Whether you’re getting kids out of the tub, pool, or ocean, a hooded towel is just the thing to get them dried off and back on the move quickly.

This tutorial will walk you through the steps to make a children’s hooded bath towel, but we will embellish it with the cutest hooded towel embroidery designs from Designs By JuJu. 

If you like to follow along with a video, check out this great tutorial from JuJu herself:

For this Hooded Towels for Kids project, you’ll need the following supplies:

  • Matching/coordinated bath and hand towels, not overly thick, preferably plain, with no band at the edge of the hand towel
  • Thread, sewing, and embroidery
  • Peeker-style design, size to fit your hoop and preference (I used the 8x8):  https://www.designsbyjuju.com/all-designs/hooded-towel-designs 
  • Fabric or vinyl for the appliqué 
  • Stabilizers for the embroidery
    • Water soluble (WSS)
    • Medium weight tearaway
    • No-show mesh
  • Fusible stabilizer for the appliqué fabric (not needed if using vinyl)
    • HeatnBond Lite or Pellon SF101
  • Iron/heat press
  • Spray adhesive
  • Pins/clips
  • Non-permanent marking tool
  • Ruler
  • Rotary cutter & cutting mat/scissors

I didn't have a hand towel without a band, so you'll get to see how that impacts the finished product at the end of this tutorial.

Hood Embroidery

One of the unique features of this Hooded Towels for Kids project is that the finished hood is self-lined, encasing the backside of the embroidery within the lining of the hood, resulting in a very neat and tidy look!

Okay, let’s get started.

First, analyze your peeker embroidery design. I like to print out the color chart PDF and use it to plan out what colors of thread and fabrics I’ll use for each step or color stop.

In appliqué designs, you’ll usually see what looks like duplicate stitches of different colors. The first identical stitch out is the placement stitch. This marks where you will need to place the fabric you’re going to appliqué. Make sure the fabric completely covers the placement stitch. Next will be the tack down stitch. This holds the fabric in place to trim away the excess fabric. I like using double-curve duckbill scissors to trim away the excess fabric as close as possible to the tack down stitch without cutting into the stitches or your towel. A layer of WSS on top of the towel helps prevent accidental snips of the loops when trimming the appliqué fabric.

Now it’s time to prep your hand towel.  Fold the towel in half and mark the center on both ends, as shown in the picture. On the wrong side of the towel, connect the marks with a non-permanent marking tool, creating a solid line down the middle of the towel.

Hoop the no-show mesh and the tearaway layered.

  • No-show mesh (top)
  • Tearaway (bottom)

Mark the center of your hoop on the top layer of the stabilizer, the no-show mesh.

Spray the hooped stabilizer with adhesive spray.

Position the hand towel on top of the hooped stabilizer so that the center line you made on the towel lines up with the center markings on the hoop, and the edge of the towel meets the inside edge of the hoop. This method is known as “floating.” As a hand towel is not big or heavy, the adhesive spray is enough to hold it in place while stitching. If this were a bigger towel, I would add some pins or baste in the hoop for security.

Press half of the towel and smooth to adhere to the stabilizer, then unfold and press down the other half.

Spray a piece of WSS, large enough to cover the design area, with spray adhesive and lay it on top of the towel, smoothing and pressing down to ensure it sticks.

Load the hoop into your embroidery machine. Orient the design as appropriate for your hoop and machine.

Place the design close to the bottom edge of the towel, centered on the mark you’ve made.

Use the trace function (if available) on your machine to ensure correct placement and clearance of the hoop as it moves.

Stitch the design, stopping after each tack down stitch to trim away excess fabric.

Once all of the appliqué placement, tack down stitches, and fabric trimming steps have been completed, run the remaining embroidery color stops to fill in the design details.

Tear the WSS from the top of the design.  Unhoop the towel and remove the tearaway stabilizer.  Cut away the excess no-show mesh close to the stitches.  

How cute is that?!

You’re now done with the embroidery/appliqué steps of the Hooded Towels for Kids project!  Stretch a little, pat yourself on the back, and get ready for the simple sewing phase of the project.

Hood Construction

Turn the hand towel so that the applique faces up.

Fold the towel in half, with the appliqué inside (right sides together), match up the corners, and pin/clip along the bottom edge of the hand towel.

Using a non-permanent marking tool, mark the midline halfway across the width of the hand towel and pin.

Stitch on the marked line, backstitching at the start and end. Remove the pins.

Turn the towel right side out, poking out the corner/top point, forming the self-lined hood.

Line up and pin/clip the front edges of the hood.

Stitch both layers of the front edge of the hood together at the edge of the towel trim.

You might notice in the pics above that my bottom edge isn’t perfectly aligned.  You might also notice that I haven’t mentioned where to position the tag sewn into the towel trim.  Well, the good news is that none of those things matter because we’re now going to trim off a few inches (approximately 3” will work for most kids who would enjoy wearing a hooded towel) from the bottom of the hood. 

The hood is now complete and ready to attach to the bath towel.  You’re in the home stretch now!

Attach Hood to Bath Towel

Fold the bath towel in half to find and mark the center with a pin on the long side, farthest from the tag sewn into the trim of the bath towel.

Fully open the towel with the right side up (tag down and away from you) and the pin you placed at the center point close to you.

Line up the hood's center, with the towel's center (both right side up), about an inch from the edge of the bath towel, and pin.

Stitch the hood to the towel with a 1/4” seam allowance. 

Unfold the hood and the towel so that the hood is face up and the bath towel is on the wrong side below it. Flip the edge of the bath towel up and over the previous seam sewn. Flatten this out to encase the previous seam and raw edge of the hood and sew in place from one side of the hood to the other at the edge of the bath towel trim (approximately ¼” from the edge).

That’s it. You’re all done making your first kids' hooded towel. Don’t forget to check out all of the other great, peeker-style designs from Designs by JuJu at  https://www.designsbyjuju.com/all-designs/hooded-towel-designs.

Charlotte McKinney

Charlotte McKinney

Charlotte McKinney has been learning machine embroidery since 1999. She caught the bug from her mother and through all the seasons of her life it’s brought her joy. Whether squeezing it in late at night after the toddlers went to bed or having larger chunks of time to devote to it in retirement, embroidery has been a trusted friend and creative outlet.