DIY: Spa Towel Wrap

By Kate Riley September 2, 2009

I hope you’ve had your coffee, cause I’m getting up close and personal this morning. 

When you step out of the shower or bath, what is your first layer of choice, after drying off your bum with your towel?  Are you a robe person?  Do you immediately dress?  Or do you dance around to bad 80s metal in your skivvies?  (Don’t tell us, if the latter is you.)

Quite frankly, I am none of the above.  (Although Mr. CG loves to belt 80s rock ballads while shaving, but don’t tell him I told you.)  Robes make me sweaty (except on the coldest mornings), and I can’t imagine getting dressed right away.  And I’m much too bashful to run around in my underwear.  Day after day, I turn to a spa towel wrap because it covers me with cozy terry cloth, but frees up my arms for all that I must accomplish between 7 and 8 a.m.

My old storebought spa wrap was getting a bit tattered after years of use, so I thought I’d just make myself a new one.  My five year old daughter is just as “anti-robe” as I am (“It’s too sweaty mommmmmmiiiiiieeeeeee” ) so I also made her one too. 

One clearance towel + 1/2 yard of cute cotton fabric + one afternoon = glam spa towel wrap.

Here is the pink version I made for my girl:

before and after spa wrap 

Let me say this loud and clear.  When it comes to sewing, I am an amateur.  I can thread my machine and sew a straight stitch, but that’s about it.  I am learning a bit more with each sewing project, but truly I say to you, my skills are very basic.  So when I say that this is a simple sew project, I mean it.

Here is the grown up version:

  sassy spa wrap final

Turn a towel and some fabric into a stylish spa wrap for you, your child, a friend, or family member.  It’s easy !

How to Make a Simple Sew Towel Wrap:


  1. Large towel of choice (make sure it’s long enough to wrap around your body)
  2. Matching thread
  3. 1.5 inch elastic
  4. Velcro strip
  5. Optional: washcloth if you want a pocket
  6. Optional: prewashed cotton fabric of choice for pleated detail

A quick note on towel selection before I proceed.  The thinner the towel the better, because thick terry cloth will strain a standard sewing machine needle.  Also, be absolutely sure the towel will wrap, and overlap, around your body, not including any ribbing or trim common on the end of most modern towels (that portion you will be cutting off).  For an adult, consider buying a bath sheet, which is larger than a bath towel, to guarantee the full wrap around and necessary overlap. 

Step One:  Trim the ribbing detail off the end of your towel and hem the edge.  

trim ribbing


Step Two:  (Optional, and only if you want the glam pleated effect like I did)  Create pleat like this.  a) Cut 5 inch strip of fabric, b) fold fabric like a sandwich edge to edge, c) run strip of fabric through sewing machine and pinch pleat every inch.

create ruffle


Attach pleat to the side of your wrap that will overlay and show on top.

attach pleats  Moda Oh Cherry Oh fabric

Step Three:  Create casing for upper elastic band like this.  a) Fold over top of towel and sew a 2 inch seam, b) with a safety pin attached to your elastic, pinch elastic through your casing, and c) create gathering with cloth, and anchor elastic in place with sewing machine. 

create seam for elastic - a

pocket for elastic - b

anchor elastic

Step Four (Optional, and only if you want a pocket).  Using a washcloth, trim three sides to size, and allow 1 inch for inside seam.  Pin the bottom of your washcloth to your spa wrap and attach with sewing machine.  Do your best to seam the sides as well.  I found it easier to simply hand stitch the sides of my pocket to the towel wrap with a needle and thread. 

pocket fold If this photo appears convoluted, that’s because it is.  I’ve pinned the bottom of my washcloth to the towel, and measured my pleated fabric accordingly.  Then I attached my pleated fabric and stitched the internal bottom seam of the pocket with my machine.

