How To Make A Swimsuit Coverup Out Of Vintage Towels

Sew Much 2 Wear
by Sew Much 2 Wear
4 Materials
$10
2 Hours
Medium

When you step out of the water, whether it's at the beach or pool -- you grab a towel.


This project is going to give you a new way to dry off after hot summer day. It's a hands-free towel coverup dress!


This is the perfect upcycle for those vintage towels that have been at the back of the closet for the last few years. Their unique design and prints can make this coverup a real statement piece!

This is what I started with. Two matching vintage bath towels that originally belonged to my grandmother.

My towels were quite long so I opted to cut one fringe end of each towel to eventually create sleeves. Luckily, there was a straight line in the print of the pattern right where I wanted to cut so I was able to just follow that to ensure each piece was the same size.

My plan was to sew both towels together at the top, leaving the middle open to slip over my head. To make sure I made the opening wide enough to slip over my head I first pinned the towels together, than did a quick test.



Once I knew I would fit in, I sewed the top corners together with a straight stitch until I reached the middle open section I had previously marked.

Once the two towels were attached I folded one of the towels in half horizontally, and used a ruler to mark a V-neck line that would be even on both sides.



Using scissors, I cut along that line I created.

I then just turned that v-shape in on it's self, pinned and sewed it into place with a straight stitch to finish the raw edge.

On the backside of the swimsuit cover up, I simply turned over the top edge to finish that edge as well.

Once I had my neckline finished, I opened up the two towels and spread them out. I lined up the two pieces of extra fringe I cut earlier and sewed them to two big pieces.

Once the sleeves were attached I sewed a straight stitch along the bottom edge of the sleeves to finish them and also sewed up the sides of the dress.

To create a drawstring waistline I used a piece of old bias tape and sewed it to the inside of the cover up dress where the waistline would be to create a tunnel to thread a cord through.


Once I had the tunnel created I simply cut two small holes into the exterior of the towel dress to to thread the cord through so I could tie both sides together and create a cinched waistline for shape.

Unfortunately I don't have better pictures of the end result because I made a major mistake after I had completed the sewing portion of this project.


I attempted to dye the entire coverup with blue RIT dye because the white and pink was a little too light for my skin color. (I would not recommend dying your towel coverup. Mine came out terribly. So terribly I couldn't save it.)


Please let me know what you think of this project idea and if you might give it a try in the future.


I can't wait to find more vintage towels and try again. This time I'll stay far away from the dye.


For more upcycling projects, visit my youtube channel.

Suggested materials:
  • Towels
  • Sewing machine
  • Cord
See all materials

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Sew Much 2 Wear
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  • Connie Connie on May 03, 2022

    Hi Margie

    I first have to correct my 1st post. I used 3 towels to make it come to the ankles...1 for front 1 for back and one across the top for sleeves. I used a garment with a boatneck that I could pull over my head as a pattern so I didn't need a zipper. It's been so many years ago but I'm pretty sure I just gathered the top of the two towels a little bit before adding the horizontal towel for sleeves. I think I just saw a picture and decided to make some. Im sorry my memory isn't better but it was about 50 yrs ago! lol. Good luck!


  • Leslie Leslie on May 05, 2022

    My Mother used to make these for us when we were kids. I loved them. no drawstring because we were constantly pulling them off to jump in the ocean. Thank you for the memories and your version is lovely and thanks for sharing. :)

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