How to Create Hand Embellished Bath Towels – A Perfect Gift!

You might think twice about getting hand embellished bath towels as a gift, but maybe you need to think about it a little more. They are frugal, practical, and one of those items you will hang onto until they finally begin to become thread bare from all the use.

Christmas gifts during my growing up years consisted of at least a few homemade gifts. My Aunts, Dot and Emily were very frugal women, and knew how to make their money stretch. Aunt Emily spent a lot of time creating beautiful, yet practical items that were loved. Take the set of hand embellished bath towels for example.

hand embellished bath towel

The Search for a Frugal Gift

She would start shopping the ‘Five and Dime’ stores (the predecessors of the Dollar Stores of today) for the foundation of her gifts. One year, she saw a sale on a set of bath towels. She stood there for a moment, studying them, and questioning the advisability of purchasing them. They had plenty of towels at home, but the price was almost too good to pass up.

She was fingering the decorative stripe at the bottom, and thought it just looked so plain. And then her creative brain waves started rising and pounding the shore. Emily began to envision a way to not only create hand embellished bath towels, but also a way to use up her stash of fabric and lace trim pieces.

She bought several sets, then went home and headed straight to her sewing room.  And at Christmas, we were all delighted with our gift. In fact, I still have one towel left from my set, and it is almost 40 years old.

hand embellished bath towel

Create your Own Hand Embellished Bath Towels

The prices of bath towel sets has increased greatly from the days of the Five and Dime stores, but you can still get a quality set at most Dollar stores. I purchased my set from Dollar General. The set contained two bath towels, two washcloths and two hand towels, and it cost $9.99, not including tax.

Considering I am always searching for practical but fun handmade gift items that are also cost-efficient, I knew I had to make a set…or two. These are perfect for most any gift giving occasion – bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays, Christmas, and any other occasion you can think of.

These directions should have you with a finished set in an afternoon, or if you are a beginner at sewing, at the end of the day.

Just know, your bath towels and mine may be different sizes, so some of the measurements in the directions take this into accommodation. But with a lot of focus and a little adjustment, these directions will still work!

handmade cloth napkins


  • 1 set Bath Towels
  • Cotton Fabric – you will need enough width + 1” to reach from the top to the bottom of the decorative strip on your towel, and a length of 1” longer than the width of the towel. (My towel strip measured 31” x 2”, so I cut my fabric 32” x 3”)
  • Coordinating Trim – you can use lace, cording, or other decorative trim. You will need 2 pieces 1” longer than the width of your towel for each one you make.
  • Sewing Thread
  • Scissors
  • Straight Pins
  • Ruler

Other Optional Supplies:


hand embellished bath towels

Cut your fabric strips 1” wider and 1” longer than the decorative strip on your towel. Cut your decorative trim 1” longer than the width of your towel.

On the wrong side of your fabric, fold the long top edge of your fabric strip over 1/2”. Using a hot iron, press. Repeat on the other side.

hand embellished bath towels

Fold over each end by 1/2″, and press. Check the width and length by laying the fabric over the towel strip to make sure it covers it from top to bottom, and the ends match. If not, make any necessary adjustments. Add a straight pin to each side end.

hand embellished bath towels

Carefully tuck your lace or trim underneath the top edge of the fabric, leaving a 1/2″ tail on the edge. Pin the trim and fabric as you move along.

Repeat the process on the bottom edge of the fabric.

To sew the embellishment into place:

Sew a seam as close to the edge of the fabric as you can, removing pins as you go along. Check as you go that the trim is straight along the edge of the fabric, and isn’t pulling out.  Sew the top and bottom edge in the same manner.

Trim any remaining threads.

Repeat this process for all of the bath towels, washcloths and hand towels in your set.

hand embellished dish towels

Would you like a printed version of these instructions? Just download it HERE!

Hand Embellished Bath Towels as a Gift

Once you are finished, fold the towels so the new trim is evident. You can then box or bag them up, or tie them together with a coordinating piece of ribbon.

These towels are excellent for any age. For the younger crowd, choose a fabric that will appeal to them. Most fabric stores have all the latest cartoon characters and other fabrics appropriate for children. Apply the same principle for men, women and babies, as most anyone would love to have their own towel set.

And don’t forget to make some for you. Not only will you enjoy them, but they are a perfect addition to a guest bathroom. But get ready – your guests will fall in love with them, and ask you to make them a set!

Need Other Ideas for Handmade Gifts?

Over the course of August, I will be sharing more posts for DIY ideas you can use for Christmas gifts, including decorative pillows, a bag of blocks for the kids, and others.

In the meantime, here as some other great ideas that are perfect to help you get your Christmas planning done early!

Get Ready! – How to Plan Ahead for Christmas in August

5 Tips To Make Your Life Easy With Productive Holiday Planning

How to Make Cloth Napkins

Baking Ahead for the Holidays

Make a ‘Statement’ with DIY Place Cards

Psalms 91 Throw

How to Avoid the Christmas Rush – Create it Now!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.