Making a simple waffle fabric towel

Pretty much every kid in Finland makes waffle fabric embroidery at some point at school. I remember loving this simple and effective project, where your imagination is the only limit for the pattern.

Whilst on holiday in Finland last week I was browsing in a fabric store (as you do on your holiday – doesn’t everyone?! Ha!) I saw some in a roll, felt nostalgic and picked some up to make couple of tea towels. If you fancy an easy project then look into this one. They are so simple to do – even a kid can make one! 🙂

I bought half a meter of waffle fabric and as it’s width was 80 cm, I could get two out of it (not bad for less than three euros?). You can find it cheaply on internet too, just google waffle fabric. I already had some embroidery thread at home, though you can use just normal cotton thread for these too. I used a darning needle that wasn’t sharp at the end.


I headed over to Pinterest for some inspiration for the pattern as it had been a while (20+ years..! Aargh!) since I made one of these! I found a lot of fun patterns and chose this one. If you are looking for inspiration, then head over to House of Harlow Pinterest board “Waffle embroidery”, where I have saved some good ones.

I left 10 squares from the bottom for turning in the hem and some extra space between the hem and embroidery and started my first row there.

First row is super simple – Just go straight! Leave a little tail so you can go back and finish it off later.


Second row is as hard as it gets! 😉 Start from 6th square above the first row and immediately go five squares down, then five left, five up and five down. And repeat until the end.


Time for the yellow. It has exactly the same dimensions as the second row, but upside down. Leave one square in between black thread and yellow thread and keep counting until five!


Fourth row is the same as third but upside down. Start directly above the other yellow row.


Fifth and sixth row are the same as the first two, but again upside down! Simple right? Just repeating same really.

Then go back to finish off those little tails. I just went up and down on the side as it gets covered by turning them in and sewing the sides so you won’t see them.


I then did exactly the same pattern at the other end of the towel.

To finish the tea towel off just pin all the sides by turning them twice, so they won’t fall apart in use and sew with straight stitch.


And that is it! This project took one evening to make whilst watching TV, so it’s really quick to do.

As waffle fabric is really absorbent and versatile you could also use these as hand towels in bathroom or instead of a muslin for a baby. You could even scale up and make bath towels. These would also make really personal housewarming present. Furthermore they are soooo durable – my mum still has mine in use from 20+ years ago!