Step Five:  For your closure, attach Velcro to inside of wrap with sewing machine.  Now would be a good time to mention that you should sew very slowly through this stage, or better yet, turn the needle by hand to avoid breakage.

attach velcro 

My impatience brought me this. 

broken needle

Step Six: (Optional, if you want straps)  For my daughter’s spa wrap, I added some straps from the ribbing that was part of her original fuchsia colored towel.  I simply repurposed it by folding it over, and with a simple seam, creating some straps for her shoulders. 

shoulder straps

Final result with straps:

spa wrap straps

Here is the mini spa towel wrap that I made for my girl with a towel, cotton fabric, elastic, and some Velcro.

pink wrap final  

For the bottom of my daughter’s towel wrap, I also added a ruffle in terry cloth and pleats in cotton fabric, following the same procedure with the terry cloth that I did in Step Two. 

How charming is this little ruffle and pleated fabric at the bottom?

pleated detail

I kept the grown up version strapless, but added the glam pleated pocket and trim.

blue spa wrap from side

Who says you can’t be glamorous even in the bathroom?

Each one of my homemade spa towel wraps took me about 2 hours to finish, and cost me less than $10 dollars since both my towels were on clearance. 

Imagine the possibilities !  You could keep it simple and streamlined, or add darling little buttons, embroider a monogram, or embellish with your trim of choice.  Or create a beach version with a colorful beach towel. 

One final plea.  Professional sewers: Take pity on me.  Tell me if there is an easier way to accomplish all that I have pronounced.  Non sewers:  Do not be intimidated.  I couldn’t sew to save my life three years ago, and I just decided to teach myself.  Purchase a simple machine, new or like my older model, and just start a simple project.  You’ll be patting yourself on the back in no time. 

And if all of this makes you dizzy, then check out these alternatives online:

spa wrap collage

Juicy Couture Spa Wrap, $85;  Victoria’s Secret, $28.50; Target Rugby Stripe, $15; Company Store $32

Happy bathing friends. 


  1. My daughters love those towel wraps and actually received several for high school graduation gifts. I love yours with the addition of a ruffle down the front. Theirs have grograin ribbon trim and their initials monogrammed on the front. Very cute!! They do make wonderful gifts and are not hard to make. Love & blessings from NC!

  2. I am impressed!!! I can only do straight lines too, and I definitely can’t do that. All the folding, measuring, etc. is intimidating to me. I’ve done pleats before, but only b/c someone helped me measure/pin, etc. These look to me like something you might need to offer on your Etsy store. :) Adorable!!!!

  3. great gift to make for someone. you are freaking great with the sewing machine! i wish i was that talented with the sewing machine. thanks for the idea CG!

  4. If you have an “older” machine, rejoice! It probably has a much better motor than the computerized ones you can buy today, so it can go through thick layers like on this project.

    I’m a very experienced sewer (I actually have a Master’s degree in costume design) and think you did an excellent job!

  5. Kate!

    They look fab! I love them. Especially the pleating detail.

    Also looking the new look. I had a little blog break last week/beginning of this week so it’s my first time seeing it.

    I love it!

    Way to go Mr. CG for giving your wife this amazing bday gift!!!

  6. I think my sewing skills are somewhere between where you were three years ago, and where you are now (MIL helped me do a very small, practice 9-patch quilt square on her machine a couple of weeks ago, so I’m working on it). Still, these are the cah-utest towels! My mom loves spa towels. May have to consider making her one for Christmas, and I can just see how my three daughters would be thrilled to have one as well. Thanks for the tutorial! Will definitely be trying one of these out…….after my husband helps me thread my machine again.

  7. Hey CG One tip that might make this easier – it’s not so much the machine as using the right needle! You didn’t mention in your post what size needle you used, I would recommend a size 16 for thick fabrics like jeans

  8. Love it. Adorable! I have to say I’m a housecoat kind of gal, but it definitely does get way too hot in the summer. Maybe this would be a good summer alternative!

  9. Pretty, pretty new blog look! Love the wraps, too. Especially the pocket on the “grown-up” version. ‘Cause you always need a pocket, right?

