DIY Toddler Hooded Swim Cover with Beach Towel

Summer and all its wonder has finally arrived. Between joining the neighborhood pool, a family beach trip and signing our toddler up for swimming lessons at a nearby gym, we have become quite the water-frequenting family. Out of boredom and curiosity, I searched Pinterest for some water-related sewing crafts and I stumbled on some absolutely adorable swim cover-ups made out of beach towels. Instantly, I knew I had to make at least one. Unfortunately, every tutorial I found either wasn’t exactly what I wanted or seemed to require me to purchase something. I didn’t want to put any money into the cover-up other than the fabric and zipper, so I ended up combining several aspects of different tutorials to arrive at my completed project. It’s by no means perfect and I can point out about 100 flaws, but for anyone else interested in a hooded swim cover made out of a beach towel, here’s my tutorial:


DIY Swim Cover

  1. Create your pattern.
  1. Once you have created your pattern, it’s time to cut out the required pieces. You’ll need to cut one front piece and one back piece. To do this, fold your towel in half hot-dog style and line up the pieces of your pattern marked fold on the fold. Cut out each piece. Then, cut your front piece in half, right down the middle (this is where the zipper will go). You’ll also need a piece of fabric for the hood. You’ll want this to measure somewhere in the 22” x 12” range. It doesn’t have to be exact. Use whatever you have left at the end of your towel.
  1. Now that we have all of our pattern pieces cut out, we can begin putting together the swim cover. Select one of your front pieces and the back panel. Line up the shoulders right sides together, clip and sew in place. Repeat this process for both shoulders. To prevent fraying, finish the raw edge with a zig zag stitch.
  1. With right sides still together, clip and sew the sides of the garment starting at the sleeve and working your way down to the bottom of the cover-up. Finish the raw edge with a zig zag stitch to prevent fraying.
  1. Attach bias tape to the raw bottom edge of the cover-up and the sleeves. On the bottom of the cover-up, you don’t need to worry about nicely finishing the edges of the bias tape or wrapping it around the raw edge. The zipper will take care of that in the next step.
  1. Next, we attach the zipper. To do this, separate your zipper and place each piece face down (right sides together) on its respective side of the garment. The teeth of the zipper should be facing away from the front opening. Clip or pin in place.
  1. Using a ¼” seam allowance, attach the zipper to the front of the cover-up. I was able to get away with attaching the zipper using my walking foot, but it may be a good idea to switch to a zipper foot for this part. Then, fold the zipper over and top-stitch using a 1/8” seam allowance.
  1. (Optional): Add bias tape to edge of hood. I thought this cover-up might look weird if I didn’t add the white trim to the edge of the hood. I had enough bias tape left over, so I went ahead and covered the (already) finished edge of my hood with bias tape.
  1. The assembly of the hood is a little complicated so bear with me. First, we need to measure the neck of our cover-up. Measure from one side of the zipper, around the back to the other end of the zipper. Mine came to 14 inches.
  2. Fold your rectangular hood material in half right-sides together so the finished edge (or bias taped edge) lines up with itself. Using a fabric pen or chalk, mark along the bottom edge half of your neckline measurement plus ¼” for seam allowance. (I marked my hood at 7 ¼”)
  1. The next part requires a little ingenuity. We need to draw the outline of our hood. We need to add a slight curve. To do this, I use the rounded corner of a laundry basket. I like the hood to curve wider before reaching the top and I find that a laundry basket gives a gentle curve. You could also use something like a CD to get a curve.
  1. Once you’ve drawn your curve on the hood piece, cut along your marked line. Pin or clip the raw edges and sew using ¼” seam line. Finish the raw edges with a zig zag stitch to prevent fraying.
  1. With that, our hood has officially been assembled. Now, we just need to attach it to the rest of the cover up. Lay the cover up down and line up the raw edge of your hood with the raw edge of the cover-up, right sides together. If your measuring was slightly off and your hood is a little bit wider than the cover-up, you can add pleats (as you can see I did) to the hood so that it fits properly. Then, sew along the raw edge and finish with a zig zag stitch.

Once your hood is attached, your swim cover-up is ready for use!

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