Embellished Hooded Towel Tutorial

I know it’s a tad bit early to be talking about Christmas, but I just can’t help thinking about it.  Since I have committed myself to handmade gifts this year, I need to do some serious planning in order to get all my gift giving accomplished.  So I thought you also might enjoy me sharing some holiday gift giving ideas a little earlier than normal…….perhaps you are going handmade as well! The following tutorial was not entirely my own idea.  I had posed a question over on “The Cottage Mama” facebook fan page in regards to the projects everyone was working on and several women chimed in and said they were working on hooded towels for children. Well, this little discussion reminded me that I had been wanting to make some giant sized hooded towels for my own girls.  I love the little baby hooded towels, but they seem to grow out of those so quickly.  And the larger sized towels that I see in some of the popular catalogs are just a little too pricey for me. I think these would make a fabulous Christmas gift the younger people in your life.  You can be as creative as you would like with these and it’s a great way to use a small amount of your beloved fabric stash (yes, I know there are others of you out there that are fabric hoarders like myself) to really make a statement on this one-of-a-kind towel.

Hooded Towel Tutorial

Supplies: 1 hand towel 1 large bath towel 1 strip of fabric (approx. 4″ by 25″) Ric-rac trim (2 pieces – 25″ long) Thread Scissors Iron Directions:

Cut hand towel to approximately 24″ long.  If it is a little shorter or longer, that will be fine.  I just cut off the one end that looked a little different than the other.

Cut your strip of fabric 4″ x 25″ (allowing an extra inch longer than your hand towel).  If you used a different length for your hand towel, just add one inch for the fabric.  Pin your ric-rac (2 pieces also 25″ long) along the raw edges of both sides of the right-side of the fabric strip.

Stitch in place.  I used different sized ric-rac for several different towels.  The one seen here is jumbo.  Base your seam allowance on the size trim you have.  You want the waves of the ric-rac poking through the other-side, so adjust accordingly.

Your best bet is to stitch straight down whatever size trim your are using.

With a hot iron, press the ric-rac to the other side.  Do this on both sides.

Press again with a hot iron to set in place.

Here is the fabric strip with the ric-rac sewn in place.  If you use smaller trim then your fabric strip will be wider because you will not have turned as much under.

Fold the hand towel in half (length-wise) and pin fabric strip approximately 1/2″-1″ from the fold.

UNFOLD the towel and top-stitch down both sides to secure in place.

Above is the fabric strip sewn in place on the hand towel.

Now fold the hand towel the other direction – width-wise with right-sides together.  Stitch down the right and left sides.  Do not stitch the open end where you see the raw edges of the fabric.

Use approximately a 1/2″ – 5/8″ seam allowance.

Turn hand towel right-side out.

Take the corner of the hand towel that I am pointing to in the picture above and tuck it into the opposite corner.

Tuck the right corner inside the left corner.

Once you have tucked the one corner into the other, this is what your hand towel will look like.

Then open up your hand towel and now you have formed the hood.

You will notice after tucking the corners that you have one side that is a little longer than the other.  Fold this over and stitch into place in order to conceal the raw edges of the fabric. I must have gotten too excited about nearing completion on this project because I didn’t take a picture of the final step (sorry).  Pin the center of the hood to the center of the bath towel (right-sides together)……stitch into place using a 1″ – 1.5″ seam allowance (yes, a large seam allowance).  If you need to use a larger seam allowance because you can still see some of the extra hand towel, feel free to do so…..no harm done.

Here are four hooded towels for my two special little ladies!  I might applique their initials onto each towel in coordinating fabric…….I think that would be a lovely finishing touch.  I just need more hours in the day…….

For the towel above, I used a standard-sized ric-rac.  You could also omit the ric-rac altogether and just press your fabric under.  You could also trim the hood with coordinating ribbon as well.

Here you can see how the fabric strips end up being sized a little differently depending on the trim size used.  Again, no biggie…….exact measurements aren’t really needed in this project

I wasn’t planning on having my girls model these towels, but when they were outside with me taking pictures, they were begging to wear them……..they looked so warm and cozy!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  Please let me know if you have any questions or if any of the directions need clarification.  Happy holiday gift making!  Stay tuned for more fun gift giving tutorials.  Anyone else planning a handmade holiday?
Hooded Towel Tutorial from The Cottage Mama.

