• Sunday , 24 September 2017

French Proverbs Embroidery – Kitchen Towels


I was running a bit early on my way to pick up hubby at the airport, so I decided to pop into the fabric store for a few minutes. I have some ideas that I’ve been kicking around for kitchen towel designs, and the store is relatively close. Besides, I had a half hour to kill.

French Proverbs Embroidery FabricIn the utility fabric area I found some kitchen towel fabric that I have not seen before. The fabric is is produced by Moda, and is a much heavier weight than standard toweling. It just felt good  – heavy and of good quality, not flimsy and thin. The fabrics are Panier De Fleur ROT Flax Sc 920 151 and Panier De Fleur ROT Oys Sca 920 152.

Granted, I haven’t been in this section for a while because years ago I bough several yards each of the basic stuff with the stripes along each side in multiple colors – like the third bolt from the left in the image shown to the right – and I had to use that up before purchasing more toweling.

But this fabric is special – it reminded me of the vintage tea towels I spotted at flea markets in France while my hubby and I were there for a long stint for business reasons. Since that was one of my favorite life experiences, I just had to get some of it.

NK_TowelFabric2In honor of my wonderful – yet much too brief – stay in France, I’ve created the French Proverbs Embroidery Kitchen Towels pattern. It reminds me of the length of time I spent exploring my “second home…”

The design in simple, and is worked in just two colors. The towel fabric is much too pretty to clutter with a busy design.

These proverbs translate roughly to: “Happiness is worth more than riches” and “Enough is as good as a feast.”

I hope you enjoy them…

Materials Needed:

  • 1 yard of 16-inch wide cotton toweling per towel
  • 1 skein each of DMC Embroidery Floss in 304 Medium Red, 644 Medium Beige Gray and Ecru
  • size 9 or 10 embroidery needles
  • embroidery hoop
  • water-soluble fabric marking pen or pencil


Download the PDF Pattern for the French Proverbs Kitchen Towels.

Pre-wash the towels to remove the starchy coating. Hem each cut end by folding under 1 inch twice at each end of the towel. Hand or machine stitch the hem using sewing thread to match the towel.

Transfer the design to the fabric using a water-soluble fabric marking pencil or pen. Place the fabric in the embroidery hoop.

Use 2 strands of 6-strand floss,  embroider the designs in stem stitch and lazy daisy stitch, filling the center of the lazy daisy with a cluster of French knots. Refer to the Hand Embroidery Stitches page for diagrams or instructions for working the embroidery stitches.

I’ve used color 304 Medium Red for the flowers, stems, leaves and text, accented with French knot centers worked in Ecru on the darker towel and 644 Medium Beige Gray on the lighter towel. The colors tie them together as a set.

Remove the pattern markings by laundering the items before use.


  1. Ann G.
    April 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    How did you know that was next project!! I received a kit with towels and thread, but I did not like the patterns. Too country…not my style nor the style of the recipient. I am disabled and at home, and I think my gifter wanted to help keep me busy. But this is a great alternative. Thank you so much!! I have the colors I need, and will save the kit thread for another time. Great website!!

  2. cathy@My1929Charmer
    April 9, 2014 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Hi, while are the towels 36″ long each, seems long for a towel. I’m probably missing something?

    • Editor Needleknowledge
      April 9, 2014 at 2:43 pm - Reply

      You’ll be turning up the ends 1-inch twice, which takes away 4 inches from the cut length for a finished length of 32 inches. Plus, they may shrink a bit – and I like them a bit longer than standard – but you can make them any length you choose – or even use a longer piece and make a table runner.

Share Your Thoughts