How to make a Pastry Cloth…and WHY you need one!

 So excited to have Cami from Tidbits here again today, sharing the ‘How’s’ and ‘Why’s’ of a Pastry Cloth.  I’ve never used one before but am off to the fabric store……..ASAP!  Very cool.

-Ashley

. . . . .

 
Have you ever used a pastry cloth?
Have you ever heard of a pastry cloth?
 
How to make a Pastry Cloth...and WHY you need one! --- Make It and Love It

 

 
Do you ever work with dough?
 
Maybe pizza dough, cookie dough, pie crust, bread dough, pastries . . . .
 
Chances are you have, or will at some point.  Or most certainly, you know someone who bakes such things.
 
How to make a Pastry Cloth...and WHY you need one! --- Make It and Love It
 
 
Well, then.  You need a pastry cloth.
 
This is my sister.  She is beautiful.  And she bakes. She is a beautiful baker!
 
pastry cloth 3
 
 
 
We can count on her to bake something beautiful at every family gathering.
 
She discovered an old tattered pastry cloth at the bottom of my mothers linen drawer, and she has never looked back.  As a baker, she LOVES using a pastry cloth and swears everyone needs one.  
 
pastry cloth 4
 
 
 
But you see, she wanted one in better condition than the one she stole from our mother.  That’s where I come in.  I don’t bake.  At least not very good, and when I do I eat it all and get fat ;) 
 
But I do sew.
 
So in exchange for plastering her and her daughters face all over the web, I made her a pastry cloth.
 
 

And now, we both want to shout it out to the world, why we think you need a pastry cloth - and why you should make one for everyone you love.

 
So, here are the 6 reasons:
 pastry cloth 5
 
 All you have to do is sprinkle flour onto the cloth, rub it around with your hands – and any dough you put on it will lift beautifully from the cloth.  No sticky residue, and no scrapping the dough off your counter.  It is amazing!  Even a 3 year old can do it!
 
As you have seen from the pictures, sugar cookie cutouts work great! 
 
 
Have you ever had a hard time picking up your pie crust and getting it to your pie pan?
 
You can roll the crust so easily onto the rolling pin.  It lifts right up.
 
pastry cloth 6
 
 
 
Then set it carefully into the pan.
 
No longer will you need to piece together broken crust.
 
pastry cloth 7
 
 
 
Or lets say you have a sticky bread dough which may get too heavy if you add any more flour.

Simply spray your cloth with cooking spray and slap the bread dough on the cloth to knead and shape.

 

pastry cloth 8
 
 
 
 It lifts right up!  So incredible! 
 
pastry cloth 9

 

 
Onto the second reason.
 
pastry cloth 10
 
 
We love little helpers!  But lets face it, they can sometimes make the job harder when you have double the mess to clean up.  Just have them work right next to you on the cloth, and save yourself from having to scrub wet flour glued to your table.
 
Speaking of scrubbing – NO MORE OF THAT!!
 
pastry cloth 11
 
 
Just head outdoors and give the cloth a shake (if you used flour).  Throw it into your laundry and it comes out clean again.  Wahoo!!
 
However, sometimes baking can bring a mess that can’t be scrubbed up, such as nicks and scrapes from metal such as knifes and cookie cutters.  
 
Pastry cloth to the rescue – again!
 
pastry cloth 12
 
 
If you don’t have indestructible counter tops such as granite, something like a cookie cutter can leave it’s mark.  We have just installed DIY concrete counter tops (which by the way, I will be posting about in detail very soon on my blog) and I have to worry about such things.  I love my counter tops and they are beautiful, but I want to keep them that way.  Thank you pastry cloth!
 
 
Next reason: such a wonderful thing must be shared, right?
 
pastry cloth12
 
 
Mothers day anyone?  (Hint, hint.)  Or sew a batch of them for handy homemade gifts whenever you need them.  
 
Although, if you are going to sew a batch of them it is good to know that they are . . .  
 
How to make a Pastry Cloth...and WHY you need one! --- Make It and Love It
 
Yes they are. 
 
