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Hooded Baby Bath Towel with Matching Washcloth

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This is absolutely one of the best baby gifts ever! Bundling up baby after bath time with a hooded towel is easier and cozier. The hood doesn't just help dry those clean mop tops, it actually acts as a little anchor, allowing mom or dad to more quickly wrap the rest of the towel around squirming, slippery baby-boo. Ours features a cotton accent fabric for the hood and a matching bound washcloth. Downloadable patterns are offered below.

These simplified instructions keep the hood of the towel as a double layer of quilting weight cotton. If you are more advanced when it comes to your bias binding prowess, see our Hints & Tips section below for notes on how to add a terry cloth lining to the hood.

Our friends at offer a nice selection of terry cloth in both traditional white and natural as well as pretty colors. The fabric accent uses just a half yard, so you could buy new or dive into your stash for a colorful print. A few favorites we spotted include clockwise from left: Michael Miller Space Station Retro, Universal Despicable Me 1 In A Million Bello Minions Orange, Michael Miller Retro Diddly Dot Primary and Child's Play Turtles PInk, which we've shown in the drawings below.

The towel finishes at 30" x 30" and the washcloth finishes at 10" x 10". Bundle up both as a great new baby gift. 

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
  • Walking or Even Feed foot; optional, but helpful if you're new to working with multiple layers; the Janome Skyline S7 shown above comes with the amazing built-in AcurFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • ½ yard of 44"+ wide cotton quilting weight fabric for the hood
  • 1¼ yard of 44"+ wide terry cloth for body of towel and wash cloth; don't go super thick unless you plan on making your own wider bias binding
  • Two packages of ½" double-fold bias tape: we used Wrights extra wide, double-fold bias tape - you could also make your own binding 
  • All-purpose sewing thread to match binding
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Download and print the Baby Washcloth pattern and the Hooded Towel Corner Piece pattern.
    IMPORTANT: Each pattern consists of ONE 8.5" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out the patterns along the solid lines.
  3. From the terry cloth, cut the following:
    ONE 30" x 30" square.
    Using the washcloth pattern (as noted on the pattern piece, you cut along the fold), cut ONE 
  4. Using the Hooded Towel Corner Piece pattern as a template, round all four corners of the 30" x 30" towel square.
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  5. Cut the print fabric into a 15" x width of fabric (WOF) strip. Fold in half, wrong sides together, maintaining the 15" height.
  6. Measure 15" in from the corner along the top edge and make a mark.
  7. Align your see-through ruler at a diagonal from the 15" mark to the opposite corner to form a triangle. Cut along the drawn line through both layers.
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  8. Round off the top point of the triangle using the Hooded Towel Corner Piece pattern as a template – as you did with the towel body.
    Click to Enlarge

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Cut a length of bias tape to match the long bottom edge of your hood piece. It will be approximately 20".
  2. Your two layers should still be wrong sides together. Encase the raw edges of the hood piece with the bias binding and pin in place.
    NOTE: Simply encasing the raw edges with the double-fold bias tape is the faster way to attach binding, and works well with thin layers. The more "traditional" option is to unfold the binding, stitch it in place on the front, then re-fold and wrap the binding over the raw edge to the back, and stitch in the ditch to finish. If you'd prefer this method, check out our fill tutorial on how to make and attach bias binding
  3. Topstitch using a zig zag stitch. We set the swing of our zig zag stitch to run right along the very edge of the bias binding.
    NOTE: A zig zag is a bit more forgiving than a straight stitch; in other words, your seam line can wobble a little without it being noticeable on the finished piece.
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  4. Pin the bound hood piece onto one corner of the towel body piece.
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  5. Machine baste the hood into place ¼" from the edge.
  6. Stitch the two pieces of seam binding together (the remaining piece you already used and the new piece from the second package) using a ⅜" seam allowance and press the seam open. You need a nice, long piece to go all the way around the towel.
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  7. Pin the binding around the entire outer edge of the towel. The terry cloth can be stretchy, so don't be afraid to use plenty of pins - especially around the corners.
    NOTE: As above with the hood, we simply slipped the binding over the raw edges of the towel and hood. If you selected a much thicker terry cloth and created your own bias binding, you should use the "traditional" two-step binding method described above.
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  8. When you get back around where you started, trim the binding so it overlaps approximately 1".
  9. Press this trimmed end under ¼" and pin in place over the top of the head of the binding.
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  10. Top stitch the binding, using the same zig zag stitch as above.
    NOTE: Nice, neat binding is really all about practice, and going slowly and evenly. Don't expect to just wrap, pin and stitch. Going too quickly or assuming everything stays put and never moves is where disappointment lurks: you pull it out of the machine and there's a big chunk of fabric that's slipped out and isn't captured within the binding. Go nice and slow, especially around the corners, easing the fabric into the binding as you go. To help you keep on track, stop periodically, with your needle in the down position, and pivot your fabric slightly.
    Click to Enlarge
  11. Repeat the process to bind the matching washcloth. You should have more than enough bias tape left over from the towel.
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  12. Press both pieces with steam for a finished look. Since the terry cloth can be quite stretchy this step is important for the best finished look. 

Hints and Tips

Extra steps to line the hood with terry cloth

If you want some extra absorbency, you could line the back of the hood with terry cloth. We opted not to do this because it added bulk and made the binding process more complex. However, if you're an old hand at binding, a terry cloth lining does add some softness to the hood.

  1. Simply cut a matching hood triangle out of the terry cloth (depending on the width of the terry cloth, you may need to buy a little extra terry cloth).
  2. Cut just one cotton triangle rather than two.
  3. Machine baste the terry cloth and fabric triangles wrong sides together so you can treat the two pieces as one.
  4. Trim the terry cloth back close to the machine basting to reduce the bulk.
  5. Finish the towel as described above. We would suggest using the traditional two-step binding method (similar to how you would bind a quilt and mentioned above) as it will give you a bit more control when wrapping the thicker edge. Here's that link again to our binding tutorial

Project Design: Alicia Thommas   
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Julia Chapman


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