How do you spend your Sunday mornings? I know some people get up early and start knocking out chores. Some people attend church. Some people work out…I’ve been known to do this. But, most Sunday mornings I prefer watching any television show about sewing…unless it’s one of those that details making antique baby dresses. The number of pin tucks required for barely 6 square inches of fabric makes my head hurt.
Show me something simple that I can:
A – easily follow along and do myself; and
B – tweak and customize for myself or friends
So one Sunday morning I caught an episode of a great show, “It’s Sew Easy“. Each episode has a few segments of simple how-to projects for things you can make that are functional.
Function <–that’s important, people.
Yes, there are some of us who appreciate the detail and precision that complicated decorative pieces provide. I admit I am a fan, too. I’m also a fan of projects you can quickly finish and duplicate. And since my friends have been procreating at a consistent rate over the last couple years, it’s given me a chance to try making baby shower gifts.
Back to the show. The episode I happened to catch included a segment on a simple hooded baby towel. It involved buying yardage of terry cloth and baby/snuggle fabric. I made a few for a close friend and one for my sister-in-law. They loved them.
Then another friend, whose baby is 13 months now, wanted a towel that is larger so her daughter won’t quickly outgrow it.
Now I needed to figure out how to make a larger hooded towel than what I was accustomed to making. In short, I slapped that hood on the side of a bath towel and BLAM! Insta-hooded-towel that looks so darn cute and will last for at least a couple (or few?) years! Plus no one else will have one like it…ever! Here we go…
- 1 1/4 yard – Baby/Snuggle Flannel fabric (45 inch width)
- 1 Bath Towel – approximately 50 inches long, 30 inches wide
- Plenty o’Pins, sewing machine, scissors, thread, yada yada yada…
You can also add decorative edging, like ruffles, rickrack, pom-pons, binding…but then it wouldn’t be simple and quick and easy and all the other stuff I like about this project.
Here are my fabrics:
First, lay the towel on a table or other flat surface, right side up.
Then, put your flannel on top of the towel, right side down (touching the towel). Align the selvage of the flannel to one of the long sides of the towel. Try to center the flannel on the towel, but it doesn’t have to be exact.
Pin along the aligned edge (long side, 50″) and both the shorter edges (30″), leaving one of the long edges ‘open’.
Pin the selvage of the flannel to the edge of the towel
There should be a bit of excess towel on either side of the flannel. Be sure the thick edging of the towel is at least one inch from the edge of the flannel. Cut this excess off.
Cut off excess towel from the each short edge
Your piece should be about 43 – 44 inches in length.
The open edge (long side w/o pins) should be about 12 inches wider than the towel.
Excess flannel along one of the long edges (approx 43 inches)
Cut off this excess (I pinned a few times to keep it stable while I cut the excess). This rectangle will be used to make the hood.
Cut off excess strip of flannel (about 12 inches wide)
Making the hood
Fold the long strip of flannel (approx 12 inches X 43 inches) in half, short end to short end.
Fold the long rectangle in half, short edges together
Cut along the fold, resulting in two rectangles.
Cut long rectangle in half – you’ll have two smaller rectangles
Fold each rectangle in half, selvage – to – selvage, and pin in place. These are the outside and lining pieces of the hood.
Fold the two rectangles in half, short edges together
Sew with at about a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Stitch hood piece edges, about 1/2 inch SA
You should have two hood pieces that are inside out. Two of the open edges should be next to each other, the sewn edge adjacent to the folded side. Press the seams flat.
Two hood pieces – outside and lining
Turn one hood piece right-side-out.
One hood piece is right side out (on the right), one is inside-out (on the left)
Insert the right-side-out hood piece into the inside-out hood piece.
Insert the right-side-out hood piece into the inside-out hood piece, aligning all edges
Line up the edges of the hood pieces – the edge that is one continuous piece of fabric for each piece, not the edge that has the seam in the middle. The edge with the seam will be used for attaching the hood to the towel.
Pin along the continuous edge of the hood (front edge)
It should start looking like a hood. The pinned edge of the hood will be on the front of the head.
Lay the pinned edge flat for sewing
Stich along the front edge, about 1/2 inch seam allowance. Trim edge.
Stitch along continuous edge.
Turn the hood right-side-out.
Turn the hood right side out
Meanwhile, back at the Towel…
Remember the edge of the hood with the seam in the middle? Well, now it’s that edge’s turn for some action. Go back to the main piece of the towel, you’ll be working with that open edge. You know, the long edge without pins?
(Temporarily) pin the hood-edge-with-seam to the open edge of the flannel. You’ll have to fold back the towel.
Pin the edge-with-seam to the long edge of the flannel
Now fold the towel over the hood-edge-with-seam. Be careful not to catch the smooth edge of the hood as it does not need to be attached. That would result in a project for Regretsy. Read it. It’s funny.
As you pin the towel to the hood & flannel, remove the pins from the hood. Your towel should look like a sandwich: towel, then hood-edge-with-seam, then long flannel edge.
As you pin, you may notice the towel likes to ‘give’. By ‘give’ I mean stretch. And by stretch, I mean it can be annoying and cause you to smooth out and re-pin the whole frigging thing. Not so simple now, eh? Re-thinking those pin-tucks are we? Hmmmm….Keep on pinning along the long edge – you now have 4 sides completely pinned and ready for stiching.
The towel should look like a hood is hiding between a layer of flannel and towel. Because it is.
All pieces layered and pinned. The hood piece is hiding!
Don’t you hate it when you’re following instructions and at the end of one part it reads:
“Oh, be sure to ________ before the preceding 3 sentences.”
And you’re caught off guard with an extra hour of seam ripping to do? I won’t do this to you. Anyhoo, moving on.
This next part involves preparing for turning this project right-side-out. It’s my way of marking the space through which most of the towel will go through. Leave it as big or small as you want, as long as you’re confident you can top stitch it closed.
On one of the sides (preferrably NOT the one with the hood), place two pins about 6 – 8 inches apart. Take two additional pins and pin them into the fabric, perpendicular to the existing pins. Make sure there are no pins in this 6 – 8 inch space. You will not stitch in this space.
You’ll start sewing from the bottom edge of this 6 – 8 inch space. Sew all the way around the towel until you reach the other pair of perpendicular pins (say that 3 times fast).
Stop sewing. Well, don’t stop. Do some backstitching. Then stop! And cut off the excess, clipping the corners.
Turn your piece right side out.
Turn right side out through open section
Right side out
Then, before top stitching, I pin the top edges of the fabric together to keep them in place. I do this along the hood, too.
“Jump” from the towel-edge to the hood-edge…like one continuous piece with angles.
Here’s another part without any suprises. Don’t start top stitching at the hood. Pick another side. Using about a 1/4 inch seam allowance, top stitch the project, but STOP just before you reach the hood.
You’re going to ‘jump’ the stitching from the edge of the towel to the edge of the hood. To put it simply, continue stitching from the towel to the hood and back to the towel, as if it involves a couple simple turns.
Go back to the open section of the seams. Fold each raw edge inwards and pin the fabric edges together. Play around with it for a bit, and it should appear to be the same as the rest of the towel edge. Just pinned for top stitching.
Top stitch all edges, including the open section
Aaaaand, here it is!
Inside of the towel
Back of the towel
Hooded Towel – complete!
My friend’s daughter is lucky…she’s getting five towels.
Do you like this project? Let me know your thoughts and questions…I’m making four more and will post when they’re done.
Update! Here are the remaining towels: