Towel skirts

A few weeks ago I saw an adorable idea over at Grace Violet– a way to make a little girl’s skirt from a kitchen towel. I found some adorable spring-colored towels at WalMart ($2 each) and on Monday, when I was in extreme need of a doldrum-lifting activity, I finally got around to making the skirts. The towels that Grace Violet used were actually dollar-store tea towels. Mine are terrycloth, which will make them excellent little swimsuit cover-ups this summer. My girls wear size 8 and size 5, and the two skirts took 3 towels.

I liked the way the towels coordinate with each other.  For my older daughter, I used one whole floral towel and half of a striped one. The floral towel had a ribbon edge, which I left on as an accent. The width of the towel was a good length for my 6 year old daughter as is, so I decided that instead of encasing the elastic (which would make the skirt shorter), I would just sew elastic to the inside of the waist of the skirt with a couple rows of stitching. I happened to already have some nice soft 1.5 inch wide elastic, and doing it this way gave me a cute ruffly top edge. Finished, the skirt shows a section of striped fabric at one hip, and is half floral and half striped in the back.

I made my 4 years old’s skirt a wrap style.  One full towel wraps around the back and sides.  Then the half towel left over from the other skirt goes in the center front of the skirt as an underneath layer. The elastic only goes 3/4 of the way around the skirt, leaving the front center bit smooth. I decorated the front edge with a bit of wide ribbon. (I salvaged the ribbon from a headband that a child-who-shall-remain-nameless cut in half with a scissors awhile back.)

I cased the waistband elastic by folding over the top edge of the fabric as shown on the above Grace Violet tutorial. Since I was using terrycloth, that ended up to be a bit bulky, but it is still cute. As you can see, I turned the center inset so that the stripes were going the other direction, which adds more interest to the skirt.

The second skirt took more time, since I had to figure out how to make the ‘wrap’ and that ended up being a more complicated process. But still, the whole project took me about 2 hours, and the girls love the skirts. The skirts look cute with leggings, and the girls have worn them two days this week already!

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  1. A similar project I used for my daughter (who is now 25) …. is a t-shirt dress. Buy a plain colored t-shirt (usually from the boys section) and gather a strip of coordinating printed cotton material (often from the “bargain bin” of scraps at WalMart) and sew to the bottom for a skirt. No elastic required. It makes a dropwaist dress that is really cute. I did this up until she was about 12 or so. I have a six-month old niece who will get to wear lots of these over the next few years!

  2. sooo adorable.

  3. OK. Those are just completely adorable. Good job.

  4. So cute Mary!! I’m inspired! Perhaps my girls need one of these! 🙂

  5. They’re adorable.
    I really miss sewing and wonder if I would do it more if I had girls to sew for. As it is, I leave the sewing machine down so that it doesn’t get climbed on or dissasembled by the boys.

  6. adorable!

  7. once again, i just don’t know how you do it all. how can two lives (yours and mine) be so vastly different?! i’m suffused with both awe and guilt when i read your blog and think i should rename mine to something along the lines of Her Slacker Mother….

  8. So cute and what a great idea! I wish I could find something like that for boys. =)

  9. These are just darling!

  10. I wanted to let you know that this post says 8 comments but when I click to read them, it says there aren’t any:-) And although I can’t read those comments, I bet they all say pretty much the same thing – that those skirts are so cute. I love the bright colors.

  11. Hello,
    You do not need to post this but I did not know how else to let you know about what my family is doing in Ethiopia. I am a friend of journeymama and have read you regularly for years. My family is moving to Ethiopia in about a month to run a brand new orphanage and I thought you might be interested in it. The web site is We are just trying to get the word out there so I thought I would tell you since I know you have a heart for Ethiopia
    Thank you

  12. too cute!….love your blog…love your approach on life