Decorated Bath Towels

Amy Butler’s In Stitches has a really great pattern for embellishing bathroom handtowels with a band of great fabric and a hook to hang it coming out of the bottom. Not content with perfection, I decided to create my own version. I think Amy’s method of including the fabric (it covers the whole bottom, front and back) is better than mine, but the way she has the hooks set in wouldn’t really work with what I wanted to do, and mine doesn’t require as much fabric, so, you know, pros and cons.

Decorated Bath Towels

It was seeing that hook on her design that inspired what I wanted to do in the bathroom. I really don’t like traditional towel bars so I wanted another way to bring some color and some utility into our guest bathroom. Guest bathrooms always seem to have the same problem. If the towels look remotely elegant, people don’t seem to want to use them. In the bathroom off the front door I’ve got a bunch of towels rolled up in a bowl and I can’t tell you how rarely those get used. People always seem to come out wiping their hands on their pants rather than disturb those towels. Since this would be a guest bathroom for overnight guests, I wanted to make sure it looked comfortable, but still nice. Once I saw that loop she put on her towels, I thought of a bunch of towels hanging up in a locker room on hooks, and I thought I could do it in a way that bridged that formal/informal divide.

The coat hooks came from Cost Plus Imports. I mounted them pretty high on the wall, maybe five feet up? My artist sister is making me some watercolors to go up above them at the very top.

The towels are pretty darn simple. A set of two took almost exactly 1/2 a yard of fabric.

Cut 2 pieces 31″ x 4 1/2″. The longer measurement is the width of your towel, so you should probably measure the towel you’ll be using and adjust that measurement if necessary.

Decorated Bath Towel closeup

Iron over a 1/4″ seam allowance on both long sides of the band of fabric. Pin in place on each edge of the right side of the towel, and sew down as close to the edge as you can aim. Push the short side ends in between the fabric and the towel, and press in place. Sew the short ends down.

Cut one piece of fabric 3″ x 8″. Match right sides together and sew down the long side to create a tube. Turn the tube right side out and press down with the seam in the middle of one side. Turn the raw edges into the tube about 1/4″ and press to make them stay.

When I student taught a kindergarten class, we would say for the next step: Fold the towel hot dog style. So the towel would be folded down the middle to make it long and skinny. Short sides matched in half. Make sense? You have to make those sewn bands of fabric perpendicular to the loop so that as they’re hanging you see as much of that fabric as possible. When your fabric is folded this way, pin your loop onto the middle of the towel.

Decorated Towels, Hook

Sew in place by sewing a square, and then crossing diagonally. This looks nice and finished, but it also makes the hook way strong so it won’t rip off the first time someone needs to grab a towel.

In honor of my inspiration, I used fabric from Amy Butler’s Daisy Chain line, contrasting the band and the loop.
Decorated Towels, Band and Hook

I’m really pleased with how these turned out. I think it’s an appealing display, but something about it doesn’t seem as untouchable as a set of neatly hanging towels in a color that matches the bathroom. I think someone might just get up the courage to wipe their hands on these.

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