Fabric Trimmed Towel – Overcast Foot “G”

January 6, 2017By Joanne BankoFoot of the Month, Home Decor, Sewing 63 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to freshen up your home with budget friendly updates. How about updating your décor with new bath towels? Trim a hand towel with simple strips of fabric and then accent with an appliqué using instructions from our coordinating Free Design project. Use the foot of the month, Overcast foot “G” to sew the seams of the fabric strips and you’ll have a durable and attractive finished product.

Materials and Supplies:

Measure and cut for each towel as follows:
To figure the length of each strip, measure across the width of your towel, add 2-inches and record the number for your strip length. Using this measurement cut one center strip 1½-inches wide and two outer strips 2-inches wide.

Tip: Choose your towel first, based on your desired bath décor. Take the towel with you when you shop for fabric. You can select three coordinating prints that compliment the towel and your color scheme by choosing prints that include your most prominent bath colors. This project features one print that “reads’ as a solid so that the added appliqué appears to float on the background. There is no right or wrong way to choose your fabrics, select prints that you like and you’ll be happy with the finished project.

Instructions for Trimming Towel

  1. Embroider the appliqué piece following instructions in our Free Design of the Month companion project, Embroidered Appliqués on Towels. Set aside temporarily.
  2. Set up machine for sewing with foot “G,” selecting the overcast stitch and settings shown in Figure #1.
Figure #1
  1. Select the three coordinating strips.


  1. With right sides together and long raw edges matching, sew center strip to one of the outer strips.
    See Figure #2.
Figure #2
Tip: The selected stitch is designed to sew the seam and overcast the raw edges all in one step. When using foot “G” it’s important to keep the raw edge of the fabric up against the long toe on the right hand side of the presser foot while stitching. Stitches that are specifically designed to use with this foot will form over the pin located toward the back of this long toe. In addition, this pin ensures that the stitch wraps over the raw edge without puckering the narrow seam allowance.
  1. Sew the remaining outer strip to the center strip. Press seam allowances toward outside edges. See Figure #3.

 Figure #3

  1. Press under ½-inch on each long edge and position along lower edge of towel. See Figure #4.
Figure #4
  1. Turn under short raw edges and trim excess if needed. Pin strip to towel and use a straight stitch to secure short edges. See Figure #5.
Figure #5
  1. Set machine for sewing with foot “N.” Choose an open stitch that moves from the center and then to the right and the left of center. See Figure #6.
Figure #6
  1. To anchor the fabric strip to the towel, sew along each folded edge with center of foot “N” positioned along folded edge of the fabric.
    Finish sewing strip by sewing along each seam with center of foot positioned along the seam.
    1. Pin prepared appliqué piece in center of strip. Attach to towel using a narrow zigzag or a blanket style stitch, setting the stitch width to catch the finished edge of the piece. Use foot “N” or use a clear view foot for better visibility. See below:


  1. Press the finished piece. See Figure #7. You are finished! Enjoy!
Towel Figure #7
Figure #7


  • Love this column! Well written, informative, concise, and the pictures make it easy to understand. Pretty project, too!

    • Thanks Susan! Joanne brings us one every month! We have a few others already on the blog with more to come!
      Please be sure to stop by next month for more!
      Many thanks,

  • Thanks again for the project information. So good to have these great emails with info on using our wonderful Brother machines. “A Brother like no other”.

  • I love this project. Please keep me on the e-mail list for your projects. I have an SE400 but am having trouble downloading designs to the machine from my computer. I haven’t figured out what I am doing wrong yet. When I learn that I know I will be ready for an upgrade in machines.

  • I appreciate tips like this because I learn how to use another one of my sewing feet and also a smart project to do later. My Dream Machine came with so much stuff, I still haven’t used all of the attachments, but I’m working on it. Thanks Brother.

    • Hi Tralyn,
      Thank you for your note! When it comes to sewing and embroidery I believe there is no such thing as knowing too much. Of course we all have to take things one step at a time but it’s great to save the instructions for future use and build a reference file either on paper or in a digital form. The Dream Machine is a never ending playground of possibilities!!!

  • Wow it is about time you gave ladies some guides on how to use different feet and the stiches to use. Good selling tool. The more you teach people the more your products will be used. The more you will sell. Good move. Keep it up. I hope you can do this on a monthly bases.

