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Hooded Bath Towel Tutorial

One of my favorite things to give for a baby gift is a nice, fluffy, hooded towel.  This is why.  I think there is almost nothing more adorable than a baby all snuggled up in a hooded towel right after their bath with their sweet little face peeking through.  When the baby is smiling it's even better!  So when I give a hooded towel...I like to think that I'm giving the parents more than just a towel, but sweet moments and memories with their baby.    

My daughter loaned me her Baby Annabell doll to use as my model so I could try to show you how the towel fits.  I'm pretty sure she thought I'd gone nuts when she saw me taking pictures of her doll in a towel!  I'm afraid that blogs can make moms do crazy things sometimes. :)

My Mom taught me how to make these hooded towels years ago and she's made them for years before that.  I've used several different styles of hooded towels, but this one has always been my favorite because of the pleats on the sides that bring the towel in snug around the baby's shoulders.

Hooded Towel Tutorial
 If my directions don't make sense, just look at the pictures, a picture is always better than words. 
(I wish the pictures weren't so dark, but there was a storm outside when I took them.) 

1.  You will need one bath towel and one hand towel.  If you want to make two hooded towels, you'll need to buy two bath towels and just one hand towel.

2. and 3.  Cut the hand towel in half.  (One hand towel will make two hoods.)

4.  Take one of the hand towel pieces, place it right side up, and then turn the finished edge over about 1" or so, pin and sew it in place.  If your towel is small or if you're making it for a toddler, you might want to skip this step so the hood will be deeper.   Also, if the towel has a pattern, or if you would like to have the binding on the towel on the front edge of the hood, you can cut 1" off of the cut side of the towel instead of turning the towel back in the front of the hood.

5.  Fold the left side of the towel over so the towel is in three even sections.

6.  Hold onto the top right corner of the side you folded over and fold it down to the left, so it makes a triangle at the bottom.

7.  Repeat with the right side.

8.  You now have a hood.  Line up the bottom edges, pin together, and sew using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Sew over it again with a serger or use a wide, close, zig zag stitch to prevent fraying.


9.  Back view of the hood.

10.  Fold the bath towel in half and mark the center with a pin.

11.  Fold the hood in half and mark the center back with a pin.

12.  Lay the towel down, right side up, and then lay the hood on top of it, right sides together, matching the pins in the center.  

Pleats:  You will sew three pleats on each side of the towel (about 1" wide or so, depending on the size of your towel).  When you pin them, make sure that the folds of the pleats are all facing the center on the hood when you are looking at the inside (wrong side) of the towel.   The pleats will all fit between the folded back band on the front of the hood and the center back flat section of the hood (see back view).  There will be about 6 or 7" of towel left on each side that isn't pleated to wrap around under the baby's chin.


13.  Before you sew the pleats in, fold the hood and towel in half and make sure that both sides of the towel are the same length.

14.  Sew through all of the layers.  It will be thick, so sew slowly.  You can sew it twice to reinforce the stitching if you'd like.  (Optional) Zig-zag along the edges of the seam, through all layers, to finish the edge and hold the layers together.  Clip any frayed edges that poke through the zig-zag.

15.  Clip the threads and you're done!  You could add an applique to the towel, or embroider the baby's name on it if you'd like.

Update:  More pictures of how to fold the hood.

Sometimes, if the towel is plain, I'll sew a patterned ribbon onto the hood, in the spot where the green stripes are on this one.  The ribbon should be sewn on first thing after you cut it in half.  When you sew ribbon, sew it in the same direction on both sides to avoid puckering and turn the ends under so they won't fray.
This towel is a bit large for a newborn (I preferred the smaller terrycloth towels for newborns), but will fit a baby from around 3 months old until they are around 4 years old.

Price of a hand towel...$2.88
Price of a bath towel...$3.88
Sweet moments with baby...Priceless!
I hope you'll enjoy these towels as much as I have.

 Today's Fabulous Find...Hooded Baby Towel

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The Sterling Cherub said...

I want one of these ... for me! Any idea how I'd make one for an adult? LOL!



Janet said...

In Reply to Kimberly: Great idea! You know, I bet you could use a beach towel and half of a
bath towel to make one for an adult. If you try it, let me know how
it goes! :)

farmhouse-story said...

cute idea, janet! tfs!

Tammy @ she wears flowers said...

Love those side pleats! I just posted my version for a sewing series I host and I love it because of the pleat to hang it with. Pleats just make everything better! ;)

Lisa said...

This is so cute! I'm dying to have a few of these for my baby. They always look just adorable in them!

cherished bliss said...

Great tutorial! I hope you will stop by and share at my party, Craft and Tell Tuesdays!

Rebecca said...

Very cute! I have wanted to make some of these for my kids but never get to it.

LrSchwtz said...

Super tutorial! Please stop by and link up to my Share the Wealth Wednesday Link Party! I'm your newest follower!

rebekah said...

That is adorable!

Marina said...

Visiting from the blog hop...SO Cute! I need to make some of these! Stopping by from

Rita@martenssmily said...