 
Cheap:  total cost (with a 50% off coupon from Joann’s App) was only $6 for the fabric!  Wow!  
 
Quick:  Maybe an hour.  But only if you get hung up on perfectly pressed seams like I do.
 
Easy:  The perfect beginner project.  If you have never sewn a stitch, I am pretty sure you can do this.
 
How to make a Pastry Cloth...and WHY you need one! --- Make It and Love It
 
 
 
Are you ready to make one?  Or two?  Or twenty? 
 
 
Step 1:  Buy your fabric.  The fabric type is important.  You will need a utility fabric called unbleached Drill.  I found mine at Joann’s.  It is very similar to canvas.  In fact, I imagine duck canvas may even work if you had some already on hand.  I believe Drill is the same fabric they use for ironing board covers.  Good thick stuff.  You will need 2 yards.  And be sure to pre-wash!
 
Step 2:  Measure and cut 2 pieces of fabric in the dimensions of 36 x 24 inches.  But really, you could cut it out any size you want (this is just the size we prefer and used here). 
 
pastry cloth 15
 
 
Step 3:  I wanted to spruce mine up a bit.  I have a slight obsession with grain sack prints, so I taped off my lines with frog tape.  You could choose any type of pattern or style.  If you choose to use paint, only paint one of the pieces and leave the other piece untouched.  You want a clean surface for the working side.
 
Step 4:  Use craft paint or fabric paint for your design and heat set the paint.  To do this, place a scrap piece of fabric on top of the painted surface and briefly apply heat with an iron. 
 
pastry cloth 16
 
 
Step 5:  Place your 2 cut pieces together.  There are no right or wrong sides to this fabric, but just be sure that if you did a design, you place that inside.  Place double pins to mark an opening where you will not sew.  You need to do this so you can turn the cloth right side out.  Pin sporadically around the 2 layers so they stay together while you sew.
 
Step 6:  Beginning at the double pins, sew a seam with 1/2 inch seam allowance all around, stopping at the next set of double pins.  Be sure you are using an appropriate needle type.  Universal needle size 14, is what I used.  You could also use a Denim needle.
 
Step 7:  Clip your corners.  (Need more info on clipping corners?)
 
 
pastry cloth 17
 
 
 
Step 8:  This is where I go all perfectionist.  Good pressed seams will make your project look that much more professional.  First, lay your fabric down and open up your seam and press carefully separating the seam allowances.
 
Step 9:  Turn it over and do the same to the other side of the same seam allowance.  Do this for each seam all around the cloth.  When you come to the part where you left the opening, press it just the same as you are your seams. 
 
 
pastry cloth 18
 
 
 
Step 10:  Reach your hand thought the opening and turn it right side out.  Find something pointy (but not sharp) and shape your corners.
 
Step 11:  Now press your seams again, getting them to lay nice and flat.
 
pastry cloth 19
 
 
 
Step 12:  Topstitch 1/4 of an inch away from the edge.  Increase your stitch length when you do this.  I like to use the highest number of stitch length on my machine for my topstitches.  This topstitch will also close off the opening all in one step. 
 
Step 13:  For an extra sharp look, stitch another topstitch 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch away from your first one.  This is called a double topstitch. 
 
pastry cloth 20
 
 
 
Step 14:  And just because you can, press those seams again!  This will help with any waving and somehow makes those stitches look even better.
 
pastry cloth 21
 
 
 
You are done!  Super easy!
 
pastry cloth 22
 
 
 
Now go and bake something up and test your pastry cloth out!  You will be amazed!  Here at my house we now have a surplus of cookie dough, pie crust, and whole wheat bread.  Ha!  The things we do for the sake of a picture.  (And a special thanks to my sis and her little one.)
 
Enjoy!  And I would LOVE to hear if you try it out!
-Cami
 
 
cami

 

Check out Cami’s blog Tidbits, her Pinterest Boards, and her Facebook Page.

