6/14/11

Tutorial: Beach Towel Poncho, M&C Style.





I've been contemplating a beach towel poncho-style cover-up for the boys for a couple of summers now, and decided to bite the bullet. They really just CAN'T manage a towel at pool side, and one big enough to keep them warm out of the water is just too unwieldy. With the help of some friends, and some thorough Google-ing, I came up with this tutorial, Towel Poncho. This is good idea, but lacked the finesse, if you will, of the fun and snuggle-y beach towel poncho I imagined. Also, I couldn't deal with that unfinished neck! ACK!

So, using that tutorial as a jumping off place, I came up with this one. You can use either sewing machine or serger to sew this, but I used the serger.

For one toddler-sized beach towel poncho:
1 smaller beach towel ($6 at Academy)
12x3 inch piece of matching/coordinating cotton ribbing.
Either a toddler shirt pattern, or a small shirt inside out and folded in half (to use as a pattern)
Sewing equipment and notions
A goofy kid to model your poncho


Choose your towel carefully!  This is serious business!  Aldous chose one with a van and a stack of surfboards, and William chose one with tie-dyed circles. You can use whatever beach towel you have, but you may need to hem it on a smaller kid. The smaller beach towel was *almost* too long for Aldous, who is 2.5.

This is the pattern piece I'm using. If you're using a kid's shirt, turn it inside out and fold down the middle (vertically) so it's shaped like the pattern piece. This isn't couture sewing, so don't worry about the fit being exact: it's a towel.

Fold the towel in half horizontally. Match up the bound edges and pin them, so the upper fold doesn't shift around too much.

Fold the towel again, vertically, and put your pattern with the middle on the fold. If you're using a pattern piece it will say "fold". If you are using a shirt that's folded, put that on the fold of the towel. So, there is a fold at the top of this pic, and on the left of this pic.

Pin this down pretty well around the neck opening.

Cut it out with scissors, un-pin your pattern, and unfold the towel! Look! a neck opening! If your kid is handy, you can check fit, or try on your own head, or do like me and not worry about it. (because it's a TOWEL!!  ha ha!)

Here's the pattern piece I used for the neck ribbing on both of them. Because ribbing is stretchy, the 3T neck pattern is fine for even the 4 year old's neck opening. This piece is 3" x 6", so you need a piece 3" x 12" or two pieces.  Make note of the direction of the stretch, please.

Here are my solid knit scraps, sorted by color in GIGANTIC ziplock bags.

I went with kelly green, but I had to use two pieces because I didn't have a long enough continuous piece. So, I serged two pieces together, on both ends, to make one big circle of ribbing.

Once you have a loop of ribbing, fold it in half, wrong sides together (the wrong sides are the sides your seams are on)

Turn the towel inside out.

Divide the ribbing loop into four sections and pin to the inside of the neck opening.

Serge or sew all the way around.


To make the arm openings, I measured down 10 inches from the shoulder. This makes a really big arm opening. For a toddler you could easily go as small as 6 inches for this opening.




I serged the sides together, but I moved the blade out of the way. I didn't want to cut the edges, since they were already finished. Measure and sew both sides of the towel this way.


So, it looked more or less like this! Sewn and finished, no cutting.

Here's the finished towel, inside out.

And, right side out! Ready to hit the pool! or, pool side.

Aldous, unfortunately, has hit the un-photogenic stage of toddler hood.

At least he's still!

Here's William in his!

What's up with the weird grimace? *sigh*

Peek-a-boo!

Happy towel-poncho wearer!

These took about 15 minutes each, super fast! Another idea I had as I was making these was to re-use the neck binding of a kid tee they might have torn or stained, plus a towel you already have, if you don't want to buy anything. And, the tee with it's neckband gone would be perfect for your neckline pattern.

comments? ideas? Share!

68 comments:

Michelle said...

This is awesome.

Jacki said...

This may be my most brilliant project of the year. Def not my most glamorous, but man, my kids will NOT stay out of these towels! I may have to make some out of fleece!

Keisha T said...

Found this through Pinterest & I will definitely be making this for my kiddos! My 4 yr old always cries when trying to stay wrapped in her towel & she's tripped so many times. This is perfect for her! Thank you!!

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