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Standard Towel Dimensions

Sometimes I think towels are my desert-island project, in that if I could weave only one thing going forward, it would be towels. These humble rectangles offer so many options! From fingertip to bath sheets and every size in between, you can make exactly what you need to get the job done.

In my own kitchen, we have different sizes and types of towels for different jobs. I like large, thin, all-linen towels (I consider them tea towels) for drying dishes and glasses, but my husband likes medium-wide, medium-weight towels for handling warm plates and pots (I call them kitchen towels), and stouter towels for handling frying pans and wiping up messes (I call them cooking towels). 

For some people, proportion is really important. When I am planning a towel project for a gift, I decide an approximate finished width then multiply by 1.6 (it’s a golden ratio thing) to get an idea of length, then round up or down. So a 17” wide towel x 1.6 = 27.2, so I aim for 17”x27” finished. An 18” width x 1.6 = 28.8”, so I weave for a finished dimension of 18”x28” or 18”x29”.

A survey of the handwoven towels in my kitchen and bathrooms reveal a range of sizes which you can read about below:

Hand Towels: 11-14” W x 19-24”L 

This size is perfect for powder room hand towels. Here are a few recommendations from our pattern library: 

overshot rigid heddle towels


Tea Towels: 17-20”W  x 24-28”L 

Tea towels are perfect for drying dishes and glasses. They tend to be thinner and more absorbent (think more linen than cotton). Some of these Gist patterns are a touch smaller than traditional tea towel size, but all work swimmingly:  

Cooking/Kitchen: 15-22” W x 20-32” 

Kitchen towels tend to be thicker and more absorbent. Cotton kitchen towels are especially sturdy and can be used for everything from handling hot pans to cleaning up spills. Many of our patterns fall under this category, due to their seemingly endless uses!

creamsicle towel pattern


Bath Towels: 27"-30" x 52-58" (standard) or 36" x 75" (bath sheet)

My self-indulgent project is to weave myself a set of bath towels. Can you imagine anything more luxurious? Gist doesn't currently have any patterns quite this large, but these are just a couple inches shy:

About Christine Jablonski

Christine is Gist Yarn's Director of Content and Customer Experience. Through wit, relentless enthusiasm and enough knowledge to be dangerous, Christine seeks to introduce the wonders of weaving to every person possible.  Put another way, she is responsible for nurturing Gist's relationships with our current designers and finding new ones to bring you engaging content and patterns that are fun to both learn and weave. She is also our resident weaving whisperer, who is happy to help demystify any pattern and answer any loom or equipment questions you might have. In addition to her duties at Gist Yarn, she is an exhibiting artist whose work has been shown in New England galleries and is held in private collections across the country. She is a contributor to Little Looms and Handwoven magazines, and the author of SoulSpace Notes, a monthly column on weaving, art and life.