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Sew Up an Easy Hooded Bath Towel

I’ve made each of my kids their own hooded bath towel when they’re born. I make them one with their name on it and one with a fun appliqued shape on the back. These towels are super easy to make, needing only limited sewing know-how. And they make for great birthday or baby shower presents for others.

Hooded Bath Towel

Sew Up an Easy Hooded Bath Towel

Supplies for hooded bath towel:

  • one large bath towel – any color
  • one hand towel – any color
  • fabric for letters – can be anything. I use fleece and it does pill, but I don’t mind as it doesn’t fray.
  • scissors, pins, sewing machine
  • extras: ric-rac, double bias tape

hoody-supplies

Instructions:

First, cut your hand towel in half horizontally. Then lay out your large bath towel on the floor and center one of the cut pieces of hand towel on top of the towel. Put the cut side up, so that the sewn end in the one being sewn to the large bath towel, then you don’t have to fold over the edge.

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hoody-cut-half

Updated: You only need one half of the hand towel to make one hooded bath towel. I usually buy 1 hand towel and 2 bath towels, and it gives me two hooded bath towels.

hoody-cut-side-up

Pin the cut hand towel to the large towel and sew in place. It doesn’t really matter how you sew them together, I actually like to sew them on top of each other, not right sides together. But either is fine.

hoody-ends-on-tophoody-pinned

Fold your hood together in half, pairing the cut side together. Sew this together. I don’t mind that the seams show and will fray a little after washing, this is the part that is on the inside and their heads cover that.

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You could be done here, but I like to add a few extras, a name or a shape to the back that I applique to the towel. I’m no expert and not a perfectionist, so most times the applique comes out a little wonky! I cut out letters/shape from fabric, pin them on, sew around each with a zig-zag stitch and call it good!

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I’ve also added some double-bias tape to my newest baby’s towel, down the sides and on the hood.

Hooded Bath Towel

Baby Hooded Bath Towel

Have fun making your kids some new towels. I’m actually thinking I should make one for me!!

193 comments

  1. So I was given 4 child sized beach towels and thought that I’d try this project. I took one of the beach towels and cut it into 4 even pieces (I first cut in half to see the size for the hood and thought one more cut -into 1/4 would be best). It worked like a charm. I added some cute ribbon for my girls and voila! Thanks for the project information

  2. I have made baby hooded bath towels for years. I always used the fingertip towels with fringe. You never had to cut, so never had any trouble with fraying. Now, I am not able to find fingertip towels anymore and I’m expecting my third grand-baby and in a delemma. What to do!!?? Was glad to see how you do it! I think that might be my answer! Thanks!

  3. These are brilliant! Wanted hooded towels for my two children and couldnt find any son liked. Made 2 of these in an hour, added ears to my sons black one and have very happy ‘batman’! Thankyou

  4. Hi Marie ,
    Thanks for the step by step instructions , it looks really simple but i would like to know how do i make it into a robe for my little one i.e is with sleeves ?

    Thanks
    Tanisha

  5. This is so easy! Made them for my boys and now making gifts! I added a French seem on the hood which only added maybe 5 minutes of sewingand eliminates the frayed edge.

  6. I’ve tried this before. EVERY time I do it, it makes my machine go wonky. How do you keep your machine from breaking when you sew the layers together?

  7. Marie,
    I’m looking for your kitchen towel bibs. Do you have the pattern for these? Any help would be great. Thanks!
    -Angela

  8. I was very pleased to chance this web-site. I wished to thank you for your time for this grand read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff your website.

  9. Absolutely love this. Have made a few for my grandson and this will make great gifts.
    Thank you for keeping it so simple and easy.

  10. This is SO cute and the way you describe, it is really easy, I have read other directions that are really difficult to understand! I am going to have to make one for each of my grandsons for Christmas this year!

  11. I just found this. WOW, what a good idea. I have 2 questions. #1. what size of a towel do you use for babies. #2. how do you copy this and get just the pattern. and not all the comments.

    1. For this tutorial, I’ve actually just used the same size towel for babies. It’s big, but they grow into it. My 9 year old son is still using his same towel I made him as a baby! But if you wanted something smaller, I’m sure there are smaller towels out there.

      And for printing this out, I don’t have a “printer” button yet. I need to get one! You can just “copy and paste” the text and photos into a word doc.

      Thanks for your email. Have fun sewing!

