Skip to content

DIY Beach Towel Cover Up without a Pattern

When we’ve gone to the beach we have probably all done the wrap-the-towel-around-the-waist look, then rolled the top down so it shows off the hips, or if we want a more covered up look then we tuck it around us, boob tube style. The trouble is with these types of cover ups you can’t really move, otherwise the towel comes loose and there you are – uncovered! Not any more with the clever beach towel cover up that takes around 15 minutes to make from start to finish. The nifty little DIY cover up will absorb any moisture from your swimwear after emerging from a dip and keep you looking svelte après-swim.

how to sew a beach towel cover up

What if I could show you how to create a stylish beach towel cover up dress that will look good enough to wear at the beach bar? One that won’t slip off while you’re holding a toddler by the hand and carrying a beach bag, and an array of toys the toddler insisted on bringing? Yes – I feel you nodding. Well here goes, the easy-peasy beach towel cover up that stays in place and will take less than 15 minutes to make. Just follow our easy visual and instructions to make the DIY cover up dress from a beach towel.

how to make a beach towel cover up

A plain color is ok but one with a print could be so much more fun – just make sure that if you choose a print it is better to choose one that is not directional.

Below you will find my step by step written tutorial with VIDEO instructions for all the visual learners.

We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Some of the links may be affiliate meaning we earn a small commission if an item is purchased.

How to make a Beach Towel Cover Up

Supplies and tools

supplies to sew the beach towel cover up

Follow us for free patterns & tutorials! [easy-profiles]

How to Sew a Beach Towel Cover Up

Watch the diy beach towel cover-up video first and then follow the written step by step instructions below.
Please enjoy and don’t forget to Like and SUBSCRIBE over on YouTube to be kept up to date with new videos as they come out.

Easy Beach Towel Cover Up VIDEO TUTORIAL


Beach towel size:

  • For a petite size you’ll need a 60 inch length (152 cm) beach towel
  • Medium size a 64 inch (162 cm)
  • Large size needs a 70 inch (178 cm) beach towel.

beach towel size to make a cover up

Alternatively you could use a length of terry towelling if you don’t want to use a beach towel.


Take your beach towel or length of terry towelling and lay it out flat on your worktop, then take the end and fold it over along the length so you end up with a shape close to a square.

Pin the loose edges together on the right hand corner (opposite to the end with the fold).

Step 2:

measuring size of armholes for beach towel cover up

Use a tape measure to measure from the corner to a point 4 ½ inches (11.4 cm) down the side towards the fold and mark the spot with an erasable fabric marker.

Now measure 4 ½ inches (11.4 cm) from the same corner along the top of the towel and mark the spot.

Step 3:

marking armhole cutout for the diy beach towel cover up

Take a side plate or smallish mixing bowl and line up the two marks on the outer curve of the bowl or plate, so you will be cutting out about one quarter of a circle. Mark the curve with an erasable fabric pen.


Step 4:

cutting out the armholes of the beach towel cover up

Cut out the quarter circle shape to create the armhole, then unfold the towel so on each end you have a cut out shape.

Readjust your pins if necessary so that they are not in the cutting line and are towards the inside of towel to keep the two pieces of fabric together while you cut out the quarter circle shape.

Step 5:

finishing the raw edges of the beach towel cover up

If you have a sewing machine then turn over the edge of the one armhole to the wrong side ¼ inch (0.5 cm) , then ½ inch (1 cm) and stitch along the edge either with a straight stitch or set it to a slight zig zag. Back tack at start and finish.

Alternatively you can just zig zag the raw edge and then turn over just once and then stitch.

If you have no sewing machine you can hand stitch the seam using a slip stitch.

handstitching vs machine stitching armholes of the diy beach towel cover up

Step 6:

how long to cut ribbon or lace for the diy beach towel cover up

To attach the cotton lace or cotton ribbon, place one end on the wrong side of the armhole 1 inch (2.5cm) in from the straight edge of the towel, and pin at the edge of the towel.

handsewing the straps of the beach towel cover up

Now tuck under  1/4 inch (5mm) so that is does not fray out with wear, and pin that fold in place.


Repeat on the other armhole.

Step 7:

diy beach towel cover up -sewing the armholes

Use your machine to stitch either 2 straight lines or a rectangle along the base, up the side, long the top and down again to attach the strap securely. Finish by making a cross from corner to corner on the lace. Back tack at start and finish.

Repeat steps on the other armhole. Only one side will be stitched.

Step 8:

Pin the other end of the cotton lace or cotton ribbon in place on both armholes,  as you did in the previous step but do not stitch the ends until you have slipped on the towel cover up and adjusted the length if necessary.

stitching straps to the towel

Approximate length of  ribbon you will need:

  • Small size – 2 x 16″ (40cm)
  • Medium size – 2 x 19″ (48cm)
  • Large size – 2 x 22″ (56cm)

Step 9:

To wear the cover up open the towel up and have the towel in front of your body, then slip the left strap over you left shoulder, bring the towel across the front of your body towards the right, then wrap it around your back and bring the rest forward across your body to slip the right hand strap over your right shoulder. Give a little wriggle to make sure its wrapping you up perfectly and you are ready to do a little adjusting to the straps if necessary – either shortening or lengthening slightly.

diy beach towel cover up showing the straps

Step 10:

Once adjusted all that remains to be done is to sew the ends of the straps you adjusted into place as you did before.

homemade beach towel cover up

Now you are all ready to step out in style with your beach cover up.

Beach Towel Cover-Up FAQs and tips:

Q: What if I don’t have a machine to attach the straps?

A: You can follow step 10 by hand stitching the rectangle with the cross inside it in a matching color thread. Double your thread up for strength.

If you don’t want to make the stitching obvious then using a slip stitch, hand stitch the end of the cotton lace/ribbon you folded under, and slip stitch the sides before stitching the top with a slip stitch, all on the wrong side of the fabric.

Q: Can I attach fringing to the base of the towel?

A: Because this is a beach cover up and will probably be subjected to quite a lot of wash and wear it is wise to choose a strong cotton fringing or braid to attach to what will be the hem of the cover up. The hem will be the length of the towel opposite to where the armholes are. All you need to do is start at one end of the length of the towel folding the fringing under so it doesn’t fray, back stitching and then stitch along the length and at the end fold the fringing or braid under and then finish with a back stitch.

Q: What if I have a directional print for the towel?

A: Just make sure that the top of the print is where you will be cutting the armholes, then it will naturally be in the correct position if it printed horizontally along the towel.

If the print is from the top to bottom vertically on the towel then it is best not to use it for a cover up. If it involves palm trees or parrots or any other fauna or flora they will be sideways on the cover up which could look a bit odd.

The beach towel cover up dress is just so easy to make using our step-by-step instructions. Make one for the summer holidays, or two or three. They are great for a coordinated look for your guests if you are throwing a pool party. If you loved this cute little summer project then subscribe to have our latest projects delivered straight to your inbox. You’ll never miss out on a sewing project again.


Do you like this? Pin for later:

DIY beach towel cover up - sewing tutorial

Wanna be friends? Click HERE and follow me on Pinterest


Quick to sew Summer dresses

More beach cover ups HERE

15+ Swimsuit Sewing Patterns for Everyone in the Family

SEW bandana headband with elastic – perfect for summer days when riding a bike or taking a walk

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments
chickenruby - September 24, 2022

I could do with this when I go swimming. Thanks for sharing with #pocolo


Leave a Reply: