Sunday, May 19, 2013

Baby Towel How-Tos

As promised...if a few days... or maybe a week later...Here are the simple how-to's for the baby towel.

These towels are really simple to make, use just a fluffy towel and matching wash cloth, and take less than 30 minutes to construct once you get the hang of them.  The time consuming part for this towel was all the embroidery that I did before constructing the towel.

Each 4-flower motif:

took about 20 minutes to stitch out and there are 7 of them all together - 6 large ones for the sides of the towel and 1 smaller one for the hood of the towel.  The 20 minutes doesn't count the time to regroup and rehoop after each motif finishes.  

I drew and digitized this group of flowers with my machine when I first got it.  I'm not sure now how I did it...maybe luck?  I can't wait for summer to play with my machine again!  

My embroidery machine - a Pfaff Creative 2170 needs a bit of babysitting while embroidering.  The very moment that I step away a needle breaks or the bobbin thread runs out.  I usually use that time to plan the next project or get some ironing done if I'm feeling really ambitious (not often!).  Usually I just sit there mesmerized while the machine does the stitching! Ha!

I really love the embroidery, though so I think it is worth the time. See: 
Embroidery finished and ready to start construction.
Worth the trouble, right?
Before I had the embroidery machine, I used to stitch decorative ribbon down the front and across the washcloth hood.  That is almost as cute and takes much less time.

The next step is to make the hood from the wash cloth.  To do this I fold the wash cloth in half leaving a 1 1/2-inch border sticking out on the bottom so it is not quite truly in half.  That little sticking out flap piece will be used to connect the hood to the main part of the towel.

Next measure in 2 inches along each of the folded sides of the "hood" and pin a diagonal line down to the opening.
All pinned and ready to sew!
Sew - or serge - along the pin line.  If you are using a sewing machine, sew with a straight stitch, cut off the excess fabric and then overcast with a nice wide zigzag to stop the terry cloth from fraying.
All sewn and the excess trimmed.

Turn it right side out and it is all ready to attach.

The next step is to add a pleat to the back of the towel.  Find the center of the towel and fold it along the center line.  Put in a line of pins 3 inches from the folded edge and about 6-7 inches down the length of the towel.
Stitch with a long straight stitch following your pin line.  Don't worry about the strength of this seam, you will be reinforcing it in a minute.

Forming the back pleat...

Next, open up the sides of the towel and distribute the inside of the pleat to either side of the seam in order to form a pleat in the back inside of the towel.

Stitch down the center on the other side to secure the pleat.

Pin down the pleat along the seam so that the pleat stays evenly distributed on each side of the seam you sewed.  On the other side of the towel (the right side), use a wide zigzag and stitch down the seam that you stitched in the last step.  This will secure the pleat and the pleat seam.  Be sure to reinforce it well at the bottom so that it can endure lots of toddler baths!

Done with the pleat.  This is looking at the towel from the right side.
Now you are ready to attach the hood.  Find the center of the hood and pin the hood flap to the inside of the towel matching the center of the pleat on the inside of the towel.
Attaching the hood...See where I matched the centers?
Stitch down around the sides and bottom of the washcloth where it is touching the towel.  I use a large zigzag.  Be sure to reinforce it at the sides where it meets the towel.  That spot gets lots of wear and tear.
All stitched down.
Now... the final step... flip the towel over and stitch along the top edge of the towel where it meets the hood.  Again, I use a large zigzag. Careful not to catch the front of the hood in the stitching.
The final step!
All done!  

You could add your label here in the back to hang it with if you have a pretty one.  I usually add mine to the bottom inside of one of the front flaps.

The finished towel all ready for years of snuggling in after bath time!
I have a ga-zillion projects in my head lined up for summer...4 more weeks!

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