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Tutorial: prettify your towels

A couple of months ago we were wandering around Designers Guild on the Kings Road and I saw this stack of towels that had been embellished with colourful fabric. It’s such a simple and pretty idea, so I Instagrammed it and filed it away for a future project idea. This week, I decided to tackle it!



  • A towel. For the tutorial I used a hand towel from Sainsbury’s.
  • Fabric. I needed less than a skinny quarter of my fabric for one, but your fabric needs will vary significantly depending on your exact towel. The fabric I used is Family Unit in Aqua from Pretty Potent by Anna Maria Horner.
  • Heat n Bond Lite
  • Coordinating thread
  • A walking foot, if you have one


Measure the length and width of the flat bit of your towel. (Is there a name for that bit?) On my towel, this was just under 1.5″. I added half an inch on each side and the ends for seam allowance.


Fold and press the seam allowance to the wrong side. Lay your pressed fabric strip down on the flat bit of your towel and make sure it fits.



Now follow the instructions on the Heat n Bond to adhere this strip into place on your towel. I ironed the Heat n Bond onto the fabric first, then on the towel.


Stitch the fabric into place right around the edge. I used pale yellow thread on top and teal thread (to match the towel and be invisible) on the back. Repeat on the other end of your towel.


You could stop now, but I like the look of the binding on the bottom edges of the towel. Assuming the binding on your towel is similar to mine, you’ll need a strip about 1.25″ wide. Add 2″ to the width of your towel (if your towel is 10″ wide your strip will be 1.25″ x 12″). Double check this with your towel, in case the binding on your towel is wider than mine.

You’re going to sew your binding strip to the front of your towel first, and your aim is to stitch right along the line where the fluffy bit of the towel meets the binding. Lay your binding strip right side down so that about 1/4″ is on the right side of your stitching line.


Now fold it over to the back, tucking the ends in on the back side of the towel, and pin.



Stitch the binding into place. Repeat on the other end.


You now have a beautiful towel! Yay!



The only thing I might change, if I did this again, is the binding. I really put my machine to the test sewing all those layers at the corners of the towel, where both the towel’s binding and my binding were folded. It might be wise to end the binding before the end of the towel, like I did with the panels. Just a thought for next time!


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