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How to make a Kitchen Towel Scarf (Kitchen Boa) No pattern needed

How often do have you had a soggy, dish towel on your shoulder while you’re cooking? Or you just couldn’t find a dishtowel when you needed one? The kitchen towel scarf, also known as a kitchen boa has kitchen towels at the ends to ensure you always have a dishcloth at the ready. We normally think of feather boas on showgirls but this DIY kitchen towel boa is quite different and so practical that both men and women will welcome wearing one because it’s a towel, a potholder, and a fashion statement all in one.

how to make kitchen towel scarf

When you need to dry your hands, take a pot off the stove, or wipe out a bowl, the tea towel scarf draped around your neck is perfectly placed to use.  By following our easy step-by-step tutorial, you can soon make your own kitchen towel scarf.

Make one for your partner to wear when doing a barbeque, make one (or two) for yourself, and make for your friends. They are guaranteed to become one of the most useful items you’ll make this year. The DIY kitchen towel boa has pleated tea towel pieces at the end making clean up a cinch, and a soft cotton piece that goes around the neck.

kitchen towel scarf

Below you will find my step by step written tutorial with VIDEO instructions for all the visual learners.

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How to make a Kitchen Boa / Scarf

kitchen towel scarf holding baking pan

Supplies and tools

kitchen towel scarf supplies

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How to Sew a Kitchen Scarf or Boa

Watch the diy kitchen scarf video first and then follow the written step by step instructions below.
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How long should a kitchen boa be?

These will depend on the height of the person you are making it for, and the width of the tea towel you are using. For a non-directional print, and for an average person’s height cut a piece of fabric that is 40 inches wide x 11 inches in height and set it aside. For a tall person you can use a 48-inch fabric width and cut it to the length required. (You can find instructions for directional prints in our FAQ section.)

  • The finished size of my kitchen towel scarf is 69″ (175cm)


STEP 1: Choose a towel

First off, you’ll need to choose a soft absorbent cotton kitchen towel in a fairly dark color.
We like darker colors as they do not show up every little mark like white or cream. A flat weave, waffle weave or light terrycloth towel are perfect rather than a proper hand towel which could get rather bulky when pleated. Once you have the tea towel you plan on using you can choose a fabric for the neck part with a print that picks up the color of the tea-towel or dishcloth.

STEP 2: Cut the printed fabric

Cut the printed fabric to the length you require and if using a standard tea towel to a width of 11 inches (28 cm) and set aside.

cutting fabric for the kitchen towel scarf

STEP 3: Cut the towel

Fold the tea towel in half along its length and cut along the fold. Press both pieces flat with your iron.

STEP 4: Fold the towel

We are going to be folding the towel into thirds – for other variations see our FAQ section. Lay the half dish towel, right side down on your work top, with the cut edge towards the top of the worktop, then fold in three, once from the left and once from the right, and press the folds in place with an iron.

STEP 5: Make pleats

Open out the dishtowel and fold the right-hand side edge back to meet the pressed fold. Secure in place with a clip or pin. Fold the left-hand side so the edge meets the fold and the new folds meet up neatly in the middle.

measuring the width of the dishtowel

STEP 6: Pin in place

Clip in place then press the new folds.

STEP 7: Mark the printed fabric

Take the piece of printed fabric you cut and mark the center along the 11-inch (28 cm) side at either end. You can do this with a pin, a fabric marking pen or by cutting out a small V in the fabric. Next, fold along the length of 36 inches(91cm), or 48inches (122cm) in half, then make two marks, or small notches, or place pins, two inches on either side of the center. This is to create a gap in the seam to allow you to turn the boa once you have finished stitching it together.

STEP 8: Stitch towel to fabric

Lay the long piece right side up on the worktop. Place the one-half towel that has been folded and stitched with the raw edge to the raw edge of the fabric, lining up the center of the towel with the center of the fabric, folded side uppermost.

kitchen towel scarf matching the centers of towel and fabric

Run a line of stitching from the end of the tea towel to the other end – 5 inches (12.7 cm), simply to hold the towel in place in the center of the fabric.

stitched towel to fabric

Repeat with the other end of the fabric and the other towel.

