Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Make Your Own Pocket Bib

Welcome to the August Carnival of Natural Parenting: Creating With Kids

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they make messes and masterpieces with children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

I've really been enjoying sewing a lot lately. I'm getting much more comfortable with my machine, to the point where I'm starting to play with it. Don't we all need a little more play in our lives!?

Since Daniel isn't really big enough yet to do crafts with me, I'm enjoying making things for him for the time being. I stumbled across this tutorial to make a "fold-up-and-snap" bib, and I thought it would be a fun thing to play around with making. I liked the concept of this bib because it combines the two qualities we like about the bibs we already have: it's absorbent and made entirely of cloth, but it has an optional pocket to catch food that is dropped while eating. Daniel doesn't like to wear the bibs that are made of wipe-able materials lately (he's always just pulling on them) but he doesn't seem to mind the cloth ones. I like the cloth bibs better too, because they're soft and they fold up really small to fit well in the diaper bag.

I ended up making one with the fold-and-snap pocket, and then another (slightly quicker) one without it. I have enough materials on hand to make two more, so I think I'm going to experiment with different shapes and sizes, as well as using hook and loop closure in place of the snap at the neck.

This pattern is pretty simple, and I didn't follow the tutorial I was referencing that closely. I guess my tendency to not follow recipes when I'm cooking carries over into the way I sew!

Here's my version of how to make a couple of easy bibs:

Materials (for one bib)
A fat quarter of quilting weight cotton for the front of the bib
A fat quarter of soft, absorbent material for the back (terry cloth, chenille, minky, etc.)
3 snaps
Paper, pencil, ruler, scissors (to make the pattern)

The Steps
  1. Make a pattern out of paper. I found the dimensions of the pattern in the tutorial I was referencing to be a little small, so I used two 8.5" X 11" pieces of paper taped together to make a pattern that was a little wider. Basically, you use something large and round (like a bowl) to trace for the top edges, and then something round but smaller (like a glass) to trace for the neck hole:

  2. Trace the pattern onto both the front and back fabrics, and cut them out. Don't cut out the neck hole though! Leave that for later.

  3. Attach two of the snaps (both parts) to the front of the bib: the top set goes 6" up from the bottom of the bib, and 1" in; the bottom set goes 1" from the bottom and 1" in. (Make sure you attach the front of the snaps to the front of the bib.)

  4. Pin both sides of the bib together, right sides together (that means wrong sides facing out or inside out, if you're not all about the sewing lingo). Remember to pin around the neck hole, too.

  5. Sew all along the outside, and around the neck hole, with a ½" seam allowance. Leave 2-3" open in the middle of the bottom of the bib, so you'll be able to turn it right side out.

  6. Cut out the neck hole now, and cut off the extra fabric at the corners at an angle.
  7. Trim the rest of the edges, so there's only ¼" seam allowance around the outside.
  8. Turn it all right side out, using a pencil (or something like that) to poke the top part of the bib right side out.
  9. Add a snap to the neck (or hook and loop).

  10. Turn under the raw edges at the bottom and stitch up. Optionally, stitch all the way around the bib again, ¼" from the edge. (I tried this the first time, and I didn't like how it looked, so I pulled it out and just stitched up the hole and called it a day!)
    I went with brown thread for the top and white
    in the bobbin, so it would blend well on both sides.
  11. Put it on your kid to prevent messes!
    He might even feel so darn comfy in his new bib,
    that he'll put his feet up on the table at dinner.

The second, simpler (though quite similar) version:
  1. Trace your pattern again, onto the front and back fabrics (or, like I did, trace around a bib you already have that you like):

  2. Cut out both top and bottom fabric (but again, not the neck holes) and pin together, inside out:

  3. Sew around the edges and the neck hole, leaving an opening at the bottom for turning, same as above:

    Notice how my desk gets more and more
    cluttered as the project progresses....
  4. Cut around the edges and neck hole, same as above.
  5. Turn it right side out:

  6. Add a snap to the neck.

  7. Tuck in the raw edges at the bottom and stitch up.
I ended up with two bibs for Daniel from of this fun crafty experiment, and I'll definitely be making more! The earthy red batik has terry cloth on the back, and the watercolor blue one has chenille on the back. Both are 100% cotton.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


  1. All right, we need these! I like the idea of absorbent but cloth, because I quite understand the tendency not to want something plasticky on. We're deep into spitup territory, so the droolies and then eating are not far behind. :)

  2. You are one crafty mama ;) Would it surprise you to know that we rarely (very rarely) used bibs with Kieran, because I'm such a neat freak? It is a shortcoming, I know. I plan on letting the next child be much messier ;)

  3. Those look fantastic! The pictures you took are great. Thanks for the tutorial!

  4. Those look so easy to make! I love it! Niko refuses to wear a bib, but if he ever would, these would be top of my list! They look so soft and I love the fabric you used : )

  5. Love this! I'm thinking about making my own too and actually using some waterproof material I use to make cloth diapers. I see you used metal snaps though and I was wondering if they wouldn't rust?

  6. Thanks, everyone!

    @VCoker: Thanks for your question! I don't anticipate an issue with rusting, since I'll be washing the bibs the same as our other baby clothes and bibs (all our onesies have metal snaps at the crotch and none of them are rusting, as do all the snap bibs I've purchased). I wouldn't use metal snaps for anything that's going to be left soaking in water for long periods of time on a regular basis or which is intended to be wet at the snaps (like mama cloth or diapers) because of the potential for rusting. Hope that answers your question! =)

  7. Those are pretty rockin'. :) I love that we're the same way about recipes/sewing patterns in that we just kind of go with the flow, rather than following them to a T. Although my pumpkins don't usually use bibs anymore, this would be a great addition to a gift basket for expecting mothers! :)

  8. like Dionna we haven't used bibs much (but mostly cause the babies were naked LOL) but oh my will these make some fabulous baby gifts! I do love sewing and hope to be able to get back to it soon. I'm still much better with directions so I really appreciate that you've provided them ;-)

  9. These are great, and I especially love the fabric choices (I love when baby stuff isn't just pastels and teddy bears.) I can totally see the potential for making these as customized gifts - team logos, if that's your thing, or skulls and crossbones, or whatever. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Bows at your feet. I'm totally in awe of anyone who knows one end of a sewing machine to another, much less creates anything beautiful on it. Lovely pics and great tutorial - thanks for sharing your inspiration...

  11. So great! Someone gave me one of the plastic-y bibs with pockets and I almost Freecycled it, but it turns out my daughter loves picking food out of her pocket. But I'd rather it be from cloth whose origins I know. Thanks for the inspiration -- and instructions -- to make my own!

  12. That's awesome! I will definitely have to remember this post once my little one gets here and is old enough to need one of these bibs!

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