Cottage Mama’s Note:  The fabrics used in this tutorial were Art Gallery “Paradise” (Double Ivory Bloom), Amy Butler “Love” (Sunspots Tangerine), Robert Kaufman “Sweet Tooth” (Camellia), Jennifer Paganelli “Flower Power”

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  1. These are WONDERFUL! Thank you for the tutorial!

  2. Ohhh, so lovely! Great tute my dear 🙂

  3. What a great project, especially for the little girl that loves hooded towels but doesn’t fit in the toddler size hooded towels, anymore! Thank you!!

  4. Not too early to think about Christmas for me. I have also committed myself to handmade gifts (we’ll see!), I love your version of the towel. Kauffman’s Sweet Tooth fabric is one of my favourites! Your daughter is adorable.

  5. love it.

  6. This is fabulous! I see baby gifts in my future for all my prego friends!

  7. How creative of you. I would love to make something like that, too. Thanks for sharing your wonderful idea.

  8. so pretty and your ric rac is just perfectly done. 🙂

  9. Totally cuteness. love them!
    Happy Friday!

  10. What a great idea for those with kids, plus: YOU TRULY DO BEAUTIFUL WORK!!

  11. How cute.
    I can not or should I say do not sew…but I really want to try to make these.
    Thanks for the great pictures to lead me through the project.

  12. Love these hooded towels! Great for kids! Come link up sometime to Handmade Tuesdays! It is a new linky I started with a tutorial 🙂 http://www.ladybug-blessings.com

  13. Thanks for the tutorial! I mentioned it on my blog and linked to your post. Here is my posting:


    I love your blog!

  14. Julie Moody says

    I really love this post as well as your other posts!!! Your blog has really inspired me to be more creative and sew more. Thank you so much for all your posts and sharing of your creativity!!!!

  15. Wow, I posted a very similar, but not quite as wonderful, tutorial for Mother’s Day! http://theblackforrist.blogspot.com/2010/05/baby-shoes-and-gift-to-you.html

    Great minds… eh? I really like the way your towels turned out!

  16. I’ve been looking for a tutorial that’s worth using…yay for finding you! Christmas sewing for my daughter here I come!

  17. I featured you today on my blog! I would love if you stopped by to check it out! Todaystoptwenty.blogspot.com

    P.S. I think you are a.maz.ing! 🙂


  18. Oh you are clever!!! this is a great idea for Christmas..now who to ask to sew it for me??? 🙂

  19. I made these and your tutorial was great. I actually got 2 bath towels because the hand towel felt thinner. I just cut it to match a hand towel in the house. I used the extra material to make a wash cloth! So cute! Thank you so much for this tutorial!

  20. I love your towels,nice collection ..get the more beautiful and stylish towel sets collections, as i got.

  21. I love your towels,nice collection ..get the more beautiful and stylish towel sets collections, as i got.

  22. These would be great for the summer also. I think that my goal will be to do some for Christmas, but also do some for the little ones that come down for the pool. Love them. Thanks so much for sharing.

  23. I saw these and love them! I am going to attempt this project for baby shower gifts for several of my preggo friends. Thanks for sharing!

  24. These are beautiful!!! I can’t wait to make a few for my kiddos!

  25. This tutorial was fantastic. I just made one and the directions were very simple and straight forward. Can not wait to make more!

  26. What a cute DIY baby towel. Great tutorial!

  27. CrystalK says

    Thank you so much for this wonderful Tute…I have all boys but they are gonna love these..These will work perfect for after swimming classes and going to the lake…I to am doing only homemade gifts this year. I did last year and it worked out so well, I was so proud of the gifts I gave, straight from my heart…..LOVE HOMEMADE GIFTS

  28. This is very impressive. Thanks for taking time on this tutorial for people like you who find joy in making kids towels.

  29. Thank you for this wonderful tutorial! The hooded towel was the first project I’ve ever sewn!

  30. Love your tutorial and easy, step by step, instructions. Adding this to my list of “things I want to sew”. Think my granddaughter would love it.

  31. 1. Do you wash the towels before sewing? 2. Would you recommend using hand towels or wash cloths for babies?

