1.22.2014

Tutorial: How to Make a Burp Cloth

{for one burp cloth}
Time: about 30 minutes
Materials: cotton fabric (at least a fat quarter)
                   cotton chenille fabric (at least a fat quarter)
                   sewing machine and thread
                   rotary cutter and cutting mat
                   pins and scissors
Experience Level: Easy

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A new mom can never have too man burp cloths... like. ever. That's why burp cloths make great gifts for new mommies. After having 3 kids of my own, babysitting, and talking to LOTS of other moms, I have come to a couple of conclusions when it comes to burp cloths.


1. The absolute best burp cloths are handmade. WHY? Not only are they way cuter, but they are generally easier to clean, and last longer. No one wants to replace their burp cloths every month or so because they are falling apart or look gross after tons of washings. With so many fabric prints out there, you could have a burp cloth for every mood you are in! ♥

2. Bigger isn't ALWAYS better. Some people may disagree on this one, but in all honesty... when you are carrying around a diaper bag full of half your baby's room {because we have all been there and know it happens} the last thing you want is a bulky burp cloth or two to lug around too. A burp cloth should be big enough to cover your shoulder and drape off a little and be long enough to catch all the spit and drool that can go down both sides of your shoulder.

3. Cotton is so  more ABSORBENT than anything other material. We all know absorbency is key to keeping our own clothes clean! Everyone knows you are a new mommy... they don't have to see and smell it too! Some people swear by minky material for burp cloths -- the only reason I can figure is because it is so soft on baby's skin. Minky is polyester... it does not absorb anything. That's why people use it to line cloth diapers, LINE cloth diapers. The liquids pass right through it to the soaker pads on the inside. Cotton on the other hand soaks up liquids like a sponge. So, if you have an especially spitty-uppy baby... cotton is a must!


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If you want to try your hand at making your own burp cloth (for yourself or to give away) just follow these easy steps. If you can cut fabric and sew in a relatively straight line, then you can make a burp cloth!


First gather up your materials and make sure that they are washed and dried and ironed. This way they don't shrink. I recommend a 100% cotton print for the top (cute side) and a an absorbant 100% cotton fabric for the back. My favorite is cotton chenille. It can absorb a lot, and it gets softer and fluffier with each washing. (You can find it in some local fabric stores or online) Cotton terry cloth, and cotton flannel also work well as a backing.

I am using the cream mustache print from Riley Blake's Geekly Chic fabric line, and ivory colored cotton chenille. 



Then cut out your pieces. {You can refer to this previous post for tips on how to use one yard of fabric to make 2 burp cloths and a baby blanket.} You will need a rectangle of both your top (cotton print) and your backing that measures 17"x10". {If you chose to go with the flannel -- since it's the cheapest -- I would suggest doing an additional flannel layer in the middle, so you will end up with 3 rectangles: the cotton print, and two flannel. }



Once you have your two rectangles cut, place them right sides together and pin all the way around the edges. I like to start in the four corners -- to be sure that the fabric doesn't slide around as I pin -- then continue to pin along the edges.


Since you are pinning your fabric right sides together you will need to leave a small opening when you sew. My favorite way to do this is to double pin on both sides of where I will be leaving the opening. This way I know exactly where to start and stop sewing. I like to leave about a 2.5" space between my sets of pins.


Once your fabric is completely pinned you can start sewing. Be sure to place your presser foot down on the second set of double pins. This way you can sew all the way around and stop when you get to the double pins again -- which leaves you an opening to turn your fabric.

I use a 1/4" seam allowance for this stitch. Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of your sewing. I also like to back stitch on both sides of all four corners just to give them a little more strength. ♥


Once your fabric is completely sewn {except for the opening you left} grab a pair of your sewing scissors. To make your fabric easier to top stitch we need to clip the corners. You will want to trim off just a tiny bit of each corner. DO NOT CUT THROUGH YOUR STITCHES.


Then use the opening that you left when you sewed to turn your fabric right side out. I like to start by pressing my finger into each corner. From there I gently pull the fabric through the opening.


I don't stress too much about having super crisp corners. If you want them you can use the end of a crochet hook or a pencil to get all of the fabric turned so that your corners are nice and square.


This next step is one of the only really crucial parts about this tutorial. You need to iron your burp cloth before top stitching it. WHY? If you don't iron it first your fabric will pucker as you sew and -- believe me -- you will want to cry!! As you iron be sure that your fabric lays completely flat. You can use a small amount a spray starch if you like to keep it in place, but I don't find it to be necessary for me. Just a steam iron does the trick!


Once you iron your burp cloth you will find that the opening you left will want to fold itself right into place. Sometimes I find it helpful to put both of my pointer fingers inside the corners of the opening and stretch the fabric just slightly. It helps to pull the fabric to where it should be. Then be sure to give it a really good steam ironing. I also like to place pins to hold the two folded edges together.


Now take your burp cloth back to your sewing machine ... you are almost done! I always do an initial top stitch about 1/8" from the edge of my fabric. This way I am sure to catch the folded fabric from my opening in my stitching. It can be tricky because it is a very small seam allowance. If your machine has some trouble, grab the fabric from the back and tug slightly on it as you sew to help it move easier. With such a small amount of fabric for your feed dogs to grab, sometimes they need a little help.

When you get to a corner, put your needle in the down position, lift up your presser foot, and pivot your fabric. These will give you a nice looking corner. Then put your presser foot back down in place and continue sewing.


You can leave your burp cloth like this, iron it, and it is ready to be used! I like to add a second row of top stitching to strengthen my burp cloth -- because we all know how loved they get.


This time I use a 5/8" seam allowance. On my machine I set my needle to about 3/8" seam allowance and line the edge of my presser foot up with my first row of stitching. This way I get an even width between rows all the way around.


I used contrasting thread on my burp cloth so you could see it better in pictures. Usually I use one that matches the background fabric of my print so that the stitching almost disappears into the fabric.


All the is left is to snip all your threads and iron your burp cloth to set all your stitching in place. If you have your own handmade tags you can add that too!


If you choose to use cotton chenille you will want to use a lint roller before giving your burp cloths away as a gift. They tend to get a little fuzzy while you sew! ♥ I am saving this cute burp cloth for my little guy due in May!!!


For instructions on how to make these super cute burp cloth cupcakes using the burp cloths you just made check out my tutorial here.



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