 

 

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Filed under Featured, Gift Ideas, Miscellaneous, Sewing

Comments

71 Responses to “How to make a Pastry Cloth…and WHY you need one!”
  1. 1
    Kristin says:

    Cami, thanks for the great idea! Putting Drill Cloth on my list of things to pick up on my next visit to JoAnn. Your double stitching adds the perfect finish, and I agree, sisters are the best. :)

    • 1.1
      Eska says:

      I’ve never heard of it but I love it already.

    • 1.2
      Cami says:

      You are welcome! I would like to know who thought to make dough of fabric in the first place! I can even remember my grandma using one. And I agree, a double stitch just adds the perfect touch to about anything.

  2. 2
    merry says:

    Can you use this with fondat

  3. 3
    Sam says:

    I have never heard od a pastry cloth, but i think i need ne!

  4. 4
    Natalie says:

    I made mine out of a single layer of duck cloth with a bias binding of a coordinating print. It works fabulously! I also store it in the freezer to prevent the oils from the food from going rancid and use it over and over. I have one to make gluten-free food on and one for regular food. It makes for extremely easy cleanup when doing both kinds of baking.

    • 4.1
      Mel says:

      Freezing it is the best tip ever. That’s where I keep mine. I also don’t feel like I have to wash it all the time. (and dry it and iron it)

    • 4.2
      Cami says:

      Great ideas!!! My moms is actually single layer and just hemmed around the edges. We tried that, but I found the 2 layers makes it a little sturdier. Either way – great item to have in the kitchen. And the freezer idea – duh! Why didn’t I think of that!! Thanks for sharing!

  5. 5
    Kim says:

    I seriously am going to JoAnn’stoday after reading your post. I just got quartz countertops and have avoided cookie cutters, rolling pins and kids in the kitchen ever since! I can’t wait to make a pastry cloth and get back in the kitchen!

    • 5.1
      Cami says:

      Glad I am not the only one worried about their high maintenance countertops! So glad that this will help you have fun in your kitchen again!! That is so rewarding for me!

  6. 6
    Patti says:

    I also had never heard of a pastry cloth and most definitely will be making one ASAP (I do a lot of bread and cookies!). Just wondering though if painters cloth would do the same thing? I have plenty on hand that would save me a trip t JoAnn’s!! ;)

    • 6.1
      Cami says:

      You know, painters cloth was my first thought. Cheap, right? And truly, I can’t say if it will work or not. What I did was compared my moms old one (which I knew worked great) to the painters cloth. I noticed the weave is a bit looser in the painters cloth than canvas or this drill fabric. I discussed it with my mother and we both wondered if dough would not lift as well from the looser weave, as it felt a little bumpier. So that is why I went with the Drill. But hey, it’s worth a try if you already have some on hand. Make some bread and test it out!

      • 6.1.1
        Patti says:

        Just a heads up…the painters cloth WORKED!!! I made just a small one yesterday morning before work and when I got home I worked up a batch of bread dough, sprinkled a little flour on the cloth, rubbed it in, and NO KIDDING….NO STICKING!!! This was great, so as soon as I get more time I am going to make me a “prettier” version, painted and with pressed seams!! ;) Thanks for the great post!

  7. 7
    Liz says:

    Brilliant! I am a regular baker and can’t believe I don’t have one of these. I want one! Thankfully I also sew, so this tutorial is perfect for me. I’m living in the UK at the moment, so hopefully won’t have a problem finding the unbleached drill. Otherwise, I’ll be hitting up Joann’s on my next visit to the US!

  8. 8
    Heidi says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I will be on the lookout for drill. I’ve never heard of it. In a previous post you mentioned a double needle for topstitching. I bought one but had to return it because my sewing machine is old (circa 1950′s). The flat part of the shaft of the needle goes on the side, not to the back, like most needles go. I’ve googled and searched for a double needle that fits my machine but have not been able to find one. This thought occurred to me just now that maybe you can turn the shaft in a double needle so that the shaft of the double needle. Do you know the answer to that? Oh sewing guru that your are! :)

    • 8.1
      Cami says:

      You have me stumped. I think we need to pull Ashley’s genius into this question!