  10. I’m impressed. I don’t sew, at all. I come from a long line of great cooks, and allergic reactions to anything with fabric, thread or needles. These would be great gifts for high school grads heading to college.

  11. Love the fancy new look! Love the project too…but alas, if I don’t get dressed right away, I’d be wearing that thing all day…or out at the end of the driveway, at the grocery…

  12. These are the cutest things ever! I saw some of these at Walmart, I believe, and walked by laughing, but first off, yours are a milliion times cuter, and second they actually seem practical. I love them now!

  13. I love it!!! I’m definitely going to have to add this to my to do list! I could have used one of these when I had roommates, but now that I live alone I still should be covered in case I forget a blind is open! ;-) Thanks for yet another great idea!!

  14. Very cute! I’m going to need to keep my eye out for some clearance towels to make one for my daughter. Love the ruffle around the bottom.

    I used to make hooded baby towels and I can’t even tell you how many needles I went through.

  15. OH, I’ve been wanting one of these wraps! Thanks for the tutorial! I know what sewing project I want to tackle next!

  16. Everything you make is so lovely and adorable!!!
    Your new site is beautiful, but i must admit i miss the old one (: This is so very “serious”! if you know what I am trying to say!) Well I ll definately get used to it ;)

  17. I am inspired. I’ve had sewing machine waiting for me to use it. I’ve been so intimidated as the only thing I’ve made was a pillow and straight valance. I can’t wait to try your spa towel wrap. Fabulous job!

  18. This looks great. Thank you! I’m always looking for easy and useful projects. I’m a very basic sewer too, and step-by-step instructions are always appreciated. When I give this a try I’ll report back!

  19. Too cute! I purchased a sewing machine a year ago and it has not made it out of the box yet but I will use your instructions as my FIRST sewing project…hopefully, it will turn out as nice as yours. Thanks for the step-by-step instructions.

  20. I’m actually making this as my Halloween costume. I’m going as a sorority girl. I’m going to iron on Greek letters on the back of my towel as well. I haven’t done any “real” sewing since Home Economics in 8th grade. I’m 22 now. So I dusted off my sewing machine and realized this was a fairly simple project. I didn’t do any of the decorative features, but the towel is very simple to create. Instructions are very easy to read and reproduce! Thanks!

  21. I tried making one of these as a Christmas present for my 3 year old. Alas, as you gave no measurements, I guessed and guessed wrong. Though the length is good, the circumference is tight. Would you please, please share the measurements of the one you made for your girl? I have one more towel awaiting me but I don’t want to wreck that one, too! Thanks so much!

  22. Wow! Do you sell these? I’d really love to purchase one! I don’t have a sewing machine so it’d be tricky…. they’re adorable anyway!

  23. Just the tutorial I need! Thank you! I’m wondering how you added the ruffle at the bottom of your daughter’s wrap. Did you finish these off or just do a zig-zag stitch around? Can’t wait to make one for a friend’s birthday. Love, love!

  24. I just loved this idea so much that I used it to make a gift for a friend of mine that just had back surgery. She loved it!! I posted it on my blog to let everyone know what a good idea you had!! Of course it is not as cute as yours.

    Thanks for sharing such wonderful things with us.

  25. I made this just today but I think next time I will use a much thinner towel – it was a pain in the butt to do the delicate sewing by the handwheel and I have a old wrist injury in my right hand – ugh!

    But otherwise, great tutorial!! Thanks for posting!

  26. hi there, thanks for the wonderful post and tutorial. just made my first of many more! great bday gifts!!!! thanks again

  27. Just found a link to this! Thanks for your idea and directions. The pleats really add style and make it look like less like just a towel. I am going to make a nice, THIN one with straps (or maybe just one, cross-body strap) for myself. The store-bought one I had was just way too thick, bulky, and HOT to use often. I also never really liked the color, so I finally gave it to charity since it was still like new.