  12. This tutorial is by far, the easiest to follow that I’ve found so far and still looks just as great as the others! Can’t wait to make this for my niece’s baby shower!!!

  13. Anyone have advice on what size needle to use, type of stitch, length, tension, etc? I just broke my needle on my first attempt at this project. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jackie – Sorry to hear you broke your needle, that’s the worst. These towels are quite thick to sew through. I just used my regular ol’ needle my sewing machine comes with. But you could try calling a sewing supply store, like JoAnns or a local fabric store for more details on needle size. For the stitch, I like to use the zig-zag stitch and I put my length to a 4 and my tension to a 3-ish. But I know every sewing machine is different, so I’m not sure those measurements will work with yours.

  14. I am a grandmother, I had hooded towels for my kids, a bazillion years ago, and I was so happy to see this. I have the towels on my dining table to make the hoodies in the next couple of days.

  15. I just made one of these and it turned out great. My bath towel was large, so I cut it in half and am making two for my first grandbaby. I trimmed the cut edge of the bath towel with some flannel, the added the half hand towel. Thanks so much for the idea.

  16. Can you also make these out of fleece or is that not as absorbent? I have been making lap robes out of fleece at my Homemakers org. and have fleece left over and was wondering what else I could make with it. I am doing a baby basket and was looking for this pattern to put in the basket. What a wonderful video and was so exact. Thanks

  17. Many years ago, when I was in school Home Ec class, we learned how to make a slip on dress from two large bath towels. Then we made slip on shoes from two wash clothes. This would be wonderful to add your idea to the slip on dress. You would have a complete ensemble. Very cool.

    1. I just thought of something to add to the one you make for yourself. Sew some wash cloths to the front of the bath towels to provide pockets if you so desire. Cute.

  18. Thank you so much for the instructions for the hooded towel. I am going to make one for my very first time, for my very first grandchild, Ariel!! I am so excited! She will be 3 months old tomorrow. You are awesome!

  19. Love this. We were out at the pools today and my kids were wearing their hooded towels, I said to my husband I would love to have a hooded towel for me. I have been searching somewhere to buy one but now I think I will sew one. Thanks

  20. These are great! I made a couple for my nephews as Christmas gifts! One thing I did change though was the shape of the hood; I rounded it out a bit so it wasn’t so pointy. Other than that, I loved making these! I made my hoods into monsters! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  21. I love these towels. I have been making them for years for baby shower gifts and birthday gifts. I use a wash clothe as the hood instead of the hand towel. I also put names on the towesl and put decorative shapes on my towels also. I use cotton fabric backed with sewable iron fuesable webbing. It keeps the fabric from freying and holds the letters on until I finish sewing. To make the letters I use the letters that a teacher would use to create a bulletin board, I trace the letter facing backward on the paper backed fuseable webbing that has been ironed onto my fabric. I then cut out the letters, remove the paper backing and iron on to desired area of towel. I then will use a contrasting colored thread, sew around the letters in a close zigzag. It is great for beach towels too. There are many other things you can do to the towels too. If you need futher directions reply and I can explain better.

  22. I have used your instructions to make several hooded baby/toddler towels. I did make a bit of a change when making the towel for my newborn granddaughter. I pleated the towel when pinning it to the hood part. This turned out great. I also added washable printed ribbon to the inside where the hood is sewn to the towel. This gives it a personalized touch and covers the seam so not to scratch the little one’s neck.

    Thanks for sharing.

  23. I got 2 of these for a shower gift with my first child. We used them till they wore out. Then I made some and started giving these away at baby showers. My kids loved them so much but got too big for them. So I bought bath sheets and made them for them one christmas they are teen agers now and still love them.

  24. Thanks so much for such a great tutorial! Your pictures and directions are so clear and helpful. I can’t wait to make some for Christmas gifts.

  25. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I just whipped up a hooded towel for my 7 month old son. I think it only took me 1/2 hour! And I’m a novice sewer! I added some spiderman fabric to the hood just to make it “cool” for my little guy. I love it!

  26. I have been looking online for a clear explaination of how to do these hooded towels–thank you… finally somebody who explains this in simple terms that doesn’t overwhelm me–i think I can actually do it now… can’t wait to make these towels :)

  27. I wrote you back aound August of last yr. about how tickled I was to find this helpful pattern you posted! Well, I didn’t get to finish the towels for my grandkids or my sisters grands either until the end of May!!! I made over 16 of them!!! The kids are so thrilled with them. Now they want to use them every night after bathtime, so the mommies are asking for another one so they don’t have to wash the one they have so often! lol
    Go to my FB Album page (request me as a friend! ) to see how they all turned out! I would love to have you see them.
    Thanks again!!

