prefer to use plastic KAM snaps but they require special pliers which is a little extra outlay (but oh so handy as a long term investment).

We have lots of different colour snaps to match your theme, as well as clear ones if you’re not sure.

You could also use sew on snaps but I wouldn’t advise using the clamping press studs as the thickness of the towel/backing may be too thick for the prongs on these studs to get through.

Using KAM snaps, I mark where I want my snaps and then using a tailor’s awl, pop a hole through my sheet. I use 4 snaps per sheet (2 male, 2 female). Use your pliers to attach the snaps firmly.

Now, this is important!

Make sure you add a set of 2 male pieces on one side and then a set of 2 female snaps to the other. I like to have the snap side facing opposite ways so that I can snap my sheets together (see photos below, I’ve show one set in blue and one set in red as to demonstrate this.

Once your snaps are fitted, you can snap your sheets together and roll them around a tube. If you’d like them to stay on the tube neatly, you could snap a couple more snaps onto the tube like I have here.

I keep my dirty towels in a mesh, drawstring bag which is easy to run up. Maybe I’ll add that as a blog post at a later date, once the bag is full I just throw it in the washing machine and voila! Once dried I snap them all back together again.

Thanks for reading!

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