Sewing a hooded towel

Now that my daughter is getting bigger, she’s outgrowing her baby-sized hooded towels. But I like them. She doesn’t stand still long enough to be dried off, so I can drape her hooded towel over her head, and she’ll run around with it, and at least it’s keeping her a little warm. It’s not that I can’t find any bigger hooded towels, I couldn’t find any I liked. And they’re expensive. So I figured I’d make my own. How hard could it be? Turns out, that even with my novice sewing skills, it’s not hard at all. 

As usual, when I’m looking for a project, I scoured Pinterest and the internet in general, and found some instructions that I used as a base

Hooded towel materials

 All you need is a bath towel and a hand towel. Yes, you could pick out some terry cloth from the fabric store, but your options there will be extremely limited. I only saw plain pastel colors at my local store. You’ll find something much cuter in the linen department of a big box store. Plus, the edges are already finished for you! You’ll actually only be using half of the hand towel, so if you want to make 2 hooded towels, pick out 2 bath towels so you don’t have to go back for another one later. If you only wanted to make one hooded towel, I don’t see why you couldn’t use a facecloth instead of a hand towel, just make sure it’s more rectangular than square (like the shape of a hand towel when it’s folded in half) and it should work fine.

Cut hand towel in halfStep 1: Cut the hand towel in half.

Pin finished side over

Step 2 (Optional): Fold the finished edge over and pin. You really only need to do this if you’re going to add a decorative element like some ribbon, or a decorative stitch. If you’re adding some ribbon, pin it on at the same time. You can skip this step and leave the edge the way it is, keeping in mind that the hood will be bigger this way. If so, skip to step 4.

Decorative stitchingStep 3 (Optional): Sew the finished edge (and the trim on, if using) over. I tried a decorative stitch that my sewing machine can do, but it didn’t end up showing up that well anyway.

DetailStep 4: Pick which side of the hood you want to use as the outside. As you can see in this picture, my finished edge was slightly narrower than the rest of the towel when I folded it over, and I didn’t want that showing, so I picked the opposite side as the right side. If you haven’t folded over the finished edge, the towel you chose likely has an obvious “right side” that you may want to use on the outside of the hood.

Pin bottom edge with right sides in

Step 5: Pin along the bottom edge with the right sides inside, then sew along the bottom, just with a regular stitch as this one won’t be showing. 

Pin hood to towelStep 6: Sew the hood onto the towel. First mark the center of the towel by folding it in half. Pin the center of the hood (the seam that you just sewed) onto the center of the towel. If you don’t want either of the towels’ finished edges showing, pin and sew so that both edges line up like this…

Towel edgesAnd you get a finished seam that looks like this…

Finished seamNote that in this final step, you may have difficulty getting the fabric to feed through your machine at the edges and center of the hand towel, because there are so many layers of thick terry to sew through. Be patient and go slow. Don’t try to force it – we don’t want any broken machines here. If you really can’t get it to work, check in your machine’s manual for tips on sewing thick fabric.

Finished towel

Finished towel 2Finished version 2 hanging Finished version 2And that’s it! I have shown 2 different towels I made. The first, with the squiggly lines, involved a few more steps but was still very easy. I didn’t time it, because I didn’t do it all in one shot. I also wanted to show how it could be done without the extra step of folding under the edge of the hood (the teardrop towel). This one was very quick, it took me less than 15 minutes to complete. If you want a towel that’s bigger or smaller, just look for a bigger/smaller towels. You could even make one for yourself with one of those huge bath sheets! 


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    January 7, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    Those look great…MUCH nicer prints than the fabric stores, better quality, and likely less expensive too! 🙂

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