Five Tips for Embroidering Kitchen Projects

Picture of machine appliqued bell pepper by Sew Inspired by Bonnie

Do you like to embroider on kitchen towels and hot pads? These five tips help ensure that they have a long and productive life.

Whether for gifts or for ourselves, we often embroider things for the kitchen. They withstand a lot of use, excess heat, frequent laundering, and messy cleanup.

Your embroidered towels and pot holders will be workhorses, especially when you follow these guidelines.

Cotton is King

Cotton fabrics and towels, 100 percent cotton, hold up the best for utilitarian projects. Cotton will wear well, wash well, and stitches up beautifully. Blended textiles often stain more easily, snag, and show more wear than their cotton counterparts.

Prewash Towels? 

Picture of machine embroidered butterfly on kitchen boa


Do you prewash kitchen towels? I do, unless they are already pre-shrunk. Cotton is the fiber of choice but it can shrink. The towels that I used for the kitchen boa project, stitched with Bonnie's Wing Needle Butterflies, were washed and dried before assembly.

Microwave-Safe Batting

If you stitch bags to heat baked potatoes or ears of corn in the microwave, you cannot use just any batting. Pellon Wrap-N-Zap is microwave safe. Others may catch fire. Whether you are stitching a fabric bowl for heating fresh rolls or making a baked potato, the right batting makes a difference.

Poly or Cotton Thread?

Polyester thread is bleach resistant and wears better through repeated laundering. That makes it a good choice for embroidering table linens and dish towels.

For hot pads or items you will use in the microwave that could be exposed to high heat, you should use cotton thread.

Match the Decor


Picture of machine appliqued veggie by Sew Inspireed by Bonnie


Everybody has their own personal taste. See how Bonnie's Fun Time Veggies towels coordinates so well?  Hand-made gifts are even more special when the person making them takes taste and decor into consideration. A project is even more gorgeous when it is created to accentuate the recipient’s home.

What tips do you have for embroidering kitchen items?


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  • Bonnie Welsh - April 15, 2021

    Thank you ladies for wishing me well while I recover. This will pass and I’ll be up and running again soon I’m sure. I’m one of the lucky ones as I won’t need surgery on my shoulder if I “behave”. =)

  • Vonnie Sandland - April 15, 2021

    Sorry to hear about your mishap. Hope you are healing well. I know how you feel as i had rotator cuff repair on January 8th. I still have pain but I can tolerate it. My surgeon said that if I continue to have problems then it will be a new shoulder. I hope not. Take care. I also do not wash my towels as I use wash away on the back and front and then wash them

  • Lorie B. - April 15, 2021

    Hi Bonnie, I am so sorry to hear about your health issues.You are in my prayers. Hoping for a speedy recovery. Keep your head up and you can get back to work soon. We will miss you so please let us know how you are doing while you are recovering. Take care.

  • Carol Jenks - April 15, 2021

    So very sorry to hear about your mishap!! Prayers going up, Blessings coming down fir a super quick recovery!!

  • Bonnie Welsh - April 13, 2021

    Marie—Thank you for the well wishes. At least my shoulder will not need surgery. I just have to be patient which isn’t something I’m very fond of in these instances. lol

  • Marie Davis - April 13, 2021

    Bonnie I am so sorry. Will keep you in my prayers for a quick recovery. I do not wash my towels before embroidering them. I use the Florianni heat and gone on the top and wash away on the bottom.

  • Bonnie Welsh - April 13, 2021

    Dawn—It’s been a challenging couple of weeks for sure but I’m hopeful that I’ll be up and running again in no time. I like to think positive. =)

  • Bonnie Welsh - April 13, 2021

    Barbara—I agree that most often the design will hold the nap down but there are many designs with open areas and that’s where I prefer to use bridal tulle in a matching color to the towel. Heat ’n Gone is a great product for many instances. =)

  • Dawn Jennings - April 13, 2021

    Hi Bonnie, My goodness you have been in the wars! You wouldn’t be able to do machine embroidery with one arm and it sounds like you will be out of action for a while. Look after yourself, xxx Dawn Jennings

  • Barbara Lee - April 13, 2021

    Hi Bonnie, Sorry about your fall. With regard to Towels: I don’t like to wash if they are going to be gifts. I use Iron-a-way topping as after the towel is washed the nap of the towel does not show through the design sewn. In Australia I use Floriani Heat & Gone. x x x

  • Bonnie Welsh - April 12, 2021

    Judith—I wish that were a simple answer but it’s not. Stabilizers are not a “one size fits all” type of product. It’s more of a recipe of all the parts combined. Depending upon the content of the fabric you’re using combined with the density of the design will dictate the proper stabilizer to use along with any toppers. Generally speaking, for towels I like a tear away and a water soluble topper or matching fine bridal tulle if the towel has a nap to it. With a hot pad that’s already quite stable, I might use a sticky wash away, especially if the design was low in density such as an outline stitch which doesn’t need a log of stabilization. So you see stabilizers are a part of the recipe along with design density and fabric type. Hope this helps.

  • Judith Diani - April 12, 2021

    Favorite stabilizer?

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