Well Being

How to Sew Your Own Baby Bibs

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finishedbib.jpgThis fun, easy and inexpensive sewing project makes a great baby shower gift. Maybe you'd like to sew these for yourself if your baby is ready to start on solid foods. Step-by-step instructions and picture illustrations guide you through to a rewarding finished product. A few different fabric combinations give ideas for boy, girl and unisex bibs. The measurements are readily adaptable but these produce a bib with extra coverage and long bib ties for ease of use.

Supplies for one bib:
~ two 11×10 inch scraps of coordinating cotton print fabric (depending on the width of the fabric–generally 42, 54 or 72 inches–and the fabric print, you can get 12 or more bibs from one yard of each of the two fabrics)
~ one 13×12 inch piece of polyester quilt batting of desired thickness
~ 36-inch strip of solid fabric or wide (7/8 in.) single-fold bias tape for bib tie
~ thread
~ straight pins as desired to pin fabric in place for sewing
~ scissors or rotary cutting tool
~ cardboard or pattern paper

Difficulty level:
Easy for beginning sewers. I recommend that you read all the instructions through before choosing fabrics and again before starting to cut and sew.

Time needed, not including shopping and time to wash, dry and iron the fabric:
2 hours per bib, more or less depending on your sewing experience. (If you make several bibs all at once, it's most efficient to cut all the fabric first, then quilt and sew each bib, then sew on all the ties.)

Bib care:
Machine wash warm, tumble dry low. These bibs are meant to be used and abused! If desired, choose a dark fabric with a busy print to help hide any stains.

Cut out a template from cardboard or pattern paper. Mine looks a bit rough and uneven after I used a rotary cutting tool to cut out about 70 pieces of fabric but you get the idea. The height is 11 inches, the width is 10 inches, the top sides are 2.5 inches each and the cut-out for the neck is two inches deep/in height. As I said, these measurements are easily adaptable to your own wishes.

Cut out the two coordinating prints with the template and cut the batting slightly larger than the fabric. Sew one of the pieces of fabric right-side up to the batting. You can quilt it however you'd like. In this case I took the easy way out and sewed down three of the straight lines on the print.

Lay the remaining piece of fabric right-side down on the other fabric and batting and sew the edges with a quarter-inch seam, remembering to sew the top edges but keep the neck cut-out open so you can flip the fabric right-side out again.

Trim the excess fabric and batting, leaving the quarter-inch seam around the edges.

Flip the fabric inside-out through the open neck hole. In this picture, I show how to use your index finger to push out the corners.

Here's what the bib should look like at this stage (front and back).

Here's another example of coordinating fabrics that would be nice for a girl's bib.

This unisex bib illustrates an optional finished touch. You can iron the bib on low heat and then sew around the edge. I chose a scalloped edge for an interesting decorative detail.

For the 36-inch long ties (35 inches finished), either cut a strip of solid fabric (1.5 inches or more wide–the wider it is the easier it is to iron and sew) or buy wide (7/8 in.) single-fold bias tape. Bias tape is fabric cut on the bias, which means that the strip's fibers are at a 45 degree angle to the length of the strip. That makes it easier to sew around the curve of the bib's neck. If you use regular fabric, you can cut it on the bias (again, 45 degree angle) or not as you wish, and then fold it in on each edge and iron it to look like the bias tape.

Sew the neck of the bib closed as you sewed the other edges (but without any finished detail like the scalloped edge, because you will be sewing the bib tie over this portion anyway). Sew on the bib tie, finishing the ends by folding each end back half an inch and stitching along the length and width of the folded portion. I confess that sewing the ties is my least favorite step and I usually get my wonderful, more patient husband to complete it!

kidinbib.jpgIf you're lucky, you get a finished product admired by a child like this! The trick is to use this two-sided bib to your advantage: the question is not, “Do you want to wear a bib?” but rather, “Which side do you want to wear, bunnies or stripes?” My child happily chose bunnies and there was no fight about her needing to wear a bib!

Note that fabrics are available with prints of children's favorite television, movie and book characters. They're a bit more expensive, but if Winnie the Pooh, Dora the Explorer or Raggedy Ann will get your child to wear a bib, they're worth it!

If you sew a bib from this project, please consider sending me a photo of your finished project (preferably with the bib worn on your adorable child or grandchild) for publication on the blog!

For more fun and inexpensive projects, see:

How to Sew Your Own Baby Sling
How to Make Your Own Beaded Nursing Necklace

Credit: My husband's aunt gave us bibs like these when my daughter was born. I liked them so much I figured out a way to reproduce them!