  28. I’ve made several of these and have been using wide double-fold bias tape (iron the center fold open) for my elastic casing. It is just the right size for 1 1/2 inch elastic. Makes things much less bulky for the seamstress and the wearer! I also use big buttons instead of the velcro because I HATE sewing through velcro!

    • Grosgrain ribbon also makes a nice casing and comes in pretty coordinating designs to dress up the inside of the wrap. Just fold the ends to the inside and top-stitch to the towel. Or, you can make your own bias tape from any fabric trim you put on the bath wrap. It gives the bath wrap a more finished and high-end “couture” look.

  29. So cute!!! I’m making one for my sweet birthday girl, who is having a ‘spa day’ party this Friday :) But I’m curious where you place the the straps… do you mind letting me know? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Kara, I place them out towards the edge to form a square neckline but there’s a range of 1-2 inches where they can sit comfortably.

  30. Found this great seeing project on Pinterest! Thank you sew much!! My family has decided to do a Homemade Christmas this year so this project takes care of all my sisters, nieces & moms! Now I just need a good boy gift. Love your website!

  31. Hi. I love this. Was wondering if you could tell me what size towel you would use for a child. Love your blog! Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Kat, I think you need a regular sized bath towel, just cut it smaller.

  32. interesting….LOL. i just bought some elastic but i had no idea what to even do with it. i don’t even know how to use elastic…or gather fabric…or pleat…..hahaha. i’m a beginner sewing but i did just make my first canvas tote last night (well most of it…it’s missing one strap).
    i might just have to try this. with 2 kids it’s run around in your bath towel or run around in your skivvies. this would make things easier!

  33. These are so cute! My wrap has seen its better days too! Thanks for sharing, can’t wait to get the towels and get started. Thinking of making these for Xmas gifts also.

  34. What a great tutorial! I am already planning a gift for my friend and thinking about Christmas gifts for
    my family :) I am teaching myself to sew also, and this is so non-intimidating! Thank you so much for sharing! :)

  35. I did something similar for myself; however, being a plus-size woman, I couldn’t use a regular towel. I purchased some terry fabric from an online fabric store that would fit around my body. I cut it long enough lengthwise to wrap around me with a several-inch overlap. I hemmed the bottom end and then, on top, I turned over the casing and inserted elastic.
    I didn’t like how the towel hung open in the front, so I added another step. I measured from where the top of the towel was to under my bust, including the curve, and marked it all the way around on the inside. Next I added some double-fold bias tape, opened and pressed so just the edge folds atayed intact, and pinned it over the marking I had made. I stitched along both long edges and then fed elastic through the casing I had just made.
    Instead of velcro I added snaps to hold the edge of the towel closed. I did one snap at the top and one just below the lower elastic. Then, for added security and to make sure there wasn’t any unwanted movement, I went to the place where the bottom layer of the towel joined the top layer of the towel, and I added snaps there as well.
    I love how it came out. It fits me, makes me feel good because I have something like other, smaller people do, and it cost a lot less than it would have cost had I been able to find one in my size.
    These are great, especially on those days when you’re not ready to get dressed but you’re up and around. They’re also good to slip into after you get out of the pool but you’re not done swimming yet.

  36. Thank you for posting this great idea! It is making some wonderful Christmas gifts this year :)

  37. This is in response to Fran’s comment. I am doing these wraps for our friend’s that are husband and wife. I thought since you still had to find a boy gift you could do a waist wrap! My husband loves his!

  38. I love this. I am a big woman and i will have to get two towels just for myself. I will gather the material instead of pleating. I make most of my clothes because of my shape. I will be making for me and my grandaughters.

  39. I agree with a previous post that when working with thick material, you need to use a sewing machine needle specifically made for heavy fabric.
    Also, if you will attach the Velcro to the towel BEFORE turning down the casing, you won’t have to sew through the extra bulk. You would just have to start and stop the elastic at the ends of the Velcro pointing to the middle of the towel instead of at the edge of the towel. This makes for a smoother front panel.

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