STEP 9: Stitch

Fold up the sides of the printed fabric. You made a ½ inch (12mm) seam allowance, when it was cut, but this may alter depending on the thickness of the dishcloth you are using, so, we wrap up the sides and use a pin to determine where the seam should be stitched, then pin or clip along the length to ensure the sides of the fabric lie flat and the seam is even.

stitching in process

STEP 10: Stitch the center seam

Ensure the dish towel pieces on either end are moved to the side when you stitch the seam all along the length leaving the gap you marked open, backtacking on either side of the gap and at the start and finish of the seam.

leaving a gap along the length of the kitchen towel scarf

Press the seam open with your iron taking care not to press the sides of the fabric.

pressing open the center seam of the kitchen scarf

STEP 11:

Flatten your end pieces, taking care that no ends of the dish towel have flipped up and will get caught when you stitch across the end ½ inch (12mm) from the edge, to fasten the dishtowel to the printed fabric, back tacking at start and finish.

stitched ends of the kitchen boa

Repeat step 12 at the other end of the scarf.

STEP 12: Turn around

Turn the scarf the right way out by pulling the fabric through the gap.

turning rights side out the kitchen boa

Press flat, tucking in the raw edges of the seam which runs through the middle on the underside of the scarf.

STEP 13: Stitch the gap closed

Slip stitch the gap closed, and the scarf is ready to use, or package as a gift.

If you don’t feel like handsewing, edgestitch the gap closed with your sewing machine.

closing the gap of the kitchen scarf

STEP 14: Topstitch to finish

Topstitch 1/4″ (6mm) from the seam where you stitched the dishtowel to the scarf

topstitched kitchen scarf

That’s it your kitchen towel scarf is ready!

kitchen scarf to topstitch

Kitchen towel scarf FAQs, Tips and Troubleshooting:

Q: Can I gather the dish towel rather than pleating it?

A: Yes.

When you have cut the dish towel in half simply run a basting stitch along the edge 3/8 inch from the edge.  You can do this by hand, or set your machine to 4 – the longest stitch and then gently pull the threads to create an even gather that measures 5 inches across. Reset your machine to your average stitch length – 2 to 2 ½ and stitch to hold the gathers in place, then proceed from Step 9 to Step 14

Q Can I fold the towel in fourths rather than thirds?

A: Yes, you can, just substitute these step for Steps 4 to 6 in the tutorial above.

Step A

Lay the half tea towel right side down on your work top, with the cut edge towards the top of the worktop, then fold across the width and mark the central point with a pin or a fabric pen, before opening it out again. We are going to be folding the towel into 4

Step B

Fold the sides in toward the centre, lining up the edges and press in the folds with an iron.

Step C

Now open the fold on each side of the centre and fold back to the edge. Press the folds in place.

Step D

For the final fold, take the folded sides and fold the total piece in towards the centre, making sure they meet neatly in the middle, clip or pin, then press.

Step E

Stitch across the pleats simply to hold them in place 3/8 inch from the edge. If you used a standard 20 x 27-inch (51 x 68.5 cm) towel, after being folded it should be 5 inches (12.7cm).  Repeat Steps A to E with the other half of the dish towel.

diy kitchen towel scarf

Q: Can I attach a hanging loop so I can hang up the scarf?

A: Yes. Follow this method.

  1. From a scrap of the printed fabric cut a piece that is 5 inches long and 1 inch wide.
  2. Fold in half along the length and press.
  3. Open out the fold and turn in each side to meet up at the center fold – press in place.
  4. Stitch along the both the long edges as close to the edge as possible.
  5. Fold the finished piece in half and pin inside the gap you left when you created the scarf, placing the folded loop with the pieces touching each other on either side of the central mark, with the raw edges to the raw edges and the loop facing inside the gap.
  6. Stitch with a machine ¼ inch from the edge to secure the loop ends to the edge of the seam, back tacking at start and finish.
  7. Turn in the raw edges, making sure the loop stays outside the seam. Slip stitch or machine stitch the gap closed, and you’ll have a loop to hang up the DIY kitchen scarf.

The DIY kitchen scarf had handy towels on either end – wear round you neck like a boa and never have to search for a kitchen towel again while you cook, bake or grill.

The kitchen scarf has multiple uses for wiping hands, using as a pot holder, wiping up the odd spill, or drying out a dish before using. They can be custom made to suit all tastes and besides being super useful for indoor cooks, they also make a perfect gift for the man who loves to barbeque – especially if you make the DIY kitchen boa in the colors of his favorite sport team. They are also super handy when you go camping.

If you loved making this kitchen boa that is a towel, a potholder, and a fashion statement! All in one then hit the subscribe button to have more clever step-by-step tutorials delivered straight to your inbox.

Do you like this? Pin for later:

kitchen scarf over the oven handle

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 24 comments
Lynne - April 2, 2022

Genius! Thank you!

    Helen - April 3, 2022

    Thank you, I’m glad you like it so much Lynne

martha bryan hinton - April 3, 2022

I made this before. I would have a suggestion is to make it a pot holder scarf, instead of using a towel. I would think this idea will add to the protection of ones hands. I just haven’t gotten out there to buy a cheaper pot holder that I could put my hands inside. I hope that you can play with this idea, same material at the top.

