Friday, March 23, 2012

Infant Bib Tutorial

This little rag bib goes together in a snap. You can make a whole batch of them in an afternoon. What a great gift for that BFF who's getting ready to have a baby!

Here's what you need:
1/4 yd. of lightweight cotton fabric (front of bib)
scraps of contrasting cotton fabric for embellishments
1/4 yd. solid cotton fabric (for middle layer -- I used white)
Hand towel or equivalent in terrycloth fabric (back of bib)
Bib pattern (I traced around a bib I already had)
All your sewing stuff

If you don't have a bib on hand to trace for your pattern, you can find a free pattern on line at any number of sites. The one at Creations by Kara is for infants, and it's in PDF format ready to print!

Once you have created your pattern, cut out the bib shape from the bib fabric (the pretty one that you are using for the front of the bib).

It's hard to tell in the photo, but the fabric is a soft yellow print.

You will pin this bib shape onto the fabric that you chose for the middle layer of the bib. DO NOT CUT IT OUT. Just pin the pretty fabric to a square (or something like a square) of your middle layer.
It'll look like this:

Just join the 2 pieces of fabric with a few pins to hold them in place while you embellish the bib front. Again: DO NOT CUT OUT THE MIDDLE LAYER! This layer serves as a stabilizer for all the curves in this project.

Time to embellish. I chose ruffles for this one, but you can decorate it any way you'd like. For the ruffles, start with a 1 1/2 strip of fabric approximately 24 inches long.

You only need one strip. I know the picture shows 2, but I made two identical bibs, so I needed 2 strips. You only need one.

Gather the strip into a ruffle. There are multiple ways to gather fabric. I let my machine do the work. Here's how:
Set the stitch length to the longest setting (4 or 5)
Set the thread tension to the highest setting (9 or 10)
Sew down the middle of your fabric and watch it gather all by itself!
(If it's not gathering tight enough, gently hold onto the spool on top of your sewing machine, allowing it to give only slightly as you sew. This will do the trick.)

Starting at one side of the bib (which is still pinned to the middle layer), pin the ruffle straight across to the other side. Trim off the remainder of the ruffled strip and place it just below the first ruffle. Pin in place.

Check the settings on your sewing machine. If you used your machine to ruffle, your stitch length and tension will need adjusted.  Sew the 2 ruffles in place. I used a narrow zig-zag stitch and sewed down the middle, right over the gathering stitches.

Now you're ready for the third layer, the terrycloth back. Lay the embellished bib (which is attached to the middle layer at the embellishment) on the terrycloth/handtowel.  Cut out a square (or something like a square) from the towel, using the middle layer as your guide.

You now have three layers, as shown in the above photo: top/pretty layer, middle solid layer, and towel back layer.

Pin all three layers together, following the outline of the bib. There are LOTS of curves in this project, so use LOTS of pins.

Sew all three layers together, leaving a 1/4 seam allowance. You can use the edge of your presser foot as your guide. Sew very slowly around your curves so that your seam allowance is consistent. (If you're like me, you hate sewing slowly. I'm always so anxious to see the finished project that I tend to rush through. I learned the hard way on this project!)

After you remove your pins, cut the middle and back layers away, using the bib front as your guide.

Now you should have what looks like a bib with an unfinished edge.

To "finish" the edges, you will snip into the seam allowance, straight toward the stitch line, every 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

When you have snipped the entire perimeter of the bib, your hand and wrist should be a little tired! Unless of course you're lucky enough to own some spring-action scissors. Apparently this tool makes the snipping process much easier. I wouldn't know. I'm pretty lucky, but not that lucky. I guess I'm lucky enough just to be able to create. But spring-action scissors.....

Anyway, your bib should look something like this by now:

Lots of little snips. LOTS. The rag edge will become fluffier after the bib is laundered, but you can fluff it by hand a little too.

Add a closure of your choice. I used velcro (sewn in), but snaps or buttons work nicely too.

Aren't they cute? And easy-peasy. No seam binding (Yay!)

Here's a few more I made for my imaginary granddaughter:

Happy Sewing!!


  1. I love the look of these bibs. The edges are soft and comfy for baby. But when I washed mine, the ruffles frayed quite a bit. Any suggestions?

    1. Monica, the unfinished edges will fray for the first 2-3 times through the laundry. You can avoid this altogether by doing one of the following: 1) trim the edges of the ruffles with pinking shears prior to gathering 2) short hem both sides of the ruffle strips prior to gathering 3) create the ruffles from tubes of fabric rather than strips. So glad you like the pattern! Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thanks!

  2. I have imaginary grandchildren too!! And I have a whole cabinet full of stuff I have made for them! LOL