Category Archives: Sewing

Hooded Towel


(******You can right click on the pictures and open them in a new tab to see them on a bigger scale.  I know they are small on this post.*******)

You asked for it, and now you’re going to get it.  Okay, so you didn’t actually ask for it, but you’re getting it anyway.  A sewing tutorial for a hooded towel, complete with examples of bad photography.

These towels are great!  I’ve been making them recently as baby shower gifts, and they have always been well-received.  I finally made one yesterday for Connor, and today, I made one for Zachary, even though he isn’t due to grace us with his presence until September.  Anyway, these are fantastic because they can be used on bigger kids, they actually absorb water instead of just adhering to the child, they are soft and fluffy, and you can get them in any color you want, assuming the store has that color in stock.  Not to mention, they are relatively cheap and easy.  Trust me, if I can afford it and am able to make it, that’s saying something.  We are by no means rich, and I am certainly no seamstress.  I have, however, gotten to a point where I felt like I could actually tell someone how to make these.  (I’ve made about 9 of them now, so surely I have learned something.  (And that’s A LOT of babies in one year’s time, and I’ve still got two more towels to make before this fall!  I think I know some fertile people, but I digress.))  So, without further hopping down rabbit trails, here’s the tutorial.


What you will need:

  • One regular sized bath towel
  • One regular sized hand towel
  • Spool of thread to match
  • Scissors
  • Pins

What to do:

To make a basic towel, without any embellishments, you don’t really need anything other than the two towels and some thread.  Cut off all the tags and make sure you pull out all those plastic label attacher-thingies.  Lay aside the bath towel.  You’re going to make the hood first from the hand towel.

Cut off all four edges.

Cut off all four edges.

You’re going to want to cut off all the hemmed edges from the towel to cut down on the bulk of fabric you will later be sewing through.  If the sides of your towel are selvages, then you don’t have to cut them off unless you want to.  Your towel will need to be at least 24 inches long after you trim the edges.  It’s fine if it’s larger than that.  I think this one was about 27 inches long.  If you want to trim it down to 24 inches, go for it.


Zig-zag or surge the long sides of the towel.

Zig-zag or surge the long sides of the towel.  This will keep the fabric from unraveling.  Thus, allowing the towel to last longer.

Fold the towel in half, short sides together.

Fold the towel in half, short sides together.

Once you’ve finished the sides, fold the towel in half.  In school, for some odd reason they called this fold “hamburger style.”  It always sounded weird to me, but if it works for you, then alrighty.

Hem the sides using a straight stitch.

Hem the sides using a straight stitch.

Okay, now close up the two sides of the towel using a straight stitch.  Sew as close to the edge as you can.  You do not want a lot of bulk that you will have to sew through in a minute.  Sewing up the sides will basically create a giant pocket.

Turn your towel inside-out.

Turn your towel inside-out.

Now that you’re done with the first part of making the hood, turn it inside-out.  From here, you’re going to want to tuck the side on your right into the side on your left.  (Right corner into left corner.)  I did not take a picture, but when lying flat, the towel will no longer be shaped like a square but rather a long, skinny rectangle.  (Hot dog style, anybody?)

Open up the rectangle, and you will get your hood.

Open up the rectangle, and you will get your hood.

Once you open up the hood, turn up the raw, bottom edge and pin it.  I like to pin it on either end and on either side of the bulky middle seam.  Use however many pins that you need.

A closer view of the bottom edge.

A closer view of the bottom edge.

Be sure that both the top and bottom pieces of fabric are folded over.

Sew a straight stitch down the bottom edge.

Sew a straight stitch down the bottom edge.

Alright, here comes the fun.  Sew a straight stitch across the bottom edge.  It will be bulky, especially in the middle where the seam is.  In fact, when I sew through the middle seam, I raise my presser foot, and slowly guide the fabric through.  If you go too fast, your needle will bend or break.  Slow and steady wins this race for sure.

Attach the hood to the middle top of the bath towel.

Attach the hood to the middle top of the bath towel.

Now, pin the hood to the outside of the bath towel.  Line it up in the middle of the towel.  I have discovered that most towels have a crease right down the middle of them from being folded on the shelf for so long, and I use that as a guide.  Also, cover all the ugly hood hem by the towel.  I just eyeball it and make sure the hood isn’t on the towel at an angle and pin it on both ends and on either side of the middle seam.

When I sew on the hood, I sew above the hood’s hemline.  It is less bulky above the line.  You just have to use your fingers and be thoughtful to be sure that you’re actually sewing the hood onto the towel.  If you run off the edge of the towel, carefully go back and try again.

Tack down the hood hem.

Tack down the hood hem.

Now, the thing that has driven me craziest with these towels is this little flap of a hem on the hood.  Since I attach the hood above the hemline, the whole hem can be flipped up and show off its ugliness.  I finally figured a way to at least make that not as easy to do that also won’t give my hands severe pain.  (You can hand sew the hem down, but because of carpal tunnel, I can’t do that.)  Anyway, simply make a short, straight stitch down both ends of the hood hem, and on either side of that middle seam (the same places where you did your pinning).  This will tack it down and keep it from flapping in the wind and being unsightly.

029And there you have it:  a basic hooded towel.  It’s cute; it’s practical; it’s easy.


I followed a tutorial found here when I learned how to make these towels:   This tutorial also has instructions for adding a ribbon to the hood.

