DIY Quilted Towel Tutorial

As I try to come up with ways to make gifts for family and friends, I'm obviously drawn to sewing gifts and also gifts that can be useful. Zippered pouches are perfect for tossing a gift card and some chapstick inside.  Handmade kitchen napkins are fun gifts for the host/hostess in your life. (I gifted some to my MIL years ago.  My corners are terrible but she still uses them.  It's the thought that counts. ;) )

Now, I have little ones in my life who LOVE when mom makes them things.  In the Spring both of my boys celebrated their birthdays and I gifted them new quilted towels.  They are growing out of their hooded towel phase and this was a way to gift them something practical and fun at the same time.  They LOVED them.  Can you believe it? They were excited for new towels! 🤣 I made sure to use fabrics that they loved and boom, instantly a hit.  Eight months later, the quilted towels have held up amazingly well and I'm making another pair for Christmas gifts.  I wanted to share this quick and easy quilty project so you can make some for people you care about, too. :)

Materials Needed:

  • Towel (whatever color and size your heart desires)
  • Scrap fabric
  • Binding

Before I begin I typically wash my towel.  I don't wash my fabric because I'm a rebel but you can do this if you wish. 

Begin by measuring your towel to know the approximate length and width of the edge where you plan to put your fabric. Mine was approximately 7" x 31" but as towel sizes vary, you will want to measure yours to be sure.  From there cut strips of fabric to the length needed for your towel.  I had a few strips of fabric that weren't 31" long so I went ahead and stitched two pieces of fabric together to get the length needed.  The great part about this is that you can really sew this however you want.  You can use quilt block scraps.  You can make this one single fabric.  You can do multiple tiny 1" strips.  Its really up to you which is why I'm a bit vague. :) For this towel I used three strips of fabric ranging from 2.5" to 4".  Go ahead and sew your strips together.

Before attaching the fabric to the towel, I like to cut off the edge of the towel.  It is a bit bulky and leaving it makes it difficult to sew when attaching the binding.

towel with edge cut off

Now, lay your fabric on the edge of your towel.  Line it up where you would like it and then flip it over to the left, making your fabric and towel right sides together.  Pin like shown.  Stitch a 1/4" along that edge.

After sewing your fabric to the towel, flip the fabric back over so you can see it right side up on top of the towel.  Press.  Now we are ready to quilt.  (I don't use batting but still call this quilting.) Instead of pin basting I went ahead and grabbed some straight pins to hold my fabric in place.

Quilt as desired.  I chose matchstick quilting but again, the possibilities are endless! :)

Time to trim the edges and attach binding! Cut off any excess fabric from the edge of the towel.  Also, if you don't have binding already pre made, you will need 2.5" x perimeter of edge of towel.  You should be able to get away with (1) 2.5" x WOF (per side of towel) unless you are using a bath sheet.

Now, before you attach your binding, fold over the end of it so that you don't have a raw edge.  You won't be attaching it to the other end of a binding like you would in a quilt so it's important you fold here so it doesn't fray.

Attach binding to the towel.  When finishing, cut your binding and fold it again so you don't have a raw edge.

Flip over and finish binding as desired.  I typically finish by hand binding my quilts but since these are towels and plan to get washed often, I prefer to finish with machine binding.  

And voila! You have one side of your towel complete! Repeat the process for the other side and you have yourself an easy, useable, and fun gift for someone special. :)

I hope you enjoyed this small tutorial.  Tag me on instagram if you make any! Thanks! :) Jamie @getzmadeco

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