  28. Thanks so much for the tutorial. It was super easy. A friend asked me to make one for her to give as a baby gift but I hadn’t seen a hooded towel made from a large bath towel and wasn’t sure where to begin. I was thinking about the small baby ones that would be a square and a triangle sewn over in the corner. I googled and found you. I used super thick towels and did break a needle where the towels had nice thick edges but I moved my seam and was able to finish easily.

  29. I came across these instructions and I needed to make hooded towels for a friends toddler that has outgrown her baby hooded towels. The instructions were very easy to follow, but I made my own changes, b/c I have a tendancy to over stitch things. For the hood after the hand towel was cut in half, I french seemed the hood for a soft finished edge on their head. Then attached to the bathtowel, I didn’t like the seam standing up, after straight stitching, I then zig zagged, then finally straight stitched it down to the bathtowel and it ended up looking like it was a flat felled seam. I made 4 of them in 2 hrs.

  30. I am thrilled to have found your website!!!
    I LOVE this tutorial and feel really stupid for buying the towels I do. I got hooked on hooded… but PONCHO STYLE towels for my son, and they are so hard to find, and usually made out of really cheap toweling material. I can’t wait to make my own now with better towels. I think I can just make it this same way, and sew another towel along the top edges (where shoulder would be), leaving an opening for the head, to make the poncho effect. Our bathrooms are cold, and the poncho is great – just throw it over their head when they stand up, and they stay warm (front and back and all over).

  31. This is so easy. It took me ten minutes to make the towel. Going to add a name and put something along the edges. Great Christmas gift for a kid who has everything!!!!

    1. Also… going to put rounded corners of a washcloth on the hood with eyes on them to make it look like a frog!!! Should be super cute!

  32. Thanks for the super easy tutorial. I made one for my 3 year old son last night. I tried it on him this morning and he loved it. I am going to have to make the hood slightly smaller for my 17 month old daughter though. Thankfully that will be an easy adjustment to make.

    Thanks again!

  33. Thanks for the easy to follow directions to making these towels! Can’t wait to make them for my 6 grandkids for Christmas! Thank you again!

  34. Thank You Very Much for Sharing! I’m going to make them for christmas presents this year for my day care kids :)

  35. I was recently directed to this tutorial. I love it – a great idea and an equally, well-written instructions. Thank you for posting. Today I am linking up to this tutorial from my blog.

  36. I am no good at sewing small things.. going in a straight line is about all I can do.. lol.. I was wondering if iron-on patches/appliques would work on a hooded towel. Thanks for any input!

  37. Found this last night and could not WAIT to find some older towels to try this out on! Well, I found some today and made one!! I was so excited, i had to call my Mom! So much better than spending 25-45$ on ones from the store! YIKES.. Thanks so much for this!! Can’t wait to start decorating them for my little guy!! Excellent explanation by the way! couldn’t be clearer!! :-) Thanks again!!!

  38. Nice tutorial! I have a baby towel made similar to this, but the towel is gathered where it’s sewn onto the hood, and the hood has embroidery along the front edge.
    Just visting your site for the first time while looking for graham cracker crust. :) Thanks!

  39. Thank you so much for the easy explaination on how to make a hooded towel. I just bought a bunch of pirate beach towels from T.J Maxx & want to make them into hooded towels for the beach. Plus, it will make a cute b-day gift. I have an embroidery machine which I will add a name on the back. Something to invest in for the future :)

  40. It worked beautifully! I made two hooded towels today for my kids in about an hour. I bought little patches to sew on the corner for each of them. The longest part was figuring out which way to pin the towels (because I am totally not visual in that way) but now I’ve got it down. What a great birthday gift for friends’ kids – and inexpensive, too! Thank you, Marie!

  41. Jami – You shouldn’t need anything fancy. I have a cheap $100 machine that I’ve had for 10 years and it works just fine. Just go slow so the needle doesn’t bend if it’s thick. If you need to, try to overlap the towel enough to where you aren’t sewing on the thick edges, but in about 1/2 inch. Maybe that will help.

  42. How great! I even think I might be able to do this! Question: can my plain old, not fancy sewing machine handle sewing through towels? Or do I need anything fancy? Thanks!

