Kids' Towel Coverup: the Wayward Way!

As part of my Summer Sewing Spree last year, I made sunhats for my daughters, a sunhat for me and . . .

Wayward Kids' Towel Coverups!

I found this adorable terry towel coverup for kids, and I fully intended to sew something equally cute for my daughters. But a major time crunch hit and I ended up having to go the super-fast route. So here's the quick and dirty wayward way to make a cute, fast towel coverup for a child, boy or girl.

Step 1: Measure! 
You'll need two (or three) measurements. The first is width around the chest (girls) or waist (boys). You'll want to add at least four inches for overlap. If you want to use elastic in the back (I recommend this for boys, but it doesn't seem to affect my girls'), you'll want to add more width to account for the gathering. Decide how long you want the elastic to be and double that for the fabric, then add that to the width. Remember this one, too! (Also keep in mind that the elastic will need to fall between the shoulder straps for girls.)

The second measurement is length--for girls, that's from underarm to however long you want the cover up to be (mid-thigh or knee length works well); for boys, that's from waist to the bottom of his swim trunks. (Which is often not his knees. Don't make the same mistake as me!)

Step 2: Materials!
You'll need:
  • A towel at least as big as the rectangle formed from your measurements.
  • A piece of cute fabric 4" wider and 2-4" longer than your measurements.
  • Sewable Velcro (or snaps)
  • Elastic (may be optional for girls' coverups; at least 3/8" wide)
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
Step 3: Cut the towel!
Use your measurements to trim down a towel. Towels can be hard to cut, so I would use scissors or a rotary cutter to get through the hem, then rip the towel.

Many towels have decorative weaving near the ends. I cut out the towel between these lines, and save the weaving to form the straps. I also kept the top hem intact.

Step 4: Cut the fabric!
Add 4" to your width and 4" to the length of your rectangle (I added 2" to my length and used the selvage to form the long top edge on some of the pieces), then cut out a piece of fabric that size.

Step 5: Sew them together!
Center the towel on the fabric, wrong sides together (ff your towel has a wrong side). (If you're using the selvage on top, make sure the top edges of the fabrics align.) Fold over the edge of the fabric to meet the edge of the towel, and press. Then fold that folded edge of the fabric again, overlapping the edge of the towel:

Sew along the folded edge where it overlaps the towel (indicated by a dashed line above)--but do not sew the top edge of the fabric to the towel! (You can, however, sew the hem of just the fabric along the top if you're not using the selvage.)

Step 6: Place the elastic! (May be optional for girls; didn't really make a difference for mine)
Remember the elastic measurement we used in step 1? We need it again. Cut that length of elastic. If you want the finished product to have 4" elasticized, we need to work with 8" of fabric. Find the center of the towel & fabric, and measure out 4" (or whatever your chosen # is) on either side. Mark both of these points.

Pin either end of the elastic between the towel and the fabric at the points you've marked. Sew in the elastic (more details here).

Last year's coverup almost fits this year...
Step 7 (girls only): Place the straps!
Either cut 2" strips from the towel remnant, or get the decorative woven strips you saved earlier. If you placed elastic in, pin the straps between the fabric and towel on either side of the elastic. Otherwise, you might want to have your child try on the cover up to determine the best placement and length for the straps.

Measure the strap length twice!

Sew the straps in place between the towel and the fabric. (You can use a reinforced box stitch pattern for this if you'd like.)

Step 8: Velcro/snaps and finish!
If you're very picky, you might want to sew the Velcro or snaps on the front flap to only the towel, so that the sewing lines don't show through. But let's face it, if you were very picky, you wouldn't be doing it the wayward way, would you?

Place the Velcro or snaps on the front flaps. Remember that the inner flap will have the Velcro on the outside (fabric side)! Sew in place. Sew any unfinished edges along the top. And voila!


Just Jaime said...

So cute and functional! Where did you get your adorable models?

Heather Landry said...

I love the little cover ups. I bet the kids absolutely loved the finished projects. Great job!

Tracy said...

These are such a great idea.
They turned out wonderfully as well. Cute photos ;)

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