by Laura Pifer, Trash to Couture

Flour Sack Towels are a great material to embroider on. I use them often to make custom tea towels as gifts. I wanted to make an embroidered dress for my niece using this new release: Shine Bright by Penguin & Fish available from Scissortail Stitches, and I thought why not use a flour sack towel? The material is soft, lightweight, and 100% cotton which is ideal for children’s clothing. Actually back in the day, they use to print patterns on flour sacks so mothers could repurpose the material into dresses and stuffed animals once the flour sack was all used. Get the details below to make your own.


  • Shine Bright by Penguin & Fish #90007 Embroidery Collection
  • OESD PolyMesh CutAway or AquaMesh WashAway stabilizer
  • Flour Sack Towels (I use Aunt Martha’s brand)
  • Isacord Embroidery Thread
  • Lace fabric or trim for sleeves
  • Pattern or clothing to draft patter
  • Bias tape to finish edges


You can begin with embroidery but it’s a good idea to know where you want the pattern. I embroidered the flour sack first and cut around the pattern. You can cut the pattern out and then embroider the pattern piece as well. You should construct the dress after embroidery. Hoop a water-soluble stabilizer or PolyMesh Stabilizer to the back of the flour sack. You will want something soft on the back so it won’t irritate skin.

Construct the dress: (this dress doesn’t show the embroidery but the steps to construct the dress).

Note there are no measurements, you will need to use the child’s garment as a base to draft the pattern. The neckline and sleeves should be 2-3″ larger in width since we will use elastic to gather the neckline.

Stitch the sleeves right sides together to each arm opening. Repeat for the back and other side as well.

Once sleeves are sewn flip the neckline and sleeves under 1/2″ and press. Stitch just 1/8″ above the raw edge to create a casing for the elastic leaving a 2″ gap in the center back to bring the elastic through.

Use 1/4″ elastic with a safety pin and glide the elastic through. The measurement should be whatever is comfortable for the child (usually 4″ + smaller than the neckline measurement). Once both ends are out, zig-zag stitch the elastic ends together. Stitch the opening closed.

The other dress was just a basic bodice dress and I used bias tape to finish the edges and a slit down the back with a button for closure.

Now I kind of giggle when I say this was from a flour sack towel but it’s a blast from the past.

This material is © OESD, LLC and may not be reproduced or published without permission.