  43. Georgia – How fun that you’ve made 18 of these, I’m so glad this tutorial has helped! I’m not quite sure about the infant towel. But I think cutting it in half should work, along with a wash cloth. Let me know how it goes and if that sizing worked!

  44. Thanks for wonderful directions. I have now made 18 of these for my grandkids and their friends. I even purchased a special board to help me hoop the towels for machine embroidery. Your directions and pictures are perfect and I have forwarded your site to my sewing friends.
    Question: What size towel would you recommend for an infant????? I figured out that a washcloth would take care of the hood. Would you cut a bath towel in half????

  45. Thank you for posting these directions! I don’t sew, but this was so simple that I had to try! I made six of these for Christmas gifts, adding pompoms to the pointed hoods. My sister needed hooded towels for her three little kids, but the problem was she couldn’t find any that were bleachable. Walmart now sells some thick, soft, brightly-colored towels that can be bleached without fading the colors. This project cost me about seven dollars per towel, and they came out great! By the way…the kids in your pictures are adorable!

  46. Thanks for this tutorial – it is great! it inspired me to create a froggy hoodie towel for my little one. I also have made one with a strip of cool looking fabric across the front of the hoodie part. adds a nice touch – and easier than making a face!

    thanks again
    subha

  47. Another easy one! Made 2 for my son. Didn’t add any embellishments, but the towels had stripes on them already, so I figured that was enough. Thanks!

  48. I make these too! I often use polka dot or patterned towels, and sometimes I add ears with the scraps. My daughter has a pink pig. My son has a brown bear, and I got really crafty with my oldest son and did a shark. I used a white washcloth and added teeth around the edge of the hood, and I used stiff heavy interfacing and made a fin that sticks up from the top of the hood too. Two black buttons for eyes. Cute idea!

  49. My 8 year old granddaughther and I just made the towel as her first sewing project. It was agreat success!.The pictures made it easy for her to follow the instuctions.Thanks for helping make a special memory
    from a greatful grandmother

  50. Thank you so much and yes loved the tutorial…now if you would do the same for that little red jacket you made ….lol. Iam going to try to make it for my granddaughter, the towel is a great idea, since we have a pool, and she comes to swim here every week.

  51. Thanks for this post! It seems so easy! I don’t know why I never thought of making one myself! Now I’m going to go make one for my son! I love using the hooded towels! It is so much easier to wrap him up and dry him head to toe! :)

  52. Thank you so much for posting the directions for making hooded towels. It was so easy to make! My older kids (7 and 9) still like hooded towels, especially after swimming, and it is all but impossible to buy them in larger sizes. I especially like the idea of appliqueing on them – I just finished a lizard one for my son.

  53. Thanks for the help! I think I’ll definitely have to give it a try! I’ll let you know how it comes out! Thanks again!

  54. Samantha –
    I’m sure there’s other ways to make these. I’ve never used adhesive tape before, but if it can go through the washer and dryer, go for it! But it is really simple to sew, a good first time project to start with. I’ve even had a lady ask about sewing it by hand, as she doesn’t own a sewing machine. She just used a needle and thread and said they turned out great.

    Let me know if you did use something else to make this with. Anything is worth a try!

  55. Do you have to sew them? I’ve never sewed and would love to make one for my daughter. Can I just use that adhesive tape stuff that you iron on? I hope so, this looks so cute but I have a major fear of sewing since I don’t know how.

  56. I really like the idea, it is easy to do, creative and very useful. I will also try one for my son. By the way your children are very cute, especially the little one.

  57. I am so thankful to have found this web site..I saw the hooded bath towel at a baby shower & thought if I had a pattern I could easily make it..I have two Great-Grandbabies due this summer..I am anxious to get started..

  58. Thank you for the great tute! thank you for taking the time to write it ! I really appreciate the descriptions .
    Thank you soooooo much!

  59. This is great. It so coincidental that ran I ran across this while surfing
    last night. I was at my step-daughters house last week and she had a couple hanging in her bathroom for her 4 month old. I thought, gosh these should be easy to make. Your instructions are wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I have three baby showers I am going to in May. These would be perfect!

