Holiday Plush Towel Toppers
As promised, I’m writing today to tell you how I make my towel toppers.

First things first. I don’t want to offend anyone, but DO NOT go to the Dollar Store or similar place to buy their chintzy hand towels. Go to a store that sells nicer towels and buy what’s on sale to fit your budget. Look for those sales all year long if needed.
Next, DO NOT cut those towels in half like all the patterns tell you to. To me, the ‘half towel’ looks and feels cheap. Use a hand towel, dish towel, or even a finger tip towel (perfect for the guest bathroom) – but use the whole thing. Isn’t the recipient worth a single towel? If not, don’t bother to make them one.

Open the towel on the table with the side you designate as ‘front’ facing the table. Then fold the towel into half, pulling both long edges to the center so you have what resembles a cylinder with the selvedges facing you.

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Now, fold this in half and pin down all the folds with straight pins or larger safety pins. You’ll only need 3-4 pins per towel. Pin the folds firmly about 1 inch down from the top of the fold.

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Keep those pins in til you’ve finished the next step.

Measure your yarn to approximately 3 times the width of your fold and cut a length of yarn. Be generous. Using a larger eyed (but not tapestry needle as it’s too blunt), thread the needle. No need for a knot. Pierce from below near one inside edge of the fold. Pull the yarn upward, leaving a 4 inch tail. Move your needle around the outer edge of that fold and pierce the same hole. Pull the yarn thru.

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Continue across the fold with a blanket stitch evenly spaced across the fold. At the far end of the fold, repeat the over and thru with your yarn and needle again to secure the back end. Leave a 4 inch tail and cut off.

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You’re now ready to crochet your towel topper. I use a G hook with worsted weight acrylic yarn. Working across the top of your towel, single crochet across the top. I usually put one sc into the tiny beginning loop of the blanket stitch and two sc’s in the remaining loops, with a single sc in the last tiny loop. Then, I chain 2 and work a row of half double crochets (hdc) across the row of sc. I favor hdc’s because, for me, they go quickly and create a nice firm edge of decreases.

Most of my towel toppers are designed like this. A number of rows of hdc’s across the top – maybe 6 to 8 rows – then begin decreasing to the width I want the button loop to be – from 1-2 inches across. I continue to work hdc decreases like this:

At the beginning of each row:

ch 2, yarn over, insert hook into second st from ch, pull yarn thru and insert hook into the next stitch, yarn over, work off two loops, yarn over, work thru three loops on hook.

At the end of each row:

hdc across to within 3 stitches of the end. repeat the decrease described above with the last stitch being the loops of the decrease from the previous row (or the top of the turning chain – either works fine so long as you’re consistent).

With this decrease method, I find I do not need to crochet a row of sc or crab stitch around the edge of the towel topper for stability. This decrease method with hdc’s is very sturdy.

I then either make a button hole or, more typically, just work a row of dc’s where I want the button to fit thru. The height of a double crochet is perfect for a variety of button sizes and works well for this application. If you use this method, be sure you have an EVEN number of stitches so your button will be centered in the finished project.

This one is not in the Victorian colors, but shows the use of buttons to their best advantage, I believe:

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Do it once or twice. It’s easy. I am a slow crocheter and I can make one of these towel toppers in about an hour. Finish off by tying on the perfect button (see my last blog) and weaving in all the ends. A tiny dab of super glue works nicely to secure the knot from tying on a button, applied either before or after the ends have been woven in.

By jd wolfe




Comments

21 Comments so far

  1. Susan on December 17, 2007 12:05 pm

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I was just getting ready to start on a couple toppers for Christmas gifts.

  2. jd wolfe on December 17, 2007 5:53 pm

    hi susan,
    glad to be of help!
    jd

  3. Thata on December 18, 2007 8:05 am

    Great tutorial and great work too. Love your design and your colour too. Thanks Jd

    hugs,
    thata

  4. Thata on December 18, 2007 8:05 am

    Great tutorial and great work too. Love your design and your colour too.

    hugs,
    thata

  5. jd wolfe on December 21, 2007 5:50 pm

    thata,
    thanks for your kind words!
    merry christmas.
    jd

  6. Karen Curtis on May 26, 2008 3:19 pm

    THANK YOU! Thank you…. I have looked at all of the crochet sites for a pattern. Today I decided to take one last look, and clicked on your instructions. They are exactly what I have been looking for! Very clear and concise. I appreciate your efforts so much. Karen

  7. Nan Hultberg on August 15, 2008 1:14 pm

    Thank you, I can ditto Karen Curtis’ comment because I took one last look today, and found your instructions!!

