Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Hooded Towel. **Completed project + tutorial** from Martha Stewarts' Sewing Book

In order to show the book to it's potential and for something lovely to sew for my growing pile of bambina things, I thought that I would follow the inspiration and some of the instructions from the 'Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts: Basic Techniques Plus 150 Inspired Projects' book and make something.

I chose this project as I thought that it will probably not be something that I will be bought 10 of when little lady is here (like baby grows!), easily personalised and it's nice and clear to make!

Materials that I have used for this were...

I used a larger towel than required in the book, mine was larger than a hand towel but smaller than a bath sheet, so rather than using a flannel + hand towel, I cut the larger towel and used the cut piece as the flannel (face cloth) requested.

OK, so here are the instructions from me:

1. Get your towel and measure it, mine is 125 x 70 cm. If your towel is bigger or smaller, just make the proportional changes...

2. I cut it at 45 cm down the towel, leaving me with a 80 x 70cm piece and a 45 x 70cm piece

3. Then I cut 8cm off each side of the 45 x 70 cm piece, leaving me with a 54 x 45 cm piece of towel

4. Fold the side in half (my 54cm side) and sew across the top with a 1.5cm seam allowance and then zigzag shut the seam.

5. You can now unfold the piece and it will fall into place like a hood!

6. I then cut off a further 6cm off the base of the hood. 

7. Fold up remaining 4cm into a 2cm hem

8. Zigzag hem at 1.5cm. Cut some shoulders from the main body, I cut the corners out at 12 cm in my version, you don't have to do this... but I wanted to add a little bit of shape. Then fold down neckline 1cm. Zigzag carefully...

9. Place hood underneath main body, hiding the upwards turned hood hem.

10. Pin in place and stitch across with a straight stitch.

11. It will now look like this from the front...

and this from the back...

12. At this point, I decided to insert a buttonhole. The Martha Stewart instructions and version do not include a button, but I thought it would be handy... and look nice! 

13. I made my own straight-grain tape (as opposed to bias-tape) as I had no curved edges and could get away with a straight-grain tape. So, I cut 10cm strips to a total of 3m in length. I think sewed all the strips together.

14. Fold in half...

15. Then fold in on itself, like a take-away menu (!)

16. Then half it again, to make the tape. It takes about 25mins to do it this way. Put on the radio and make it bearable! 

17. Attach the tape to the hooded towel with pins. Stitch around the parameter- bevelling at edges...

18. Add the button....


In regards to how the instructions helped me, the words needed some 'thinking' about as I said in my full review and some readers comments, the wording can be very strange at times and blunt. It wouldn't be a tone of direction that I personally find that easy to understand, first-time-round anyway. I think this is maybe where some very new sewers would get frustrated with the book. As I said previously, this book is for someone who has been sewing about 6 months (or 4 or 5 projects under their belt) as the terminology isn't always clear.

I think this is more an inspired piece from the Martha Stewart book, but I am so glad I have made it. I don't think I would have ever thought about hacking into a towel to make a baby/ toddler sized hooded towel.

Hope you liked my little excerpt from the 'Martha Stewart's Encyclopaedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts: Basic Techniques Plus 150 Inspired Projects'. I do highly recommend this book to new(ish) and old seamstresses a like; it's a well-deserved addition to any crafty bookshelf!

I'm away for a week, there will still be a Friday Review next week... but other than that, I am taking 7 days out to spend it eating lots of family food and catching up with friends and family!

See you when I get back!




  1. This was useful! Hooded towels are simple and maybe overlooked but ours have been used so much that that are tattered, but we still hang on to them because our little boys heads are chilly after the bath. Now I can make new ones! Thanks :)

  2. The towel robe is so cute! Might supersize it for me!

  3. So cute! The edging is lovely. This is a nice idea for a present too. I was planning to make one of these but I got 4 in a huge package of baby stuff from relatives so now I won't bother! Might make a toddler size one later though, as they are so sweet.

  4. Brilliant idea! Love it! Boys have out grown their ones, maybe it is time to make them some...

  5. I want one! Wonder if I can find a towel big enough. Hell I could sew two towels together right!

  6. I absolutely LOVE the finaly result! I love the mushroom fabric you used on the edges, so cute! I remember we had one of these hooded towels when I was a kid. Of course I can't remember myself wearing it, but I do remember I carried my little brother around in one.

  7. Oh honey you are a wiz at this stuff! :) I love the contrasting binding and colors! I will be back should I have little ones to make this for - I love this idea and you break it down so nicely :) Great job! :) ♥ Dawn

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