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Coordinating Mismatched Towels

Most linen closets hold a few perfectly usable but mismatched towels. You can easily unify an assortment of solid-colored towels by sewing on washable, decorative ribbon that complements all the hues.




  • Washable decorative ribbon
  • Needle and thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Terry towels


  1. Step 1


    Baste ribbon onto the right side of the towel along the dobby trim that is woven into most terry towels, or at a similar distance from the edge, about 2 to 3 inches. Turn the ends of the ribbon under for a neat edge.

  2. Step 2

    On a sewing machine, secure the ribbon in place using a small zigzag stitch. The result is a multicolor matched set that is good for more years of service.

Martha Stewart Living, September 2001



Reviews (7)

  • 0senita 26 Jun, 2011

    Martha is just so full of wonderful ideas. I don't know if they come from her or her Team, but I'm just glad they are here. This is amazing!

  • redguide 2 May, 2008

    I did this with some towels for my new bathroom. We have a blue and yellow theme and for some quite cheap white hand towels, just so they would fit in I used pretty gingham ribbon, washed it first and then hemmed it on by hand. I am too fussy, I didnt use the machine I didnt want to see machine stitching....they are really pretty though and wash like a dream.

  • cfrench 2 May, 2008

    read the label on the ribbon package. Also pre wash the ribbon before sewing it to the towel and dry it in the dryer.

  • francesheller 2 May, 2008

    Good question. I was wondering that too.

  • Neena 2 May, 2008

    What kind of ribbon to make sure it doesn't shrink and is color-fast?

  • poohbear1125 1 May, 2008

    great idea to spruce up plain cheap towels . you can coordinate the ribbons to your bathroom colors. you can do this for your kitchen also!

  • dawngloss 1 May, 2008

    Those look so cute! I am definately going to do this. This would be great for brand new towels too to coordinate them with my bathroom (happens to have a cherries theme right now).