    Thank you very much

  8. Christine on October 6, 2009 7:14 pm

    I would like the pattern for the second towel topper – the holiday towel topper – I cannot find it on the site if it is there. Any help would be appreciated. thank you Christine Australia

  9. jd wolfe on October 7, 2009 7:29 am

    Christine,
    The pattern is right there in the post on the Plush Towel Toppers. Other free patterns are available online. Try http://www.crochetpatterncentral.com.

  10. jd wolfe on October 15, 2009 6:01 pm

    christine,
    not sure which towel topper is the ‘second’ one. would like to help you if i can. i created these from my own head, but i may be able to help. give me a better description and i’ll try to help.
    jd

  11. Christine on October 19, 2009 3:49 pm

    Thank you. The towel topper is the one on the right with what looks like ‘shells’ in the pattern. The one on the right looks like it is just dc (tr in Australia). I have not tried your pattern as yet but will do so soon as I am doing towel toppers at the moment. I have downloaded lots of patterns but would like some more easy (no cross stitch)patterns to do. I also like to use a full towel but I blanket stitch across (about 50 depending on towel size)then sc. in each across then start the patterns.
    thank you again Christine.

  12. GrandmaChristine on November 17, 2010 4:57 pm

    I would like to know if you have put the pattern for the Green Towel Topper on your site as I cannot find it. It is different to the red one on the left of the page. Thank you. Christine

  13. jd wolfe on November 19, 2010 4:20 pm

    Christine,
    I don’t really have a pattern for the green towel topper, but you can play around a bit like I did to achieve the look. To create the ‘arches’ just divide the number of stitches you have in the previous row, dc in the first two dc’s, chain x number of stitches, skip that # of stitches, dc in each of the next 2 dc’s across ending with dc’s in each of the last two dc’s. so, if you had 40 stitches across, you’d calculate based on 36 stitches because the first and last 2 dc’s are spoken for. So, chain 4 and sk 4 stitches to create one arch, dc in each of the next 2 dc’s so that’s 6 stitches (and your repeat is created). I think my math is correct. I know I can figure this out when I have the project in front of me. I don’t use a pattern to make these, so you can make your arches any size you want. If you know how to make a buttonhole in crochet, this will be even easier as the arches are very similar.

    jd

  14. NEED AN ‘EMERGENCY’ GIFT?? · Crochet | CraftGossip.com on January 25, 2011 5:35 am

    [...] fabric (many brand names) and stitch your own binding to crochet into.  To accomplish this, check here for instructions.  It’s pretty easy to do, but best if done with yarn similar to that [...]

  15. Lynne on February 9, 2012 4:46 pm

    I agree, cutting the towels in half looks cheap.
    Just glancing at the two towel toppers that I’ve just made, I regret not using the entire towels. I have a luxurious organic cotton kitchen towel that I purchased at an outlet for the same price that I would have paid at a dollar store. I’ve tentatively folded it as you suggested but it looks wider than I would like. If I fold the towel in equal thirds, I like the way it looks but I think the layers are too thick. I wonder if a walking foot would sew through all the layers?

  16. jd wolfe on February 9, 2012 7:12 pm

    Lynne,
    If the towel is luxurious, it may well be just the one that you should cut in half to make two towels. The towels I used in the photos were very nice but not so thick that when doubled they were too thick. I’ve seen such towels, and those I would cut in half. I have also folded some in thirds. That solves a lot of the bulkiness issues. A walking foot ‘should’ sew through those layers. Would be nice to fix them in place before adding edging. But, I just used long tailoring pins (the old Stetch n Sew brand).
    jd

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  18. Joanne on March 12, 2013 8:36 am

    I have been making Towel Toppers for 50 years. It was taught to me by my Grandmother. I buy heavy weight towels and I do cut them in half, zig zag stitch the rough edges on my machine and color coordinate my crocheted tops to the colors in the towels. I have made more then 10,000 and sell them in local stores, coffee shops, Christmas stores, specialty shops, craft shows, etc. I buy designer buttons from a bulk supplier and use Red Heart yarn. I have a steady group of customers who but them as gifts for friends and I package them in fancy containers and shrink wrap them. I eben add lace trims to the bottom of some for the Victorian touch.

  19. Anne Marie on June 30, 2013 12:29 pm

    I’m sorry if I appear ignorant or dimwitted, but what is a towel topper please? I am from the UK so that might be the reason I don’t know. I have just never heard of them.

  20. jd wolfe on June 30, 2013 5:52 pm

    AnneMarie,
    You’re probably not dimwitted! In the US, we call it a towel topper when we fold (or more typically cut) a kitchen or hand towel in half, crochet an edging to the cut edge then extend that up, often to create a decorative hanger. Patterns abound on the internet.
    jd

  21. Anne Marie on July 5, 2013 2:30 pm

    Is it so they hang up rather than draping them, like we do? I’ll take a look. It is so strange how different cultures do different thing.

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