Saturday, January 15, 2011

How to Re purpose an Old Bath Towel into a Hand Towel

Remember when I said that I needed some matching hand towels for my bathroom? Well since we didn't have any and I didn't want to have to purchase any, I decided to make my own. I looked online for a tutorial and no one had one on how to turn a large bath towel into a few hand towels. So I had to figure it out myself. Why not make my own tutorial!?

First things first, this was a learning process, and after making this towel I learned that I should have put the panel on first before doing the trim. That is the lesson learned and so I will tell you to put the panel on first! 

What you need
1 Large bath towel 
Double Folded Bias Tape
Contrasting Fabric

First I took my large bath towel and cut it into 16" x 19" rectangle. (This is for a smaller hand towel, NOT a wash cloth. If you want your hand towel longer just add more to the length. I used a hand towel that I already had to get my width and length. 

After cutting out your towel you may have some of the trimming to cut off. You don't want any trim around your towel as it will get in the way of the bias tape. So I cut off my extra trim

See? Bye Bye trim!

Okay now you should have a rectangle that looks like this

I chose the part of the towel that had the little panel on it. Just to help me more when I put my panel on and it gives it a little gathering feel to it. But you don't have to chose this section. 

(Remember when I said I had a lesson learned? Well here is where I added the bias tape and then the panel, but for this project its better to add the panel first)

Ok so I took a 3" by 18 " strip of fabric. I really didn't need it to be 18" long, just make sure that its long enough to go across the width of your towel. 

Then I folded the width (or top and bottom) 1/4 of an inch and Ironed it. 

Remember when I chose to keep that gathered piece on my towel? Well this is where it comes in handy. I pinned the fabric panel over it and used it as a guideline to keep my panel straight. 

Now pin the panel straight across and trim the sides to match up with the edges. No need to hem the sides since it will be covered up by the bias tape (Remember I did my bias tape first so ignore that the bias tape is already added in my picture.)

Sew across your panel. No need to sew the edges, you will cover that up with bias tape. 

NOW this is where you add the bias tape. I chose to make my own and if you would like to learn how to make it you can learn HERE

Also here are instructions to sew with bias tape in case you get lost in mine

Here is my double folded bias tape. Ready to be applied.

Now open your bias tape and pin it to your towel. Pin until you reach a corner. Learn to do the corners HERE. She has better pictures and can explain it better than I can.  

Once you reach the corner flip your fabric over into a triangle and start pinning the next edge. You corner should pop up like a little triangle. (Mine is folded down but can you see how I could pull it up vertically and it could be a triangle?)

After you finish pinning your bias tape all the way around the towel. Then you sew it in place. Make sure to sew on the first crease! (or the crease closest to the edge of your towel)


Now flip your towel over and fold the bias tape over it and pin

After you have pinned all the way around, including your corners (remember to go HERE to learn how to do the corners) then you are going to sew as close to the edge of the bias tape. Remember the back of your towel as you do this. Make sure your seam is on the bias tape and not on the towel

And there is my finished bias tape! :) 

Finished bias tape with panel

(I put my panel on after the bias tape so thats why it shows. Yours wont show!) :) 

And you have made yourself a bathroom hand towel! Enjoy :)


  1. wow you're so handy and creative it looks really great!!! sewing is so hard for me.. so props to you. :)

  2. Love the tutorial! so creative

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  4. Thanks so much...I need hand towels and I have large towels and scraps on hand.

  5. Great idea. i tried making them for the kitchen with a slight variation. Its good way to use up large old towels, and lace could be added, as well as little rosebuds. They are quiet fun to make and one feels so accomplished viewing one's own handiwork. Keep the creative juices flowing

  6. I love this idea. I have looked for hand towels, but they are almost as expensive as a bath towel. I have extra towels that I will re-purpose for these, but even if you buy a large bath towel to make these, it will save you money.


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