    • 8.2
      Ashley says:

      Hey Heidi, those old machines are treasures but sometimes are tricky to find the right parts for them. As far as turning the shaft of the double needle, hmmmm, I’m not really sure if that would work or not. It may depend on the needle because I don’t think the shaft on my needle turns. And if you just turn the actual needle a quarter turn, the needles would be one in front of the other and not next to each other. I could be understanding you completely wrong though….and if so, I’m sorry!

      Best of luck!
      Ashley

  9. 9
    Anne says:

    Awesome!! I’ve always just used a thin cotton flour sack towel, but they’re constantly wearing out. A pastry cloth with holes in it is no good, ha!! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for later this morning that links to your tutorial:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-make-a-pastry-cloth/2014/04/28/
    –Anne

  10. 10
    Lorena says:

    What an ingenious concept! more importantly, why have I never seen this before? must be a true home bakers secret. thank you for sharing how to make a cloth that will be kept “forever”. I was thinking of possibly making one each for the kids, using stencils to decorate them using your paint suggestions. These might even make nice gifts for kids with a little bit of play doh.
    But I will make a genorous size one for me and just in time…I’m going to try taking an “artisinal babread making course.”
    Have you heard of “proofing linens (french couches)?” I’m curious if the methods are similar or what the difference might be?
    in the mean time, I’m making my shopping list for my next visit to the fabric shop :-)

    • 10.1
      Cami says:

      You know, I bet if we all asked our grandmothers about a pastry cloth, they would know about it! Somehow it didn’t get passed down! Ha! I LOVE the idea of making one for each kid – let them decorate it!! So fun! Haven’t heard of the proofing lines, but you have me curious. Gonna have to ask the Google.

  11. 11
    Melanie says:

    CAMI! What a great post! I am totally making one of these for my mom for Mother’s Day. I am a hazard in the kitchen, but my mom is a different story :)

  12. 12
    Lynette says:

    You just changed my life! I had no idea this existed! I make bread weekly, and sometimes the flour mess stays on the counter for days. I don’t ever intend it to be that way, but it what it is. :) I would love to shake that baby out and be done with it! I may even make my son a mini one for his dough projects further down the counter from mine. I will be searching for drill very soon! thank you!!!!

    • 12.1
      Cami says:

      So rewarding to change a life!! And who knew some fabric was capable of that ;) And don’t worry about the confession of flour mess for days. We all do it! Such is life.

    • 12.2
      Ashley says:

      Ha Lynette, this made me laugh! You and I could be buddies because I often times have messes that sit for days….with every intention to be cleaned up. I bet most people do…..but don’t admit it like we do! :)

  13. 13
    Shantel says:

    I’m fascinated about this! I think I may just make one and use it!

  14. 14
    Tif says:

    I’ve had a pastry cloth that my grandma gave me for over 20 years…and have never washed it. I didn’t know you could. It’s wearing out and is *obviously* pretty full of oils and flour from years of cookies and pies. I think I will try washing it today but more importantly, totally going to go buy the fabric and make myself a new one! Thanks for the tip!

    • 14.1
      Cami says:

      I don’t think my mom washed hers very often. I will warn you though, when I washed and dried it, it came out pretty stiff. I was worried, but it softened out in a few hours. Not sure on the science behind all that. Another warning – don’t leave it in the drier for a day. Comes out pretty wrinkly – Ha! I’m not the best at laundry.

  15. 15
    Christenna Carr says:

    Ran to Joann’s today to try this. It turned out so good. Going to make either a peach or cherry pie tomorrow. Love making pies but I’m always looking for something that works good for my crust. This should be big enough. Thanks for all your great tutorials. They are much appreciated.

    • 15.1
      Ashley says:

      Wow, that is awesome that you already made one and have used it!!!! So glad it worked so well! (Now it’s my turn to run to the fabric store!) Cami will be thrilled to hear! :)

  16. 16
    Sue says:

    Hi Cami: Thanks for sharing this! I picked up several yards of “mattress ticking” at JoAnn’s a few months ago – you know, the old red-and-white striped stuff. It was in the “Utility Fabrics” section. I’m wondering if that would be about the same weight as the “drill” you refer to. I’d love to use this ticking to make pastry cloths for myself and my girls. What do you think?

