How to Make A Huck Towel Pocket

Swedish Huck Towels

When a friend’s grandma was heading to the nursing home, I received a whole stack of these beautiful vintage towels. The colors were gorgeous and I loved the geometric patterns, but quite a few of them had hard-to-get-out stains in the middle from being used as a kitchen towel. Hmmm…what to do to preserve the life of all that precious handwork…

First, I was curious as to what this type of embroidery really was. I have picked up a few of these through the years but was now more curious with a whole pile of them looking to me for salvation. With a little google search I found out this type of embroidery is called Swedish Weaving or Huck. It is from the early 1900’s but was very popular in the 1930’s and 40’s.

Swedish Huck Towels

Four strands of embroidery thread is woven up and down through a loosely woven fabric called huckaback toweling, or monkscloth. Geometric designs are created when the stitches are sewn in regular intervals. Patterns are often sewn with radiating lines, using different shades of thread to create depth and visual texture. All the work is done on the front side of the towel.

I think the ladies who did these must have had wonderful eyesight! Huck towels were usually used as kitchen towels, but Swedish weaving was also often used for afghans and tablecloths.

The designs and colors of the stash I inherited always reminded me of Easter Egg decorations, so it was time to save these pretties and clear out a bin!

Swedish weaving on huckaback toweling.

I started by cutting the designs off the bottom and tops of the towels, leaving 1/4″ or so of border on either side (I used a rotary cutter). I don’t need the stained middle; I only want to re-invigorate the pretty parts that took all the work. Preserving the past does not always mean using items the same way they were originally intended…especially in my world!

Get the iron and sewing machine ready. Here are the oh-so-easy steps:

steps to make a huck towel pocket

  1. Fold one end over onto the right side 2 1/4″. Press. Fold other end under 1/2″. Press.
  2. Sew larger fold over on either side close to edge, leaving 1/2″ open.
  3. Sew small folded end closed.
  4. Pin with right sides together…
  5. Tucking long end under the top flap you left unsewed.
  6. Sew both sides with a narrow seam allowance (I used the outside of the presser foot as a guide).
  7. Turn inside out, using a butter knife to poke out corners. Press.

I top stitched both sides for a little more finished look and stability if I ever need to wash them:

Huck towel utensil pockets

Don’t they remind you of Easter egg decorations?

I popped in some of my flatware and added some fake flowers. I also clipped a little of the parsley I’d kept alive all winter {“Baskets, Bunnies and Eggs all Around the House”} and put it into a floral tube. If I had a fresh tulip or daffodil laying around, I would have used those;)

Utinsil pockets made from Swedish Huck towels.

floral tube with parsley  Huck towel utensil holder.

Vintage huck towel utensil pockets.

The smaller designs that were at the bottom of the towels, I turned into kid’s sized utensil pockets for just the fork/spoon.

And once you get going, it’s hard to stop, because looking at all this prettiness chases away the rainy, gloomy days, just like making my Vintage Fabric Wreath {“Vintage Fabric Wreath”} last week!

I made a “cake” with all of them, so my family could appreciate all my hard work;)

Vintage Huck towel pockets.

Vintage Huck towels fashioned into a pocket.

Beyond being placed on everyone’s plate for Easter dinner {see them on the Easter Table in “Add Luscious Layers to Your Tablescape”}, I’m thinking these pretties would make a lovely May Day basket with a little ribbon for a handle and a vase of flowers tucked in, or tied on to the back of chairs for a Mother’s Day brunch or garden party. Do you have any other ideas?


Vintage Swedish Huck Towels


(Keeping it real…it took me this whole post to learn how to spell utensil…utinsil? utinsel?)


Sharing at these lovely parties:

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Talk of the Town

To Grandma’s House We Go

vintage-charm-button-2  1-funky_junks_party_junk_link_party-29-amPlain-link-party-logo-1

This project was featured on To Grandma’s House We Go!


8 thoughts on “How to Make A Huck Towel Pocket

  1. I do a lot of embroidery, but have never heard of this . It certainly is beautiful. I love how your turned them into utensil holders! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jann! I actually learned all my embroidery stitches from my non-Scandinavian grandma, which probably explains why I never learned this either! I mostly enjoy other people’s stitches these days;)


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