Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How To Make A Burp Cloth Tutorial

I drafted this pattern when I was pregnant with my first child and it has gotten a lot of use. These are so much nicer than what you can purchase in the store because they are larger and will stay on your shoulder better, plus they are absorbent. Since you're sewing them, you can use fabrics to coordinate with outfits for special occasions like church or weddings. Of course, a real bonus is that they're quick and easy to make but look as though you spent hours.

The first step is to make the pattern. By measuring the main points, you can easily create the shape as shown above. The length of the burp cloth is 17-inches with the mid-width measuring 7 1/4-inches. On each end of the burp cloth measures 9 1/2-inches across. Because I frequently use this pattern, I ironed a fusible interfacing to one side of the pattern paper before cutting out the pattern to give it stability. Just remember to use a dry iron when you adhere the stabilizer to the paper. I also use a dry press cloth to prevent any of the adhesive from getting on my iron.

Each burp cloth requires two pieces of fabric; one for the front and one for the backing. I traditionally make my burp cloths using a terry toweling with a cotton or knit backing. I purchase towels on sale to use for the front of the burp cloth. Usually I can find them on sale for around $2 to $3 and since I’m able to cut six burp cloths out of one towel, that’s quite a savings. Another version is to use cotton batting (Warm & Natural) sandwiched by two pieces of batiste fabric for an heirloom effect. I have tried flannel in the past, but I don't like using flannel for the front side because it is not absorbent like cotton or terry. It works great for the backing though.

Whether you add embellishments using applique or machine embroidery, you'll need to identify the design placement. To do this, fold the burp cloth in half lengthwise.

Placing pins on each end to mark the center.

Next, fold the burp cloth in half to mark the center of the width with pins on each end.

Open the burp cloth up and fold the lower end up to the center pins marking the center width. This will allow you to mark the center of the burp cloth half where the design will be placed. Mark with pins.

Lightly spray a temporary adhesive to a water soluable stabilizer and place onto the burp cloth were the design will be sewn, adhesive side down. Using a ruler, line the ends of the ruler with the two pins marking the lengthwise center.

Using your favorite marking tool, mark the lengthwise center in the general area of the lower width marks.

Repeat this step with the lower width markings.

Your marking should look like this. By using the water soluable stabilizer, you ensure the markings will not damage your fabric.

If you are doing machine embroidery, hoop an adhesive stabilizer in the appropriate sized hoop for your design. In this demonstration, I used HydroStick Tearaway.

The markings you've made for your design are great tools for placing the burp cloth in the proper placement in the hoop. Simply line up your lower pins with your center markings on the hoop. I prefer to line this up prior to activating the adhesive on the stabilizer. Once I have it aligned, I fold up the burp cloth and moisten my adhesive before I fold it back down and press it onto the stabilizer.

Place the hoop onto your machine and align your needle with the center of your marking.

Here is the finished design after I have removed the excess water soluable stabilizer.

For the version using cotton batting and two pieces of cotton batiste/fabric, I embroider the design using a water solubable stabilizer, hooped with the batiste. I then layer the three layers: backing, cotton batting, top.

Pin the three layers together.

For the backing of the version using the terry toweling, I have folded 1/2 yard of coordinating cotton fabric in half, selvage to selvage edge, and in half again giving you four layers. Pin the pattern to the fabric and cut.

Pin the backing piece to the terry towel, wrong-sides-together.

I prefer to overcast the edges of the burp cloths before finishing the edges. This will hold all the layers together to prevent shifting while attaching the binding. I used a simple zig zag stitch with a 2.5mm width and 2.0mm length.

There are several methods I use for finishing these, including piping, decorative serging, envelope method with a simple edgestitch, or bias binding. For these, I attached bias binding. If you are attaching binding, it must be bias binding because of the curves of the burp cloth. I make my own binding cut in 2 1/2-inches width. It takes approximately 66-inches for the burp cloths.

Using the French bias binding method, line the raw edge of the binding with the raw edge of the burp cloth leaving a 3-inch tail on the front side of the burp cloth. I move my needle over to 6.5 when applying the binding.

