Sewing your own terry cloth jacket to take to the pool is a rewarding project. Given all the variety of designs, colours and weights in terry cloth towels, you can individualise your jacket to your preferences. One of the most important considerations when choosing a pattern to make a terry cloth jacket is to choose a simple pattern that does not require tailoring or complicated collars, since working with terry cloth adds considerable bulk to the garment.
Pick an easy pattern for the jacket. Wraparound jackets that close with a tie help you avoid having to sew a zipper or make buttonholes for the garment, which can be challenging with terry cloth unless you have a heavy-duty sewing machine. Consider the kind of collar the jacket has. An inset collar like a mandarin-style that requires a facing adds considerable bulk to the neck edge. Shawl collars form both the facing and the collar, a good alternative when sewing with terry cloth. Avoid sleeves that have separate cuffs, which again add bulk to the jacket.
Launder your towels to shrink them, especially if they are 100 per cent cotton, which can shrink. Completely dry them in a dryer.
Place the towels on your work surface and fold over to cut out the back. You may want to use longer pins for sewing to capture both the top and bottom layers of the terry cloth towel. Cut the pattern according to the directions for the pattern.
Zigzag around all the jacket pieces. Choose tighter and wider zigzag stitches than you would for nap-free fabric. Terry cloth towels shed their nap when cut and will continue to do so even after the jacket has been finished, especially when laundered. If you are sewing the machine with a serger, you can skip this step. Sergers are sewing machines that cut, sew and bind all in one step.
Assemble the jacket according to the pattern's guide sheet. When hemming the sleeves and the bottom of the jacket, using hemming tape to finish the edge is easier than creating a folded hem, which adds bulk to the jacket. Iron the seams and hems flat when finished or as the instructions for the pattern suggest.