  32. Thank you all SO much! We are still using the four towels that I made for the girls ~ they’ve really well. I do recommend pre-washing the towels prior to use. Also, I like to make them nice and big whether or not a baby will be using them. I find babies grow so quickly that I like to be able to use them through the toddler years. But you can make them whatever size you would like! Thanks to everyone for comment 🙂


    • Anonymous says

      HI there. I just wanted to say that I was looking all over the internet for an idea to make a hooded pig animal towel for a baby shower gift. I couldn’t find one at all, but stumbled onto your hooded towel instructions. It was different than I USED to do mine. I followed your design and then added some Piggie flare. It turned out amazing! Thanks for posting this.

  33. What kind of towels did you use? They look so soft and cozy!

  34. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!
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  35. Method is very nice and worked really well done thank you so Sagrb

  36. Anonymous says

    LOVE these!!! A little tip for the hood part. After sewing the strip up the side, fold the top corner down and sew it down, it creates somewhat of a pillow for the baby’s head and doesn’t have a point when you fold it right side out!

  37. Great. thanks for sharing such a wonderful and helpful idea with great tutorial.

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  38. thanks for having the models… I was wanting to see how they looked when they were worn… and such darling models too…

  39. Anonymous says

    Thank you for this! These towels are adorable. With three babies due in the next two months to family members (granddaughter,great-niece and great-great niece) along with numerous young relatives, I see several of these being made for gifts.
    PS…such adorable models!

  40. I’m planning to make some for home, but also for the pool this summer! My kiddos always get so cold after a swim and these will be perfect made in pool-side theme colors and fabbrics.

  41. I made an awesome baby care package for a good friend who just had a little baby girl. I included an item from your tutorial. If you want to check it out, it’s on my blog post: http://www.domesticacademic.com/2012/06/baby-care-package-pinterest-cornucopia.html

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  43. Anonymous says

    These are adorable. I would like to make them for my great grandkids this Christmas. Thank you.

  44. Hello,
    I have been making these bath/beach towels for the last twenty years. All of my granchildren have received at least three of these. Too, I have been giving them out as presents for the new babies of some of my friends.

    Everyone receiving them, really enjoys them. Glad to see someone else has come up with a similiar idea.

  45. Anonymous says

    These are so cute. I appreciate your sharing this artistic idea with us. I’m going to try to make the for some grand and great grandchildren. Thank you, Mantie

  46. Super cute- just wondering, do you think these would work for six year olds? Your little one looks…little! Just wondering if it would work for the little ones in my life at the moment

  47. I love these towels! Thank you for a tutorial =) now I’ll go further to your blog and look for more inspiring ideas and def I will subscribe. KamilaJns

  48. Thanks for the great tutorial! I made one for my daughter and it is absolutely adorable.

  49. Thank you so much!! I just made a “pooh bear” one for my daughter for Christmas and it was so easy that now I’m going to make a batman one for my son. What a great idea!

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  51. Just made this for my daughter’s birthday and made a matching towel for her baby doll using a hand towel and a washcloth. Thanks for the super easy directions! This is my new favorite gift to make.

  52. I made this for the 8 year old so I used the whole hand towel and before I added the trim I folded it back 6″ and then put the trim over top of it . Then only stitched up the back side and then the bottom to the towel works great

  53. Thanks for this information. Its really nice of you.

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  54. I am trying to make this towel and the problem I am having is when I sew the edges up so to not expose the raw edges after I have created the hood it is too thick and I cant sew it. I don’t know how it would be thin enough to sew to the other towel after that either. Please help!!!

  55. Just made two of these for my twin niece and nephew. Turned out soooo cute. Thank you for a great tutorial!

  56. mom2pekes2 says

    Just found your bath towel tute. WOW!! Love these. Could have used one several times over. These are a definite do on my list for my 2 yr old great-granddaughter. She would rather be in the water than not so this being summer I know they will be appreciated and well used. She and her mom both had baby bath towels with hand cloths for the hoods. It never occurred to me to simply adjust the size of the hood as a baby grew. Thank you for your great tute and time investment for all of us.

  57. JUDY MAZZARI says

    Thank have been looking for this to make for grandbabies…. yours are so pretty.. thanks again

  58. Pegi Weber says

    How would u make it so it just slips over head for the beach so they could walk around?