    • 16.1
      Cami says:

      I love mattress ticking! I’ve used it on several projects. The feel and weight is very similar to Drill. I bet it would work just fine. My only concern would be transferring the die from the fabric stripes into any food. Not sure if that would actually happen but that is why I prefer to use the unbleached Drill or Canvas. But the choice is yours! They would be cute! You could even use the ticking for one layer and drill for the actual working layer.

  17. 17

    So simple, so useful. I need to make one!

  18. 18
    Linda says:

    I bought a dropcloth @ the hardware store. I needed a rather large cloth. Works awesome!

  19. 19
    Anette says:

    Cami, I have tile countertops, which make rolling dough difficult. You have solved my problem. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you! Now that I think about it, my grandma had one of these, I was just too young to know what it was………..

  20. 20
    Angie de Quiroz says:

    OMG this post came at prefect to time!! I was just cursing my pie dough last night. It got stuck and tore UGHH!! I remember my Grandmother having a pastry cloth. So I was looking to purchase one online. They aren’t cheap:( Will definitely be making one of these ASAP!!! Thanks So Much for the tutorial!!!

    • 20.1
      Cami says:

      Wow! What good timing! Glad I could help you out! There are cheap ones online, but the quality is pretty sad.

      • 20.1.1
        Angie says:

        I made one these last Friday, came out perfect. I love the double layers of fabric. I plan on making a few of these for Mother’s Day. Plus I love the size! Thanks Again

  21. 21
    sarah says:

    Awesome thanks!

  22. 22
    Gwen says:

    I was thinking of making aprons for teacher gifts this year, but felt something was lacking. Now I know what would go with the aprons…thank you for a wonderful gift idea. I’ll also be making one for myself, this looks much better than my rolled up mess maker of a baking sheet…LOL!

    • 22.1
      Cami says:

      This would be a great teacher gift!!! Pretty sure your kids have lucky teachers if you are willing to put this much effort into their gifts.

  23. 23
    SuzK says:

    this is brilliant! my family all make gingerbread cookies at Christmas – this will be a perfect gift for everyone!

  24. 24
    Lesley says:

    Hi Cami!

    I love this idea! I work with gluten free doughs a lot, do you think it’ll work for those too?

  25. 25
    Allison D says:

    Shut. Up. This is awesome and I had never heard of such a thing! I do have one question though – does it slide all over the counter when you use it for rolling dough? That’s my issue with all of the other methods I’ve tried – parchment, wax paper, cutting board, etc.

    • 25.1
      Cami says:

      You know, it really doesn’t. That is why I preferred using two layers of fabric verses 1 which you see in the cloths you buy in the store. I imagine if you are going pretty crazy with your dough it might slide around, but I have never noticed that to be a problem.

  26. 26
    traci says:

    Hello – I LOVE this idea. I am not a great baker but I do a lot with my two girls in the kitchen, and cannot wait to make this!! I do have a silly question though…
    Is there a print button on this page so I can print the directions, or do I have to keep my computer open if I want to follow along??
    Thanks for the help and the great idea =)

    • 26.1
      Cami says:

      There is not a print option, though that would be great. What I usually do is copy and paste into a Word Document and print if I don’t want to leave my device open the whole time. I need to make some for my girls as well. They would love it, and I would be more excited about having them in the kitchen with me.

  27. 27
    cucicucicoo says:

    So interesting. I’ve given up on pie crusts because they always stick and make a huge mess. I need to try this out! And I also had never heard that trick on ironing the edges to get perfect sides when turning. I wish I’d read this post when it came out because just a couple of days ago I sewed three things that could’ve used this trick! :) Lisa

  28. 28
    Geraldine says:

    Does it HAVE to be UNBLEACHED DRILL or CANVAS cloth? I have a white/textured, medium-weight cotton dress (old/maxi jumper) I’d like to use. Is that suitable?

