Hooded Towel Tutorial: Great for Babies and Toddlers
Ah, bathtime! It’s been a few years since I’ve had babies or toddlers in the house, but I still remember the joys of seeing my babies splashing around in the tub. Every time I patted my kids dry, I knew it would be just a few more minutes before they’d be tucked into bed and I could finally take a break from being a mama!
One of the things that made for fantastic bath times were the hooded towels I made for each of my kids. These were not the paper-thin napkins they try to market as towels in the baby section of Target. These guys were cozy and thick and continued to work great as those babies grew into the toddler years. (I think my kids were still using them into the elementary years!)
Over the years, I’ve sewed up quite a few of these towels for other family and friends—and I started adding a little ribbon on the edge for a decorative touch. (Trust me, once you see one of these nice, big, thirsty towels, you’ll never want to buy another so-called “baby towel” for anyone again!)
Recently, a friend asked me to sew a few that she could use for upcoming baby showers, so I decided to grab some pictures, and share the idea here on the blog. Yes, this is a sewing project. But it is super easy. If you can sew a few straight lines, you can do this!
I usually sew two bath towels at a time, since one hand towel can be cut to make two hoods. (It’s nice to stow away a second towel that I can use for a future baby shower of new baby gift!)
Here’s what you’ll need to get started.
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- a regular-size bath towel
- a hand towel
- ribbon (Measure the width of your bath towel. Multiply that number be 2. Then add 2.”)
- fabric scissors or cutting board and rotary cutter
- fabric pins
- sewing machine
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How To Make the Towel:
1. Gather supplies
2. Lay your hand towel flat on a cutting board or hard surface. Measuring along the long edge of the handtowel, cut the towel at a 9.5” length. This should leave you with a long rectangle that has three finished edges and one raw edge. (If you want to make two towels, cut 9.5” from the other finished edge as well.) This will become the hood piece.
3. Lay the bath towel flat. Then lay ribbon along the width of the towels and, leaving about 1” extra on each end, cut the ribbon. Cut two pieces this width.
4. Lay the hood piece flat. Lay ribbon along the length of this piece, leaving about 1” extra ribbon on each end. Cut one piece of ribbon to this length. (see picture below for steps #3 and #4)
5. Fold one end of the shorter ribbon under and align edge with the shorter side of your hooded piece. (See picture following Step #6.) I usually place the ribbon about three inches from the longer, finished edge of the towel.
6. Sew the ribbon onto the hooded piece, by sewing one straight seam along each edge of the ribbon. Tuck the remaining edge of ribbon under as you approach the end of your seam, so that it aligns with other end. (See picture.)
7. Now secure ends of ribbon by sewing a short seam along the edge of the ribbon on each end. (See below.)
8. Repeat steps 5-7, using the longer pieces of ribbon to attach to each end of the large bath towel.
9. Fold your hood piece in half, with the ribbon sides facing in. Leaving a quarter inch seam allowance, sew a line along the unfinished edges of the towel. Reinforce by sewing another line at a half inch seam allowance from then edge.
10. Now fold your bath towel in half, with ribbon sides facing out, and align the hooded piece into the fold, as shown. (The hooded piece should overlap into the larger bath towel by about a half inch.)
11. Pin the hooded piece into place. (Picture below shows what it should look like when you open the larger towel back up a bit.)
12. Sew the hooded piece into place by sewing a straight line along the edge. (Try to align your big bath towel and and the hooded piece as pictured below.) Reinforce by sewing a second seam next to the first.
13. Snip off all the extra threads and YOU ARE DONE!
Hi, Amy! I love this idea! I have 2 questions for you: 1) do the towels need to pre-washed before cutting/sewing, and 2) if I wanted to add ruffles or lace to the edges (my niece is very much a ‘girly-girl’!), would I just sew it along the edges like a blanket? Thanks, and have a great day!
I do not wash my towels first, and its always worked out fine. And yes, I think ruffles along the edge would be adorable!!
I wash my towels first, I have found that some towels shed so much I’ve had to return the towel. So, I’ve been relieved that I found that out before making the hooded towel.
