This project came about in thinking about hiking gear. I want to take a towel on extended hiking trips in case I find a place to go swimming but I also want the towel to function in other ways. Multi-purpose items are important when designing a light weight pack. If I can use the towel as a piece of clothing it may enable me to eliminate one item of clothing.
Unlike a regular Mexican poncho, the hole for your head has loops so it may be closed. I did this so the item can still be used like a regular towel.
Another difference from a regular Mexican poncho is I do not have tassels hanging from the bottom. I think the tassels are there to wick water off the bottom of the poncho. They make no sense on a poncho towel. This type of poncho would not be effective for rain since a towel is designed to absorb water.
With the material eyelets I added to the outside of the towel I will be able to attach the towel to my sleeping setup (future Instructable hopefully) and use it as a blanket. The eyelets also enable me to hang the towel on a ridge line or attach it to the back of my pack to dry without using cloths pins. Having the eyelets on the towel enable the sides of the poncho to be closed, effectively making the towel into a short sleeve shirt. This could be worn under a sweatshirt to create an extra layer of warmth. If it's a towel that looks like mine you could wear it outside and run around the woods looking like Robin Hood!
This project references two previous Instructables.
1: Reinforced fabric hole - https://www.instructables.com/id/Reinforced-fabric-hole-Old-style-button-hole-or-ey/
2: Quick loop from twill tape - https://www.instructables.com/id/Quick-loop-from-twill-tape/
Step 1: Tools and Materials
-Sewing machine and thread
- yard stick or measuring tape (optional)
- hand towel
- reinforcement material (artificial leather or something along those lines)
Step 2: Getting Started
The towel I used has a dimension of 30 x 59 inches.(76 x 150 mm). I am 5ft8, 140 lbs (That's 10 stone for you Brits out there). This size towel easily closes around my sides with material to spare. You may consider choosing a towel with different dimensions depending upon your size. Placing a towel over one shoulder, you should be able to safety pin the bottom together around your waist. The length of this towel is pretty good for me as well. There is enough material that I can create pockets using different attachment points.
Step 3: Create the Eyelets.
- one was put in each corner. (4 eyelets)
- one was placed half way between the corners.(4 eyelets)
- On the short sides an eyelet was placed between the center and the corner. (4 eyelets)
- On the long sides, Three eyelets were placed between the center and corner. Their positions were determined by folding that space in half, and then in half again. (total of 12 eyelets)
Just adding eyelets will make your towel more functional . Depending on how you wish to use the towel you may want to put eyelets in different locations. Maybe you are a weightlifter with big arms or want to put a lot of clothing under this poncho. It could be possible the eyelets that form the arm hole need to be moved then. You will really need to test out what works best for you. This setup works for me. You always can add more eyelets.
For instructions on creating a material eyelet follow this Instructable. https://www.instructables.com/id/Reinforced-fabric-hole-Old-style-button-hole-or-ey/
Step 4: Cut the Neck Slit.
Step 5: Cut the Collar Material
You need two rectangles of collar material. Cut the material the same length as your neck slit and twice the width you want your collar to be. The collar material will eventually be folded around an edge of the neck slit.
The image shows a partially cut hand towel on the left and a cut portion of a hand towel put in place and folded under the neck slit.
Step 6: Attach the Front of the Collar Material.
Using pins attach your collar material to the towel.
Sew the collar material fast to the towel.
Do this for both sides of the collar.
The first image shows the first side of the collar pinned fast.
The second image shows what the back side of the towel should look like when only the front of the collar material is attached.
Step 7: Add Loops to the Collar.
Five loops on each side of the collar should be sufficient.
The following instructable explains how to create and attach a loop. https://www.instructables.com/id/Quick-loop-from-twill-tape/
I held off on attaching the material that covers the frays until a later step.
Step 8: Attach the Back of the Collar and Fray Guards.
Fold the back of the collar into place. Pin it if necessary. Because you are going through a few layers of thick material there is a risk of breaking the sewing machine needle. Warning: Do not pull the material, let your sewing machine do all the work.
I put two sew lines on my collars. One close to the slit and one close to the outside of the collar.
After you have attached the collars, attach the material that will cover the twill ends.
Step 9: Reinforce the Ends of the Neck Slit on the Back.
Cut two pieces of collar material to reinforce the ends of your slit. I choose to just make the collar look like a rectangle on the backside of the towel.
Sew around the entire perimeter of the material you are attaching and at a few places through it so ensure it is attached well.
The red ovals in the image show the slit end reinforcement.
Step 10: Reinforce the Front and Add a Little Style.
I chose to make the material a shield shape.
I attached the material by sewing around the entire perimeter of it. I then sewed a square and an X in the flat end of each piece.
I apologize that the first image is blurry.
Step 11: Some Uses for Your Finished Poncho Towel.
Any ideas or improvements are welcome.
If you did this project I would be interested in seeing your results and learn about ways you found to use this item.