I went to grab a napkin the other day (remember when we made cloth napkins?) and noticed the paper towels. I got to thinking that surely they, too, could be replaced with a re-useable cloth alternative. And they most certainly can! Making these cloth “paper” towels is a quick project that makes great use of any random fabric scraps, plus they just look so much prettier than plain paper.

Prefold cloth diapers (the flat kind) make the perfect paper towel. They’re absorbent and easy to clean. If your cloth diapers are the correct width (most paper towels are about 11 inches wide) then you don’t need to cut them down. Unfortunately, mine were too wide so they all needed to be cut down to 11 inches wide. They were about 17 inches long, which works great so I didn’t bother cutting the length. I used a rotary cutter and mat, but scissors will certainly work throughout the project.


To make the cloth towels prettier, cut a piece of quilting fabric to match the size of your cloth diapers (for me this was 11×17).


Match up the right side (the side with the print) to the diaper. Pin along the edges.


Sew the two pieces together leaving a gap about 3 inches long.


Cut off extra fabric along the edges, taking care not to cut through the seam.


Turn the towel right-side-out by pulling it through the open gap.


Fold the edges of the gap inwards and sew along the edges of the entire towel.


Now they’re all sewn up. If you don’t want to roll them up on a traditional paper towel rack, you’re done. However if you plan to roll them up, it’s helpful if they all attach to one another and so we’ll add buttons.


Attach the button foot to your sewing machine. Measure where you want the buttons and mark on each towel. Sew buttonholes per your machines instructions – two on one edge of each towel.


Take scissors and cut open the buttonholes.


Measure and align the button placement to align properly with the holes, and then sew in place.


Now you can attach all of your towels together.


Roll around a paper towel roll and hang up. Just unbutton one when you need it and then button them all back together after washing. Pretty, sustainable, and handmade!