This is very cute!!!

Just Jaime said...

Looks cozy!

Stephanie Lynn @Under the Table and Dreaming said...

Janet - I love hooded towels for my little guy and this is adorable! Thanks so much for linking to the Sunday Showcase - I greatly appreciate it. I have featured this {sunday}. Hope you are enjoying your week ~ Stephanie Lynn

Anne said...

Your daughter's dolly looks so warm and snuggly wrapped up in the towel! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:

My Serendipity said...

My mom used to make this for the little ones..I love them! And you are right..there is nothing sweeter than a clean baby all wrapped up in a towel!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I am stuck at step 6. I need to know where your hands should be. If you are folding right corner down to left, then the line pattern is in the way... and how can you repeat the right side if the triangle is uneven...


Janet said...

Hi, hopefully this will help--

If you look at the towel and imagine it in three equal parts, you will first take the left side of the towel and fold it over towards the right side of the towel to the two-third mark (when you look at it, 1/2 of the towel will now have two thicknesses of fabric, 1/2 of the towel will have one thickness).

Take the top right hand corner OF THE SIDE THAT YOU JUST FOLDED OVER and fold it down and over towards the bottom left corner of the hood. It will make a little triangle at the bottom.

Then you will take the right side of the towel and fold it to the left, over the side you just folded (to the two-thirds mark) so there are three equal width layers of fabric at the bottom.

Take the top left corner OF THAT SIDE and fold it down and over toward the bottom right of the hood, making another triangle.

There will now be five layers of fabric at the bottom (in the center third of the hood).

It can be confusing the first time or two that you fold the hood, especially when you aren't seeing it done in person. If it's not coming together, let me know and I'll walk you through it one step at a time. ~Janet

Anonymous said...

I am sorry, but I have been trying this a million times, and I'm just not seeing it visually. Can you please take a picture of each step? I'm actually using the exact same towels!! :) Thanks!

Janet said...

I can take a couple more pictures of the steps, but I won't be able to until Monday sometime. If you're trying to get it done before then, send me an e-mail with your e-mail address and I'll help you through it one step at a time. You'll get it, don't give up. :)

Janet said...

To Anonymous: I took some more pictures of how to fold the hood and have added them to the post. Let me know how it goes! :)

Towels for Kids said...

The patterned ribbon is a brilliant idea. It's towels for kids like this that are becoming popular among mums to make personally. Such love on a sewing project!

Donna said...

Thank you Janet for this tutorial! I am starting one right now. It took me awhile to figure out the fold, but I finally got it!! I will let you know how it turns out.

Janet said...

To Donna: That hood can really be tricky the first time you fold it, I'm glad you got it! I once explained how to fold it over the phone, which was quite the challenge. :) I would LOVE to hear how it goes!

Donna said...

Hi Janet,
I finished my first towel. It turned out pretty good. I am not real good at sewing very straight yet. lol! The only problem was on the inside, where the hood connects to the towel, it is really rough from where I sewed it to keep from raveling. Is there anything to keep it from rubbing the back of thier neck? I will send you a picture later, when I am watching my Granddaughter.

Janet said...

On the towels that I've made, I like to zig-zag all of the layers along that seam together to finish it off and then clip any frayed ends that poke through the stitching. This is an optional step that I somehow forgot to include in the tutorial. Sewing bias tape over the seam edges might work too. With all of the bulky layers it could be a bit tricky though.

I'm happy for you that your towel turned out good! The first towels always the hardest. ;)

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Melissa, SoChick! said...

This is a fabulous tutorial! I had an order for an embroidered hooded baby towel to match a burp cloth/bib/onesie set a customer had purchased from me. I could not for the life of me find a plain (no design) quality hooded baby towel and decided I needed to sew my own. I came across your awesome tute and am so completely happy with the outcome of my white towel/hand towel which I then embroidered on the center of the hood. Perfect! Thanks a million for clear instructions and photos! Xo~M

Unknown said...

Made a few for my nephews today. Super easy and quick project. Thanks for the tutorial! The are ninja turtle fans so I used green towels. I sewed white eyes on a hugey wide colored ribbon, colored in the eyeballs with a black marker, and sewed that on the hood.

Janet said...

To Joy: How cute and creative! I bet your nephews will LOVE them! Thanks for sharing your idea. :)

Reyhouse said...

Your towels are one of my very favorite baby gifts to give and each time, everyone loves it - parents, extended family, everyone at the baby shower...It is always a huge hit! I use solid colors with a patterned ribbon for the hood. I have been making them for almost 4 years and now I am getting requests from family members to make a towel for the 2nd or 3rd babies so each child can have their own unique towel! I so appreciate your great tutorial for such a unique hooded towel design! Thanks!!

Janet said...

To Reyhouse: Oh that makes me so happy that you've been able to make so many of the towels, that's wonderful! I love that you are getting requests. :) They are still my go to gift for new babies as well. I've started buying solid white towels and adding a little bath toy to go with it. Thanks so much for your comment, I hope you see my reply.


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