Martha Hinton

    Helen - April 3, 2022

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing Martha

    Susan Ramsay - June 26, 2022

    That’s the first thing I thought of, too.

Teach15 - April 5, 2022

This is a wonderful idea but I do have a suggestion. I cut a 12” width x 84-90” based on width of fabric. After cutting the towel in half, open the half towel completely and match the ends of the towel to the short ends of fabric. At this point you can work the fabric in anyway you want. What I do is I make a pleat in the towel so it fits perfectly in that space. Then I stitch. Then fold the fabric right sides together with the towels already sewn on. Stitch from one end of where the fabric meets the towel to the other end. Turn the towel and then topstitch.

I find this is an easier method and there is no hand stitching.
I have made several of your patterns.

    Helen - April 7, 2022

    Great idea, Teach 15. Thanks for sharing. I try to avod hand sewing as much as possible, so I just machine sew the gap. This part is not visible and is not directly rubbing against the neck
    I’m so glad to hear you like my patterns

Kim Carberry - April 12, 2022

This is such a genius idea. I am always wiping my hands on my clothes, this would be a great help for me. x

Carmen - May 28, 2022

I love this idea, think I will add a pocket or two, it never fails there will be something on the counter that doesn’t belong there. Or to keep something handy in the pocket.

    Helen - May 30, 2022

    Great idea, Carmen! Thanks for sharing

Michelle - May 29, 2022

This is so clever!


Rhondda Mol - May 30, 2022

Hi Helen, This is such a great idea! I much prefer this to an apron – especially since it is often difficult to find aprons for plus-size people like me 🙂 I think my husband’s parents would also like this idea. Thank you for linking up at our weekly Link Party! You are being featured at our Wednesday Party #453 this week. Here’s the direct link to the post in case you’d like to share your feature:
Hope to see you again next week! Rhondda

Grandma's House DIY - May 31, 2022

Thanks for sharing with us – I’ll be featuring you this week when the next To Grandma’s house we go link party starts!

LydiaF - June 1, 2022

This is a great project that would be great for gifts or to make for craft bazaars, etc. Thanks for sharing with us at Creatively Crafty #ccbg 🙂

Emma T - June 1, 2022

I’ve never heard of these, but I’m one of those who cooks with a tea towel over the shoulder, so it would make sense. #pocolo

Niki ~ Life as a LEO Wife - June 1, 2022

I need one of these! There’s never a towel close enough when you need it. I’ll be featuring it on tomorrow’s Crafty Creators. You can come by & grab your “I was featured” button. If you’re following me on social media, let me know and I’ll feature you there as well.

    Helen - June 2, 2022

    Aw, that’s amazing. Thank you Nikki, I appreciate it

chickenruby - June 5, 2022

What a fab idea, I usually tuck one in my waist band. I used to have over the shoulder oven gloves similar to that design. Thanks for linking with #pocolo

    Helen - June 6, 2022

    It works great, doesn’t it! Thanks for the kind words

Susan Ramsay - June 26, 2022

Seems like a great idea, but like one commenter said, “i’d rather have a potholder on the end.” I think a fringed towel would be a fire hazard if you have a gas stove.

Victoria Addington - August 1, 2022

I liked how this post pointed out that darker color towels won’t make the little marks obvious. That’s probably why my mother wants us to use vintage flour sack kitchen towels. I should tell her to go for it to fit with our vintage-themed kitchen.

martha hinton - October 8, 2022

Dear Helen,

I have made a towel scarf before. This is what I did: I made my tube completely closed off, down the center seam. Then I added my towel to both ends, because I turned it up at least 1/2 inch. This worked very well for me. That way I did not have to do any turning and finishing off the center seam.

Here is my brain storm. How one may add oven mitts to the tube. Because the towel will allow heat to pass to the hands very fast. I am going to play with this idea.


    Helen - October 10, 2022

    Thanks for the tip Martha. I prefer to leave a gap and turn the whole thing around as it leaves a much neater finish of the ends. Of course there is more than one way to do this, and some might find yours easier.
    AS for adding mitt ovens – such a thing exists and is called double oven mitts. Look it up and I’m sure you’ll be able to assemble it

John Carston - December 30, 2022

I’m glad you talked that you could benefit from having a cloth to help you with your cooking process. My aunt informed me last night that she was looking for an environment-friendly dishcloth that she will use for her kitchen use and daily dishes. Thanks to this informative article, I’ll tell her that she can try buying the Swedish dishcloth as they are 100% natural.


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