Easy baby bib pattern and tutorial

About, ooooh, five months ago I decided to make my sproglet some bibs. He was six months old at the time and I wanted a bib of a decent length to actually catch all the food he was spilling down his front as I was weaning him.

After a very perfunctory Google, I couldn’t find the right kind of pattern online, most seeming to cater to smaller dribble-catching baby bibs, so I decided to make my own.

bib tutorial

Now, I’m not claiming in any way to be any sort of sewing maven, but since I’d made the pattern I thought I’d share it here, in case it was useful for anyone else. Five months later, here it finally is!

The one good thing about my ridiculous delay in getting this ready to post is that I’ve had time to trial (and repeatedly wash) my original bibs, so I’ve made a few alterations to improve their durability.

The bib has a nice cotton fabric on the front, backed with terry towelling, which I’ve found really useful as all the food spills down the front and then you can use the back to wipe your baby clean once they’ve finished eating.

These instructions look amazingly lengthy, but it’s really a very simple process. I’ve just included lots of detail because I can’t help waffling that I thought might be useful to someone who is new to sewing. Ditto with the seemingly excessive number of photographs…


Baby bib sewing supplies
Also, bib pattern, sewing machine scissors and all that malarkey too
  • This pdf of the pattern
  • Terry towelling fabric (this makes the back of the bib)
  • Cotton fabric, either plain or patterned (this makes the front of the bib)
  • Sewing machine or a lot more patience than I have and a needle and thread
  • Pins
  • Iron-on velcro or some sew on poppers
  • Scissors

What to do

      1. Print out the bib pattern onto two separate pieces of A4 (don’t use double sided as you need both of the pieces separately), cut out and sellotape together along the dotted lines.

        Baby bib template
        Look at that template all ready to go…
      2. Pre-wash both of your fabrics so that they’ve done any shrinking in advance of being sewn together. Iron them flat. (I know, I hate ironing too, and am always tempted not to do it…)
      3. Cut out one piece of the pattern in terry towelling and one in the cotton fabric. If your cotton fabric has a design on, make sure you line up the template  so that you have the parts of the design where you’d like them to be in the bib… In the photo below, I had inadvertently cut off one of my cowboy’s heads, so I started again with the design  aligned better (see the later photos).  As a side note about the towelling fabric, it tends to shed hundreds of tiny little white bobbles everywhere when you cut it, so I find it useful to cut out over something I can easily shake off into the bin afterwards. (ie Not the sitting room carpet, like I did the first time I used it.)

        Two pieces of baby bib fabric
        Two pieces of fabric
      4. Place the two fabrics together, with the right side of the cotton facing inwards…

        Right sides of fabric facing for baby bib
        Right sides of fabric facing (of course, the towelling doesn’t have a right side…)
      5. …and pin around the outside

        pin the outside
        Notice my little tomato pin cushion? I had one left over from the tomato garland and this was a perfect use!
      6. Leaving a small gap to turn the bib inside out, sew around the outside, with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. (NB, I’ve found with the other bibs I’ve made that the terry towelling tends to fray a little, hence the slightly large seam allowance.)

        sew the bib pieces
        Sew around the outside of the bib pieces
      7. As an optional extra, you could also go around the seam with a zigzag stitch as well, just to prevent any fraying in the future…

        Zig zag
        Stitch the seam in zig zag, just outside your original straight line
      8. Turn the bib inside out, pushing the material through the hole you left

        Turn bib right way
        Push it through the hole. You might need to use your finger or a wooden spoon on the neck pieces
      9. You’ve now got a slightly puffy version of the finished bib.

        Baby bib tutorial
        A slightly puffy version of the bib…
      10. Iron the bib flat, making sure that your gap matches the rest with seam allowance.

        Baby bib tutorial
        Nearly there…
      11. Leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance, and starting and finishing with a small backstitch, sew all around the outside of the bib, which creates a neat-looking edge and closes the gap at the same time

        Baby bib tutorial
        Neat edges!
      12. Cut all the loose threads.
      13. Now for the fastening. Cut a piece of Velcro the appropriate size for your neck edges. Position it in the right place and hold both sides of the neck fast.
        Baby bib tutorial
        Make sure the velcro fits just on the tip of the neck pieces

        Baby bib tutorial and pattern
        Position the velcro fastening so that the neck closes as you’d like it to
      14. Then iron it into place, following the instructions for your brand of velcro. (Usually, this is something like, don’t iron directly onto the velcro and don’t use the steam settings. Leave the iron on place for about a minute to seal the glue.) Leave it to dry.