I stop sewing at approximately 4-inches away from the beginning of the binding stitching. Remove the burp cloth from your machine and lay the binding to the end and fold back as shown in the picture above.

Fold the end back approximately 1/4" and press.

Set the beginning of the bias binding tail inside the end as shown in the picture above.

Fold the end over.

Finish stitching the binding to the burp cloth. Fold the binding to the back side of the burp cloth making sure to cover the first stitching and attach. I prefer to hand stitch but you can certainly stitch it down by machine.

Here is the finished binding. The hand stitches are invisible from both the front and back sides of the burp cloth, giving it a professional appearance.

Here are the two versions opened up.

Cute teddy bear design as stitched-out on the terry toweling. This is a design set by Nancy Zieman.

This is an heirloom design stitched on the cotton batiste. The design is from a design set by Hatched In Africa.

I hope you're able to understand my instructions. If you're interested in a pdf file of this tutorial, please let me know. Be sure I have your email address, otherwise I won't be able to send the file to you. Lastly, please let me know if you have any questions.


webbsway said...

Dear Dena,
I have enjoyed your tutorial on your burp cloth so very much. I think you did an excellent job with it.
I really enjoy your blog-thank you so much for letting me visit and keep up all your beautiful work!
Hugs, Linda

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I can tell you - these are the cutest things ever - I saw some at the sew-in last Saturday - great tutorial Dena - and darling burp cloths.

Unknown said...

looks great, I think I can handle these, thanks so much for putting this together

Mariana said...

It's a wonderful tuturial. I would like you to send me a pdf with the pattern. Here in Portugal we don't see those burp cloths but i think they're great! We use those old square cotton diappers folded to use as burp cloth. But i think i'll start making them as you do!

Myra said...

Wonderful burp clothes and tutorial! 8-)

Paula said...

Very nice, and thank you for your tutorial, I really enjoyed it and I will do this, when I get my new Bernina 830 next week with all its embroidery. Love your blog.

Denny1600 said...

I think the burp cloth tutorial is very good. It seems very clear. Thanks for sharing. And I would love to get a pdf version. Thanks very much!


Becky said...

Thanks for sharing Dena! I have grand daughter #1 on the way in January!!! So excited for ideas of things to spoil her with!

Anonymous said...

Very good clear instructions. I hadn't thought of using towels. I'd love a pdf file of your directions. Thanks,

Karen said...

Very sweet! And, an excellent tutorial. :)

QuiltedSimple said...

What a great tutorial! Thanks!

Judy D in WA said...

Very cute Dena, I need to get busy and make some of those...only 6 more weeks.

Marja said...

I love your tutorial. Thank you for sharing. Please send a pdf.

Anonymous said...

Great idea! Please send the burp cloth pdf to Thanks!

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Deborah (damc) said...

may I please have the pdf of this burp cloth pattern. my email is by the way I love your blog. you visited mine once and that is how I was able to come to yours. I am going to become a fan of your blog. thank you for sharing your great talents

Suz said...

Love the burp cloth tutorial. Please send PDF to me

Sharon said...

What a great tutorial for the burbcloth...they usually start with cloth diapers, and this one will be soooo much cheaper to make! I would love to have the PDF file on this...
Thanks so much...

Lisa said...

could you please send me the pdf for your burp cloths? Thanks, Lisa

zild said...

Hi i would love the pdf for your pattern if you could send it to
thank you so much

Traveling Bonbon said...

I am a self taught sewer and you gave the easiest instructions for doing a bias on right side fabrics. Thanks so much!

Alicia said...

Thanks so much for posting this tutorial its brilliant. Is it still possible to get the PDF please. :-) o

Unknown said...

Dena, I love your burp cloth tutorial. It is great and I would like to have your burp cloth tutorial in pdf form if at all possible. My email address is I have a grandson that will arrive in October and really want to make some of these for him.

Unknown said...

Hey Dena,

would i please be able to have the PDF and instructions??
my email is :) :)

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