That’s a great idea Michelle! Yes, sometimes there can be quite a few “fuzzies” from the towels while sewing
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Can you add a picture of a baby wrapped in the towel?
Hmm… I will have to search old photos… it’s been a long time since we had babies in this house! But I might have a pic of our towels in use at some point..
I love it .I follow it as much as I can .I love crafts on sewing .
love this site and check it daily !!fun ideas and easy instructions i
Thanks for such a sweet comment. Keeps me motivated to keep writing posts! I’m glad you enjoy the site.
So this size would work for grandkids, age 3 and 5? Or do I need a bigger towel and handtowel? Thanks.
I used a standard bath towel and hand towel, and my kids used those towels well into elementary school. (My daughter is nine, and I think she stopped using the hooded towel just in the last year.) Hope this helps!
Sorry… just realized that might be unclear: I used a standard bath towel and then about HALF a hand towel for the hood. (Like it describes in the tutorial)
What a great idea! Got a new Great-Grand baby coming in October. Would this be good for a newborn?
It will be a little big for a newborn, although we definitely used ours even when they my kids were newborns… just some extra towel to wrap around them and keep them cozy! But it’s so nice to have a towel they can grow into and use for several years. I’ve given them often as baby shower gifts and have gotten several compliments about how nice it is to have a towel that soaks up more water than the thin hooded baby towels sold at stores these days!
I can’t wait to try one. Great idea!!
Glad you found a fun project! I always love something that’s both crafty AND practical! 🙂
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If I wanted to make one for an adult…what size towels would you suggest.
I’ve never actually sewn one of these for an adult, so this is just a guess: I’m thinking you’d want one of the larger “bath sheets” for your main towel. And then I’d use a hand towel for the hood. (Though you would probably want to cut it down a bit both lengthwise and widthwise.) You might have to experiment a bit with the hood part to get it the right size, but I hope it works out for you!
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Thank you so much for sharing the instructions on how to make this! A neighbor gave me one 20 years ago when my son was born, and it was one of my most favorite and most used gifts. I still have it (hoping for grandbabies in a few years). I just finished making one for the sweet young lady who does my hair since she recently had a baby. I’ll be making many more. Your directions were so easy to follow. I haven’t sewn in probably three years, and this was a fun project to get me going again. 😃
I’m glad you’ve been having fun “rediscovering” sewing again! The whole reason I did this post was because I had made a towel for the wonderful woman who does MY hair, and she told me I should add it to the blog.
I was a little confused with step 9. “sew a line along the unfinished edges of the towel” does that mean sew them together or just finish the raw edges?? I sewed mine together and then attached the “hood” to the large towel. Was that correct?
Sounds like the way you did it was just right. Yes, I meant sew the edges together to make the hood. Sorry for the confusion! 🙂
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Love!! Gonna make some for my LO. Is there a type of ribbon you recommend?
I’ve used various types of ribbon, but I like a wide (1.5″ish) grosgrain the best. Sometimes the smoother ribbons seem to pucker just a tad as I sew, but I don’t notice this issue with grosgrain. Really, though, I’ve had great results either way. Mostly, I just go for the cutest baby-related pattern I can find. 🙂 Hope this helps, and happy sewing!
I’ve been making these foe about 3 years now & might have a picture if you’d like one!
That would be fun to see! You can send pics to me at [email protected] if you find them. 🙂
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Just made one and it turned out amazing. I agree with you that the thin little hooded towels just don’t cut it. So glad I came across your post. Just wished I had sewn when my kids were little. 😊
I’m glad they turned out for you! I don’t have littles to use them anymore either . . . but I still love giving as baby gifts. 🙂
I’m going to try making one infant size-will cut my bath towel in two and then use a facecloth for the hood. What do you think? Will it work?
If you have a good-size bath towel to start with, then I think that sounds like a great plan! (Some bath towels are on the small side, so I would think you might need a little more than half to get a large enough towel for infant.) If you cut the bath towel, you’ll have to fold over and sew a seam along the cut edge so it won’t unravel, but other than that, you should be able to follow the rest of the steps as written. Good luck!
An excellent post, thank you!
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