  60. I do not have a sewing machine, and do not know much about sewing, but am very keen to try. About 2 weeks ago I went out a bought the bath and hand towels and now just tonight have found your great tutitorial. My girls are still using the newborn hooded towel they recieved at birth and are commenting it is getting to short.. (they are nearly 4 and 3)… this should be perfect! Can you describe to me what kind of stitch to use (in detail) as I am doing by hand and if its neccessary to wash the towels before I make. Also your photo shows you cutting the hand towel in half.. Do you use the other half or is it saved for some other time. I so appreciate your response. Thanks !

  61. Thank you so much for getting back to me so fast! It did go through easily and the whole thing was so easy to do. :) I’m now going to try to tackle an applique and maybe some bias tape on the next towel… Thanks again!

  62. How cute and easy! I’m definitely going to whip one up for my little one. I’ve been thinking of making her a terry cloth robe, but this is so much easier!

  63. PA Lisa – If you want to add the bias tape, sew the hood together first, add the bias tape, then sew the hood on to the larger towel.

    Catherine – Yes, your towel will go through. If it’s too thick, it may be tight, but mine went through easily.

  64. I’m so excited to find this! I have been looking for a tutorial on how to make these. :) One question though… (I’m a newbie sewer, forgive me) will the towels go through my sewing machine?

  65. Ok, so I’m inspired to make these for my two girls as Easter gifts. I’ve purchased all the stuff…cotton candy colored towels on sale at Target and lime green and purple bias tape. Now I’m trying to figure out at what step you do the bias tape on the hood so it blends in with the towel. I’m kind of a newbie seamstress so I could use lots of advise! Thanks so much!

  66. My son has one of these and I LOVE it! In fact, I just bought a towel to use for my little one that’s due in a few weeks.

    Just a note…Rather than cutting a handtowel in half, you can just use a washcloth!!

  67. Seeing this brought back so many memories. I made these for my kids 24 years ago and for many baby shower gifts. Funny how things come around again…or good ideas never go away. Your towels turned out great.

  68. This is a great idea!! I’ve often lamented the choice in towels for my boys but this is something I hadn’t thought of. I will be trying this out when my school goes on semester break. It looks simple enough even for someone like me that can’t even thread a needle.

  69. I love those towels! They are my favorite! We have a family friend that gave them to us when each of our kids were born!! My son is six now and I STILL use them!! What a great idea to share!!
    Onna

  70. Great idea! Thanks for the pictures too. It really helps me to see the step by step process. You always have such awesome ideas and make it seem so easy!

  71. I just got hooked on these too. It couldn’t have come at a better time as I had 3 friends due in the span of a couple of weeks. Easy as can be, cute, and a whole lot more durable than the store-bought hooded towels.

  72. love it! It’s good to have a visual on how to make these . . . when i eventually get married and have kids! and i had to comment on how cute your littlest is! I haven’t seen her since she was barely born in the hospital! I am LOVING those eyes!

  73. Does anyone have any idea where to find animal patterns for hooded towels? I’ve heard of some called “animal life patterns”, but haven’t been able to find them. Thanks!

  74. I’m so excited I found this tutorial. My oldest son got two of these at his baby shower and I want MORE now that I have another child. They are really great. I never thought about adding an applique. Great idea! I know my pregnant friends would love one too. Yay, thank you!

  75. very cool; I’ll have to try this; the kids love the hooded baby towels still. they’ll have fun picking stuff out and helping make these too! thanks for all of your awesome ideas.

  76. I was JUST looking at the one that Cindy did at Skip to My Lou…….you guys are so lucky you can sew! This looks like MAYBE something I might be able to try.
    Love it.

  77. I had a co-worker give me one of these that she made for a baby shower gift and it’s still (after nearly 4 years!) one of my favorite towels for my sons. It’s SO much better (more absorbent!) than one of thin baby hooded towels that you buy.

  78. My kids love their hooded towels. I make some very similar to yours. I actually just posted it on my blog a few days ago. Great minds think a like!

  79. Thank you soooooo much! I’ve been wondering how to do these and now I know thanks to you. Now I can make them for my children as well as their cousins for their birthdays and such.

  80. Thanks for this! I made one of these years ago with my mom’s assistance. I have been wanting to make some for my boys, but couldn’t remember how (and hadn’t taken the time to look it up). Thank you!

  81. I love these! A friend of mine does this, but have wondered how she does this. Great tutorial…will make great gifts for the nephews, nieces and our kids some day. I love doing applique’ on my machine, too.:)

  82. Wow!!! I love this. My daughters have hooded towels and I have always wished I could make them instead of having to buy them. Thanks for the clear tutorial!

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