My mom surprised with me one she made about three to four years ago for Christmas. We call it a towel twists or towel turbans, or whatever name you want to give it. You can buy an already made one in the stores for around $5-6, but they look cheaply made and very thin. The one my mom made is still in regular use and well made. I made a total of five towel turban twists as Christmas presents, but I did keep one for myself. The first towel I used was a leopard print towel.
This project is for the novice as well as the advanced sewer. I cut out all the towels which saved us time, and my mom did all the sewing. I think doing two from the same towel does save time by using the same colored thread and bias tape. She estimates one twist takes about 15-20 minutes sewing time. If she doesn't have to sew on the bias tape, then it takes her less than 10 minutes to sew and serge a twist. The tape is the longest part of the process other than the cutting. We estimated we spent around 2 hours total for cutting and sewing. I think that is pretty good considering we made 5 towel twists. I did spend a little under $20 so about $4 for each one. It might not save a lot of money over buying a store bought one, but it is a unique and creative present. I have yet to see a leopard print or any fun decorative twists yet. You could save more money by buying the towels on sale.
You buy an ordinary bath towel which you cut out the shape using a pattern template you make yourself. My mom used wax paper to make the pattern template. You will measure 22" straight across the bottom. Then make a right angle straight up 7" and then curve the top to another 3" which is about 10" up at the highest point. Then you will just angle the line to meet at the corner. It should be shaped similar to a head in the back. The points are angled to make the twist and pull into the elastic loop. Now you will cut out your template.
I folded the towel lengthwise so I could cut a total of two twists. You might have to play around a little with the template to make sure you can get two. On your template you need to mark on the straight edge about 5" up for your elastic loop. I used a bright colored pin for this part. I then pinned my pattern and cut it out. You can save yourself a step by folding the towel inside out which eliminates the step of pinning right sides together. You will only sew the sides and curved top of the towel. You topstitch the pieces using at least 1/2" seam allowance.
Now you want to use about 4-6" of elastic and fold in half for the loop. Insert the loop leaving the two pieces where your pin is marked. You will go over that spot at least twice to ensure it is properly secured. She then used a serger to finish the raw edges leaving a nice finished edge. She did tell me if you do not own a serger, then you just have to use bias tape to finish that edge. It will last last longer, and the towel won't leave fuzz in your hair. It opens up flat when you use it in your hair.
I want to make a note here. If your towel has a decorative or colorful binding, then by all means use it in your finished towel twist. The white colorful towel had a lime green binding so we cut it out to use it in one of the twists. It saved me time and money. For other my two twists, I had to use bias tape. I bought it on sale for 99 cents each, and you only use half of the package for one twist. If you do not own a serger, then you have to use one whole package for each one you make. My mom had hot pink so we used it for one of the twists. I used plain white for the one I kept for myself. You will use extra wide double fold bias tape. The bias is what you use around the bottom edge of the twist.
You start the tape at one end and the fold will go around the edge of the towel. You just slowly work your around to the other side using a topstitch. As you near the other end, you have to leave one inch past where you started. Then you will turn it back 1/2" on the cut edge, and finishing sewing that section. This gives it a nice finish. You finally finished and turn it right side out. You might want to shake it out well to get all the towel fuzzies off you and the twist. I am giving mine along with spa goodies so it's a nice addition any girl would love.