Growing up we had ‘washandjes’ which translates to washing hands. These were so much easier to hold on to and the absolute norm in The Netherlands!
I must have been about 10 years old when as part of my birthday present a friend gave me a face cloth. A very pretty yellow one with flowers on it…I had to ask what it was! Just in case I believe face cloths are also called, wash cloths, face washers or flannels.
I have never made washandjes before I can’t really think of a good reason why! I have an old favourite towel given to Hannah by my Aunt visiting from The Netherlands when she was 4 months old. It has the cute fabric softener bear on it, huggie, snuggle or Robijn depending on where you are! Hannah has loved this towel over the years and after a trip or two to the beach, river and swimming pool it has a few marks that won’t come out. But I just couldn’t bear to throw it out. Even working around the marks I managed to make eleven washandjes out of one towel!
What you will need to make your own Washandje
- A towel (or towelling fabric)
- Ribbon or Cord (for hanging loops)
- Sewing machine – You can overlock if you like but definitely not needed!
Step 1 – Measure and Cut
It just so happens that a piece of A4 paper is just the right size to make a large washandje. Line up one long side with the finished edge of the towel, and cut out. It doesn’t matter if it is a wide or narrow finished edge.
You won’t need to hem the top edge this way. I will show the steps to finish the top edge too, check out Step 5. If you are not familiar with A4 paper it measures 21cm (8.3”) x 29.7cm (11.7”), it is a little longer and narrower than letter paper.
Step 2 – Fold, Pin and Sew
It really is that simple fold in half with the right sides facing and pin in place. Sew using a straight stitch using roughly a 1/4” seam allowance. I just use the edge of my presser foot as the guide.
Go around the raw edge with a zigzag stich to prevent them from fraying.
Step 3 – Turn and Finished!
Yep that really is it! All you need to do is turn it around the right way and you are finished!
These make great gifts and are nice and easy to use especially for little hands. With your hand inside it is much easier to wash then trying to hold onto the face cloth at the same time. To get a little more creative you can make these into animal shapes or make them with two different colour towels…who doesn’t love colour blocks!
Step 4 – Adding a Hanging Loop
You can also cut a piece of ribbon or cord for the hanging loop. This needs to be about 10cm (4”) long.
This will need to lay inside the folded fabric so it ends up on the outside of the washandje. Pin in place and sew as normal.
Step 5 – Finishing top raw edge
To make without using a finished top edge you need to leave a little extra at the top for folding over. I left about 2cm (4/5”) and that was plenty.
Zigzag the top edge (one of the long sides). You can overlock if you like…mine had black thread in it and I couldn’t be bothered re-threading it!
Fold over the zigzagged edge and pin in place. Mine is folded by about 1cm (3/8”).
Again I used the presser foot as a guide, sewing over the zigzag stitching near the edge of the fold. Make sure you are catching both layers!
And there you have a finished edge for the top! The rest sews just the same so follow the steps above.
Enjoy your washandjes!