    • Hi Pam! Thank you for writing. Stay tuned, we have more great projects and tutorials for you. The variety of Stitching Sewcial specialists on the blog will continue to help you make the most of your machine.

  • While attractive to look at, it seems like a lot of work. I also wonder of what use is it?
    I have a question re: monogramming.
    I embroidery initials onto a garment. I used embroidery thread in a slightly deeper color than pattern on fabric. However it doesn’t show enough and my question is:
    Can I embroider over the same initials again, in a darker thread. I have left the item in the
    machine with the hoop still in place and kept initials info. in ‘memory’?

    • Hello Esther, thanks for writing. A towel with cotton appliqué trim looks pretty but is also quite usable. The embroidery does not go through to the back of the towel so it stays soft and you can still dry your hands on it. This small hand towel can be made from start to finish in a small amount of time too!

      To answer your question on the monogram letters, yes, you can usually stitch over it a second time without any issues. Just be sure you don’t distort the fabric in the hoop. Even a slight movement will cause the second stitching to be off-set. If you need to remove the hoop from the machine I aways recommend handling the hoop carefully by the touching just the outer edges. Feel free to write again if you need more help. Happy Stitching!

  • When I first saw this project, I couldn’t figure out how you had managed to find fabric that matched the orangish towel exactly until I read the instructions and saw that is was regular fabric very close in color to the towel that was used for the middle strip and the appliqued square. The design for both this smaller towel and the bigger ones are terrific as it means no hooping the hoops themselves that no matter how carefully you hoop them, the hoop may pop out and you lose your whole project. The towels would look great with a monogram as the middle or single motif as well.

    • Hi Gailete, thanks for you note. It’s always easier to match fabric to your chosen blank rather than the other way around, especially when it comes to quilt cottons since they are so readily available.
      Your idea for an added monogram is great! Monogrammed towels are always welcomed. And yes, this method does avoid the dreaded “hoop pop.” Plus, I think it’s fun to add a fabric accent to an otherwise plain towel.

    • Hi Linda,

      If we have a post using the foot in question it will come up when you do a search of our Blog, there is a search box in the upper right hand corner of the blog that says “Type and press enter to search”. We try to tag all posts with all feet used and all names that these feet might be called. If you don’t find the foot you are looking for, please leave a comment so we can add it to the list for future Foot-of-the-Month projects and we will do just that!!

      Many thanks!

  • Thank you for showing how some of the Brother stitches/feet are used. I hope there will be more articles like this one.

    • Hi Lois,
      Yes! There will be more! We have will be having a Foot-of-the-Month post…every month! So, please come back and see the great tips that Joanne shows us! Thank you for stopping by and Welcome to Stitching Sewcial!!

  • I have not decorated towels because I do not like the look of the back of the towel, and I know guests look at the back, too. This method solves that problem, and gives a really nice looking towel. Bravo.

    • You are right on target Kathy! This keeps the terry looks intact on the opposite side of the towel so it is attractive but still quite usable . . . that is if your guests dare to dry their hands on it LOL!
      Thanks for writing, I appreciate your comments!

      • I meant to say keeps the terry LOOPS, not (looks) intact. When the terry cloth is covered with a large area of embroidery stitching you lose the thirsty nature of a terry cloth towel.

  • Thank you for the great explanation on how to use this foot along with images of how it should look in a project! My Brother sewing machine manual provides easy to understand instructions for settings, etc, but not necessarily how to incorporate the sewing feet and stitches into sewing projects. I look forward to future articles on how to properly use those other mysterious feet that came with my machine and their related stitch settings.

    • I appreciate your comments Joann! There are always so many ways to use accessories beyond the basics. Specific projects give you a real reason to try out a technique and discover the “why” behind the “what!”

  • I love this! Had my SE400 for a while but just had not really got into the embroidery…I did a little bit on it, but never really got into it…recently, I got enticed by a quilting friend who showed me some embroidery pcs she had worked on…well I was hooked…been trying to do just practice pcs…nothing to be used, just to see what they look like…again…I am hooked…tried to purchase some new designs, but have not been successful in loading them on my machine…but I plan to do this project of the towels for my bathroom…really looking forward to seeing and working more projects…

    • Hello Elaine,
      At this time Joanne is doing all of our Foot-of-the-Month articles as written posts with printable instructions (there is a PRINT button at the bottom of the article in case you didn’t see it.) Perhaps down the road we will be able to arrange some time with Joanne at a studio for some video sessions, but at this moment these will continue on as written posts.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and inquire and please, come again to Stitching Sewcial soon!