    • 28.1
      Anonymous says:

      I have used drill and canvas successfully. Some have commented that a painters drop cloth is working great as well. I think the most important thing is that it is a thicker fabric free of dye which could leak into your food. Here is why I like drill. Cheap for one. Also, comparing it to my mothers old one it was the most similar fabric because it is free from noticeable raised threads in the weft and warps, like you would find in a twill fabric. Does this matter? Probably not. It just provides a smoother surface. My duck canvas fabric one that I use has the noticeable twill lines, but it works fine. I just prefer the smooth feel of the drill which is why it is my highest recommendation. That said…I am all about repurposing!! I would say it is worth a try.

    • 28.2
      Anonymous says:

      By the way…the response above is from me, Cami, the writer of this post. Apparently my phone doesn’t know who I am like my computer does :)

  29. 29
    Rebecca says:

    Great idea! I hate gunking up my counters with dough. I’m curious why this calls for two yards of fabric? Two yards seems like enough to make at least two pastry cloths, or am I missing something?

    • 29.1
      Cami says:

      You need 2 yards because my tutorial calls for 2 layers. You could buy 1 yard and just hem the edges but then it is not very heavy. It is up to you!

  30. 30
    Sam says:

    Hi there
    This is the best idea ever ! I’ve been sitting on it since you posted, waiting to see some, but here in oz, I cannot find unbleached still anywhere!! Or unbleached anything. I can find calico. No painters cloth. I can find canvas , but not unbleached. They don’t have a utility fabric section at our store that is like Joann’s…so I’m wondering if it’s just called something else here ? I’ve read the above posts, maybe I’ll try to get some twill…
    Anyone know what else the unbleached drill could be called or anywhere I could buy it online that ships here?? Thank you so much in advance, I’m desperate to make some of these !!!

  31. 31
    Stephanie says:

    I made myself a pastry cloth today, and then used it to make empanadas tonight. I am in love! The dough lifted right off the cloth, just like you said. I did have an issue with the cloth sliding around as I rolled out the dough, but I guess it’s because my table is very smooth and slippery. It’s still better than cleaning up the floury mess I would have had without the pastry cloth. I can’t wait to use my new “toy” for all sorts of doughs and pastries!

  32. 32
    Leah B. says:

    I didn’t know I needed one or that they even existed, until I tried it. So great, very thankful for the tutorial. They are great. :)

  33. 33
    barbara franklin says:

    I have been using parchment paper or waxed paper for pie crusts and cookies…NO MORE!!! Good excuse to go to JoAnns’ (or e bay??)

  34. 34
    Debbie O says:

    Great idea Cami, I’m going to have a go at this
    If you regularly roll out tops for pies, you can draw round the pie-dish onto the fabric with a permanent pen or laundry marker to give you the right size to cut out.

    • 34.1
      Renee says:

      Instead of drawing and therefore possibly having ink stains on your crust, perhaps you could just sew an outlined circle to suit your various size pie dishes?

  35. 35
    eva says:

    I love this post. I am just wondering if the cloth shifts when you are rolling the dough?

    • 35.1
      Heather says:

      I didn’t have any trouble with the cloth moving. It made rolling out biscuits so simple for me!

  36. 36
    Heather says:

    Love this, made this, and used for the first time today. It made making biscuits a breeze!!! Thanks for the post. I included a link to you page when I posted about mine. Check out my version if you get a chance!
    http://thenotsodiymommy.blogspot.com/2014/05/pastry-cloth-and-fabric-dyeing-with.html
    I’ve picked up enough materials to make one for family members. We usually trade baked goods, but I’ll have a newborn and a toddler this holiday season. I’ve decided that this comes close to baked goods and I can make it before the baby gets here!

  37. 37
    Sue Suffell says:

    Would calico work, not sure if I can get the recommended fabrics in England. Sounds really good and less mess when making pastry.
    I love all these tutorials although some of the things used are unavailable in Little old England . I need an American penfriend that can send me things and visa versa……

Notes and Comments