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Bob's Doggie Dryer

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Contrary to stories you may have heard, it doesn't really rain all the time in Oregon. We do have a rainy season... it's just a lot longer than other rainy seasons around the world. It's about time for those rains to start, which means soggy dog paws won't be far behind. As with many folks, our pets are inside/outside critters. If they are going in and out during the aforementioned "rainy season," it's nice to be able to dry them off before they come in. "That's what rags are for!" you say. True, but rags are usually not very absorbant, they tend to be kind of small, and worst of all, they leave you and your clothes exposed to the dripping doggie. Sew4Home partner, Bob Johnson thought we needed to design a towel that could protect the dryer while sopping up the dryee. Thus was born the soon-to-be-famous, Bob's Doggie Dryer. It's a long, double-layer towel with a large pocket on either end. Slip one hand into each pocket for easy drying control; the wide center of the towel stays between you and the wet doggie-dog. Great idea Bob, and great modeling job, Doggie Elaine... even though she was a little confused about why we kept pouring water on her head during the photo shoot. 

As you'll see below in the Supplies list, we found a great towel at Amazon. Use this option, or check out the clearance bin at your favorite store. Now is a good time to find beach towel close-outs. You want a nice, thick towel that is highly absorbant, but not so super, bath-towel-thick that you won't be able to sew through all the layers. 

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome 3160DC
  • Walking foot (optional but recommended to work with all the layers and keep things from shifting)

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • 1 large, thick beach towel; we used a 30" x 60" terry jacquard beach towel from Amazon
    NOTE: It will look best if you can find a towel with nicely finished ends. We show you how to cut the towel so a finished end becomes the bottom edge of each pocket.
  • ½ yard of 1" - 1½" twill tape (or similar) for hanger; we used 1½" cotton twill tape from Amazon
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Tape measure
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

NOTE: You'll notice below that we are using "right side" and "wrong side" as we would normally do in instructions. Towels are usually the same on both sides, but not always. So, I left in these notes to be sure you could keep track either way.

  1. Download and print the Doggie Dryer Rounded Corner Template
    IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of ONE 8.5" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out the piece along the solid line. Set aside.
  3. Trim the finished edge off of ONE end of the towel (about 1½")
  4. On the opposite end of the towel, measure in from the finished edge and cut off 10". 
  5. Fold this 10" x 30" piece in half (so it is now 10" x 15"). Cut along the fold to yield TWO 10" x 15"  pieces, each with one finished 15" edge.
  6. Fold the main body piece in half, matching the finished side edges (the selvedges). As you did above with the 10" pocket piece, cut along the fold to yield TWO 48½" x 15" pieces.
  7. Cut the twill tape into one 10" length. Set aside.
  8. Lay the pattern piece onto the right side of one of the 10" x 15" pocket pieces. The curved side should be facing raw edge of towel, the long straight edge should be at the exact center of the towel panel. There are two handy "pointing fingers" on the pattern. Use these to help you align the piece on the center raw edge and in the upper corner.
  9. Pin the pattern in place. Trim the towel to match the pattern. 
  10. Flip over the pattern (so it is now facing wrong side up), and repeat these steps to cut the other half of the pocket.
  11. Now, repeat the whole shootin' match to make the second pocket with the pattern and the remaining 10" x 15" piece. 
  12. Lay ONE main body piece right side up and flat on your work surface.
  13. Lay one pocket piece right side up on one end of towel body. If you have a strong motif, like we did with our stripes, carefully match the pocket to the main body.  The curved edge should be aligned with the end of the towel and the straight finished edge should be laying across the main body of the towel. Pin in place.
  14. Trim towel body to match curve of pocket.
  15. Repeat to place and trim the other pocket on the opposite end. 
  16. Along the inside, finished edge of each pocket, measure 4" in from BOTH raw edges and mark these two points with pins.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. If possible, attach a Walking foot to your machine.
  2. Starting at one 4" pin mark, edgestitch out towards the raw edge along the finished edge of the pocket. 
  3. Pivot at this edge and continue stitching, using a ¼" seam allowance.
  4. Stitch around the entire curve, stopping to pivot at the opposite edge of the finished pocket edge. Edgestitch in to the second 4" pin mark and lock your stitch.
    NOTE: This seam secures the pocket to the main body of the towel and creates a smaller center opening in the pocket where you will slip your hand. If you left the entire end of the pocket open, your hand would slide around too much. Depending on the final width of your towel, you could choose to reduce or increase the opening. In other words, make your marks at just 2" in from the edges for a wider opening; make them at 6" in for a smaller opening. 
  5. Repeat these steps to attach the other pocket to the opposite end.
  6. Place the remaining main body piece right side up and flat on your work surface.
  7. Place the pocket panel right side down on top of this piece, aligning the sides and the ends. The pockets themselves are now sandwiched between the layers.
  8. Pin in place and cut away the bottom piece to match the curved ends of the top piece.
  9. Find the 10" length of twill tape.
  10. Fold it in half and slip the loop between the layers at one curved end. The raw edges of the tape loop should be flush with the raw edges of the towel and the loop should sit on top of the pocket and underneath the back body piece. 
  11. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around the entire piece, leaving a 4" - 5" opening along the middle of one long side. Again, if you have a Walking foot, now is a great time to use it. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 4" - 5" opening.

    NOTE: We chose to leave this opening along the side with the nice selvedge so there would be less raveling to content with in the final finishing. 
  12. Turn the piece right side out through the opening.
  13. Pull the loop out and smooth the curves of the pockets. Press lightly.
  14. Pin the layers together around the entire towel.  
  15. Topstitch around the entire towel. This secures the layers to one another and closes the opening left for turning.

    NOTE: At the outside edges of the pockets, you will have quite a few thick layers - especially if you chose a towel with a nice finished edge as we did. If you can use a Walking foot, this should allow you to stitch up and over these layers. If you have trouble, stop with your needle in the down position and hand crank (manually turn the handwheel of the machine) the needle across this thick point. 


Project Inspiration: Bob Johnson
Project Design: Alicia Thommas 
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild



Comments (5)

Robyn Sheppard said:
Robyn Sheppard's picture

I have to agree with you about the rain:  I spent three summers as a seasonal park employee at Oswald West State Park when I lived in Oregon.  The first summer, I barely got out of my rain gear.  The next two summers, I never wore it once.  This, despite the bumper sticker that said "In 1990, 57 people fell off their bicycles in Oregon...and drowned!"

MarieM said:
MarieM's picture

Oh my gosh!  I've been making a smaller verson of this "doggie towel" for two years.  I hope you receive as many complements as I have with mine.

Rosemary Rivas(nellieduclos@yahoo.com) said:
Rosemary Rivas(nellieduclos@yahoo.com)'s picture

What a fantastic idea-hopefull you can get the towel on the dog before s/he shakes!

Rosemary Rivas(nellieduclos@yahoo.com) said:
Rosemary Rivas(nellieduclos@yahoo.com)'s picture

What a fantastic idea-hopefull you can get the towel on the dog before s/he shakes!

MaryJ said:
MaryJ's picture

Wonderful idea! To top it all off, that is one sweet, happy doggie!

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