As you can see in the pictures, I added an applique initial to the towel that I made.  It was fairly simple to do.  Use a pattern to cut out the letter from fabric and interfacing.  If you stack the fabric and interfacing together before cutting, you will be sure to have a perfect fit and will only have to cut once.  Lie the interfacing onto the center of the outside of the bath towel, and then place the fabric on top of it, lining them up together.  Using a low iron, iron it together, pressing gently with the tip of the iron on the edges of the letter (or shape).  Carefully, carry the whole thing over to the sewing machine, and with a zig-zag stitch, outline the edge of the shape.  I got mine on there a little crooked, but with an 18 month old pulling on the towel, it’s a wonder the letter made it on there at all.

I would also recommend adding the applique before you attach the hood to the towel, just to make it easier to turn the towel as needed to outline the shape.





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DIY Maternity Shirt

I have a confession to make.  I am NOT a fashion anything.  I don’t mind looking at clothes (too much, especially if I’m alone), but to try stuff on, find things that look good on me, be “in style,” nope, that’s not me – at all.  My biggest things are comfort, practicality, and (hopefully) not too much slouchiness.  (I try; I rarely succeed.)  As you might be able to imagine, being pregnant has really put me in a pickle, clothing wise.  Thankfully, my mama found a great deal at a yard sale this past spring on a bunch of maternity clothes, but I’ve really wanted some more comfortable shirts.  For awhile, I’ve shied away from the maternity shirts with the elastic in the sides.  With my record, I figured they would like some kind of melted colored marshmallow that I squashed onto myself, so it came as quite a surprise when, out of desperation to find something that was comfy and decent-looking, I tried one on and found that didn’t look too terrible.  Too bad the price was a bit much for more than one, so I bought only one.  Coincidentally, I also recently found a blog that had an incredibly simple tutorial on how to make more.  Whoo-hoo!  The original blog post that I found is called “Big Tee To Maternity Tee Refashion” on the blog Homemade By Jill.  (

Yesterday, I went to Wal-Mart for some groceries and also decided to see if I could find a suitable, cheap t-shirt to make my own maternity t-shirt.  After scouring the women’s department and men’s department for a suitable shirt, I finally ran across one in the craft department for about $3.  A spool of matching thread and a package of elastic, and I had all I needed to make a shirt for about $5 total, about half the price I paid for the maternity t-shirt (on sale) at Target.

I am on here today to make my own little tutorial on making one of these shirts.  Now, let me say, I’m not an expert seamstress by any means.  I don’t even have a sewing machine.  This isn’t necessarily the prettiest shirt in the world, but it’s not half bad.  And it gets the job done.  I hope this little tutorial makes sense to everyone!  😀


What you need:

  • a t-shirt about 1-2 sizes too big (It needs to be a little long.  Men’s shirts work well.)
  • matching thread
  • narrow elastic (I used 3/8-inch braided elastic because it looked stronger than the rolled elastic, but in the maternity shirt I bought, it looks like they used rolled.  I guess just whatever melts your butter.)
  • pins and needle
  • something to attach your shirt to while you sew

What you do:

*Let me remind you, I don’t have a sewing machine, so I was doing this by hand.  If you have a machine, go for it.  It will take a lot of time off the whole thing and be a lot easier, too.

  1. Mark a spot, just below the bust line on the shirt with a pin.  For me, this was about 3 1/2 inches below the armpit seam of the sleeve.  Do this on both sides.  I put the shirt on, pinned a spot on one side, took the shirt off, measured the spot of the pin, and marked the same spot on the other side.
  2. Measure from the bottom of the shirt up about 2-3 inches, and mark the spot on both sides.
  3. Here’s where things get fun.  Find something to which you can safety pin the shirt and elastic.  The elastic has to be stretched out when you sew it onto the shirt, so you have to be able to secure it in a stretched position.  I used a couch cushion, but you could use something much smalled if you prefer, like a couch pillow.  (If you’re using a machine, you don’t need this step.  Just keep the elastic pulled tight as you sew.)
  4. Safety pin the elastic to one of the marked spots (also pinning it to your pillow at the same time).  Smooth the side of the shirt across the pillow.  Stretch the elastic to the other marked spot, and safety pin it down, too.
  5. Sew the elastic onto the shirt.  If your shirt has side seams, sew it onto the seam.  If it doesn’t, just sew it directly onto the side of the shirt.  Use plenty of stitches so that it doesn’t come loose, and sew the entire piece of elastic.  (If you are using a machine, a zig-zag stitch would do the trick nicely.  If you’re like me and doing this by hand, just be patient and stitch, stitch away.)  Also, as you do this, be careful to not sew the shirt to the pillow!  Patience is key when doing this project by hand.
  6. Remove shirt from pillow, go to the other side, attach it to the pillow, and sew elastic on to that side.
  7. Try on your creation, and be happy and comfy!

Tacking down the shirt and elastic to the cushion. Safety pins on both ends. Elastic stretched out.

Stitch, stitch, stitch, stitch! The inside side of the shirt after the elastic is sewn on and the shirt is removed from the cushion.

The outside side of the shirt after the elastic is sewn on. (The lighting is weird, but I never claimed to be photographer. 😉 )

Connor in his new clothes! (Never trust a happy daddy-to-be with a camera.)

A success! Whoo-hoo!


Filed under Pregnancy and Baby, Sewing, This and That