  • That looks quite interesting and easy to do. It certainly dresses up a towel matching nicely!
    Thank you.

    • Hi Noel,
      I couldn’t agree more. If you only knew how much reference material I have around my house…desk… OY BOY!
      At the bottom of the article, just below the last line “You are finished! Enjoy!” there is a button marked “PRINT”. If you click this, a print box should pop up giving you the option to either Print, make a PDF or email the article… so… Print Away!!

      Thank you for your comment and come again to Stitching Sewcial!!

  • What a wonderful idea to give us tutorials on these sewing feet. I loved the instructions!! GOOD JOB BROTHER!

    • Hi Velia! Be sure to come by each month for another installment of out Foot-of-the-Month Series!!
      Thank you for your comment!

  • Than you, enjoy information that I can use for our community mission work helping the needy in our community.

  • I need to find more things to emboy. all I have are on machine and cd that came with machine. SE425. please help it has a place for card but can not find any or other cd’s

    • Hello Dawn,

      If you’re in the USA, have you see our website, http://www.iBroidery.com? We sell downloadable embroidery designs for Brother Embroidery Machines. Be sure to register your machine on the website. This will help the website alert you if you are about to purchase an embroidery design that is the wrong hoop size for he sewing machine you are intending to use it in.

      Happy Embroidering!

    • Hi Sheri, the Brother model in the photos is the Dream2 XV8550D. Foot G is the featured foot. I’d like you to know that this handy foot comes standard with many Brother machine models. You can Identify the foot easily because there is a “G” engraved right on the foot itself. You can also check the listing of included parts in your machine manual to see if it came with your machine.

  • I’am absolutely thrilled at the step by step tutorials….because I’am more of a visual person and these are fantastic.
    And yes!!…….I look forward to learning more about what each foot does.
    I’ve bought a NQ3500D……loving it so far!….. but want to do more.

    • Hi Chris! There’s a lot to love about your Brother NQ3500, that’s for sure!
      Thanks for writing . . . stay tuned there is a whole lot more great information coming your way on the official Stitching Sewcial Brother blog!

  • Very clever embellishment! Is a good way to brighten up bathroom. Could you post a .pdf of the projects. Would love to save this for later use. Thanks, Mary

    • Hello Mary,

      So glad you enjoyed Joanne’s project! If you scroll to the bottom of the page, there is a PRINT button at the bottom of the article. If you click this button, a window will pop up that gives you the option to Print, Save as PDF or share this blog post. This is onthe bottom of every Blog Post for your convenience, so save away!!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and inquire and please, come again to Stitching Sewcial soon!

  • I thought you might like to know that the two printed fabrics in this project were designed to coordinate as part of a group of fabrics. However, the fabric I used for the appliqué was in a totally different section of the fabric store, proving that it pays to “hunt” around for just the right piece! And, while you may not use every color in the print, it’s usually pleasing to the eye if you pick three colors to repeat and tie a color scheme together.

    I’m glad so many of you enjoyed this budget friendly bath project to begin the new year!!!

  • Hello Clara,

    I actually created this on the Brother Dream machine using VERY basic stitches. The overcast foot and the overcast stitch shown in figure #1 are part of the standard menu in MANY of the Brother machine models. You might also be interested to know that the coordinating free embroidery design project fits in a 4-inch hoop, making this project suitable for a TON of different Brother machines!

  • Beautiful work Joanne,
    You are very inspiring. Do you think I can do this with my Brother NQ3500D? I know your machine has many more whistles and bells. It is top of the line. Mine does sewing and embroidery too. Thank you for sharing.:)

  • Hi Debra! Thank you so much for your kind words! My answer for you is yes, yes, and YES!!! You can re-create this exact project on your Brother NQ3500D. You have the same presser feet pictured here and the same embroidery shapes built in to your machine. You also have the patchwork stitch featured in figure#6. Have fun making your own decorative towels!

    • Thank you Joanne. So kind of you to take the time to respond. You are so nice and very,very talented. Thank you for the info😊

    • Hi Shirley,

      Which sewing machine do you have? Do you mean how to put the extension table on?
      Thanks for a bit more information!


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