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Giant Towel Doggy Dryer

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Contrary to stories you may have heard, it doesn't really rain all the time in Oregon (especially this year!). We do have a rainy season... it's just a lot longer than other place's rainy seasons. It's about time for those rains to start in earnest, which means soggy doggy paws won't be far behind. As with many folks, our pets are inside/outside critters. If they are going in and out during the aforementioned "rainy season," it's nice to be able to dry them off before they come in. "That's what rags are for!" you say. True, but rags are usually not very absorbant, they tend to be kind of small, and worst of all, they can leave you and your clothes exposed to the dripping doggie. We designed a towel that can protect the dryer while sopping up the dryee. Our Doggie Dryer is a long, double-layer towel with a large pocket at either end. Slip one hand into each pocket for easy drying control; the wide center of the towel stays between you and the wet doggie-dog. Idea credit goes to Bob Johnson, and modeling credit to sweet Doggie Elaine... even though she was a little confused about why we kept pouring water on her head during the photo shoot. 

As you'll see below in the Supplies list, we found a great towel locally. You want a nice, thick towel that is highly absorbant, but not so super, bath-towel-thick that you won't be able to sew through all the layers. A beach towel is a good bet because it is also likely to be wide. You want a towel about 30" x 60". It's also best if the ends of the towel are finished with a band as shown in our sample; it makes finishing the pocket super simple. Check out the clearance bin at your favorite store; now is a good time to find beach towel close-outs. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • 1 large, thick beach towel; we used a 30" x 60" terry jacquard beach towel, purchased locally
    NOTE: It will look best if you can find a towel with nicely finished ends. We show you how to cut the towel so a finished end becomes the bottom edge of each pocket.
  • ½ yard of 1" - 1½" twill tape (or similar) for hanger; you can look for twill tape by-the-yard or Wrights makes a packaged 1" twill tape
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Tape measure
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

NOTE: You'll notice below we are using "right side" and "wrong side" as we would normally do in instructions. Towels are usually the same on both sides, but not always. So, we left in these notes to be sure you could keep track either way.

  1. Download and print the Doggie Dryer Rounded Corner Template
    IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of ONE 8.5" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out the pattern along the solid line. Set aside.
  3. Trim the finished edge off of ONE end of the towel (about 1½")
  4. On the opposite end of the towel, measure in from the finished edge and cut off 10". 
  5. Fold this 10" x 30" piece in half (so it is now 10" x 15"). Cut along the fold to yield TWO 10" x 15"  pieces, each with one finished 15" edge.
  6. Fold the main body piece in half, matching the finished side edges (the selvedges). As you did above with the 10" pocket piece, cut along the fold to yield TWO 48½" x 15" pieces.
  7. Cut the twill tape into one 10" length. Set aside.
  8. Lay the pattern piece onto the right side of one of the 10" x 15" pocket pieces. The curved side should be facing raw edge of towel, the long straight edge should be at the exact center of the towel panel. There are two handy "pointing fingers" on the pattern. Use these to help you align the piece on the center raw edge and in the upper corner.
  9. Pin the pattern in place. Trim the towel to match the pattern. 
  10. Flip over the pattern (so it is now facing wrong side up), and repeat these steps to cut the other half of the pocket.
  11. Now, repeat the whole shootin' match to make the second pocket with the pattern and the remaining 10" x 15" piece. 
  12. Lay ONE 48½" x 15" main body piece right side up and flat on your work surface.
  13. Lay one pocket piece right side up on one end of towel body. If you have a strong motif, like we did with our stripes, carefully match the pocket to the main body.  The curved edge should be aligned with the end of the towel and the straight finished edge should be laying across the main body of the towel. Pin in place.
  14. Trim towel body to match curve of pocket.
  15. Repeat to place and trim the other pocket on the opposite end. 
  16. Along the inside, finished edge of each pocket, measure 4" in from BOTH raw edges and mark these two points with pins.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. If possible, attach a Walking or Even Feed foot to your machine.
  2. Starting at one 4" pin mark, edgestitch out towards the raw edge along the finished edge of the pocket. 
  3. Pivot at this edge and continue stitching, using a ¼" seam allowance.
  4. Stitch around the entire curve, stopping to pivot at the opposite edge of the finished pocket edge. Edgestitch in to the second 4" pin mark and lock your stitch.
    NOTE: The two short seams along the top of the pocket secure the pocket to the main body of the towel and create a smaller center opening in the pocket where you will slip your hand. If you left the entire end of the pocket open, your hand would slide around too much. Depending on the final width of your towel, you could choose to reduce or increase the opening. In other words, make your marks at just 2" in from the edges for a wider opening; make them at 6" in for a smaller opening. 
  5. Repeat these steps to attach the other pocket to the opposite end.
  6. Place the remaining main body piece right side up and flat on your work surface.
  7. Place the pocket panel right side down on top of this piece, aligning the sides and the ends. The pockets themselves are now sandwiched between the layers.
  8. Pin in place and cut away the bottom piece to match the curved ends of the top piece.
  9. Find the 10" length of twill tape.
  10. Fold it in half and slip the loop between the layers at one curved end. The raw edges of the tape loop should be flush with the raw edges of the towel and the loop should sit on top of the pocket and underneath the back body piece - in other words, between the layers. 
  11. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around the entire piece, leaving a 4" - 5" opening along the middle of one long side. Again, if you have a Walking or Even Feed foot, now is a great time to use it. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 4" - 5" opening.

    NOTE: We chose to leave this opening along the side with the nice selvedge so there would be less raveling to contend with in the final finishing. 
  12. Turn the piece right side out through the opening.
  13. Pull the loop out and smooth the curves of the pockets. Press lightly.
  14. Pin the layers together around the entire towel.  
  15. Topstitch around the entire towel. This secures the layers to one another and closes the opening left for turning.

    NOTE: As you topstitch across the outside edges of the pockets, you will have quite a few thick layers - especially if you chose a towel with a nice finished edge as we did. If you can use a Walking or Even Feed foot, this should allow you to stitch up and over these layers. If you have trouble, stop with your needle in the down position and hand crank (manually turn the handwheel of the machine) the needle across this thick point. 


Project Inspiration: Bob Johnson
Project Design: Alicia Thommas 
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild


Comments (11)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Jane - Wow -- four!! But they are quick and easy, right! I'm sure they'll be a favorite gift.

Momo said:
Momo's picture

I lived in Hillsboro, Oregon for a few years then retired to Florida, where the temperature of the rain differs dramatically, but it is no less wet, but in our summer as opposed to your winter.  I don't have a dog, but I think this towel is also perfect for wiping down super slippery infants, and squirmy older grandchildren covered in powder-fine beach sand!  I may have to put a flamingo or shell applique on it, but you could use a duck, Liz!  I think a narrow towel with those big pockets would also be great to use as a beach-wear shawl to wear over the shoulders to keep sunburns at bay for we grandparents while we watch the kids!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Momo - love your ideas for using it in a beach situation - perfect!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Sally - Great - as we mentioned, now is a great time to score good deals on beach towels.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Cori - So glad you are giving it a try - you'll make a doggy very happy this holiday.

Kat L said:
Kat L's picture

I am so going to make this for Christmas . . . my sister has two yellow Labs who are her babies!  They go to Martha's Vineyard every summer - I know she'll love this!  Thanks for posting.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Kat - perfect for Christmas gifts. They can have matching towels