I was pretty happy to spot these bolts of 100% cotton tea towel fabric at my local fabric store. The edges are finished with selvages, so you just have to sew up either end and voilà! you have a lovely tea towel for considerably less than what it would cost to buy them pre-made. The fabric comes in classic stripes and checks as well as vintage patterns.
According to the Fabric Depot website, a typical tea towel takes 3/4 of a yard to make one towel. The fabrics pictured here run between $5.49 and $6.99 per yard, so with a small amount of labor on your part, you can have a lovely stack of towels for a fraction of what it would cost you to buy them.
The fabric can also be made into runners or napkins or if you're more talented on the sewing machine than I am, a market bag or wine sack. It would also be a good choice for curtains. If you don't have access to a sewing machine to finish the cut ends, you can always leave them raw for a frayed look.
I first spotted this fabric at Stone Mountain & Daughter in Berkeley but it is easy to find online, such as The Fabric Depot where some of the patterns are currently on sale for as low as $3.90 a yard.
I love wrapping kitchen gifts in a tea towel furoshiki-style, so this fabric will really come in handy for that as well.
Related: Tea Towels as Curtains
(Images: Fabric Depot)