        Baby bib pattern and tutorial
        Iron straight on the top and it should be hot enough to glue the velcro in place
      15. If you’re planning on putting the bib in the washing machine and tumble dryer (and, let’s face it, I doubt many people want to hand wash bibs) you might find that the iron-on velcro isn’t that sturdy. Just in case, I sewed all round the velcro as well, completing a square around the outside and then two diagonal lines across the main section as well.

        Baby bib pattern and tutorial
        Okay, this isn’t completely the neatest sewing, but you don’t really notice the stitches when you’re not up close…
      16. Tadaaaaa! It’s all finished, and quite professional looking, even if I do say so myself:
baby bib tutorial
The baby bib all finished. Yeeeeeha!

Just perfect to hang out on the line and admire in the breeze…

Baby bib tutorial and pattern
This is where bibs spend most of their time, isn’t it?



You could leave the bib like this, or you could embellish the front. In my first bib bundle, I made a few with plain white fabric and then ironed on vintage images using the method outlined here. This gave me such beauties as this cabbage bib:

Homemade cabbage baby bib
I really like the effect of this vintage cabbage…

This time round, I decided to quilt the front of one of the bibs I made. (Since learning how to quilt, I’ve become a bit obsessed with it as a general idea…)

I just roughly went around the outlines of the fabric design, which looked really good afterwards. You can pick out details like this cowboy’s bum disappearing over the fence…

Baby bib pattern and tutorial
It looks like he’s fallen over the fence

…or this cowboy’s head:

Baby bib pattern and tutorial
It tickled me that this was a scene of a meal taking place. Cos it’s on a bib, y’see…

You could also try all sorts of other things, such as applique, or making the top fabric from patchwork. I’ve even seen some bibs for baby girls with rickrack sewn on to them… (Not my personal cup of tea, but each to their own.)

Despite lengthy instructions here, this really is a simple make. In fact, I suspect you could probably make a new bib in less time than it’s taken to read through to the end of this post…

If you do make one, I’d love to hear how you’ve got on. Please do leave me a comment below and let me know…

Related articles:

Quilt happy

I write this fresh from waging war on the slugs and snails in my garden. I’d love to say that I was the victor but, despite having deposited a full ice cream tub of the slippery critters into the skip at the end of my road, I fear their guerilla warfare tactics will give them the upper hand again by the end of the day…

(I know, I know, the skip owner doesn’t want slugs and snails in there, but I can never bring myself to actually kill them…)

In completely unrelated news, (note to self, really should try harder to link blog posts together into a cohesive article) I wanted to show you a few pictures of some quilting I got up to at the weekend.

Quilted baby burp cloth | Wolves in London
I love this cute retro fabric

After the success of my quilted teapot, I wanted to have a go at some slightly more freestyle quilting.

Before my sproglet was born, I made a burp cloth, following this really simple tutorial at Made by Rae. It’s a pretty handy item; backed with terry towelling it’s very absorbent, but it’s always bugged me a little that the two layers don’t stay together very well.

Quilted burp cloth | Wolves in London
Absorbent back, appealing front. Useful and attractive!

So, I thought I might have a crack at quilting them, vaguely following the outlines of the little rocket people all over the top fabric.

I’ve got to say, I was pretty pleased with the results.

Space boy quilting

In some places, I followed the outlines closely.

Quilted retro burp cloth

In others, I just nipped along wherever I fancied.

Quilted burp cloth

quilted rocket boy

I definitely think I’ll be doing more of this.

Now, sewing chat out of the way, if anyone wants to come on a snail hunt at 7am tomorrow morning, I know the perfect spot…

Related articles:

  • Looking for other baby sewing projects? Look no further! Here are my baby bibs and carrot baby set.
  • Or if sewing’s not your thing, but you’re a dab hand with an iron, you could make your own Russian doll babygrow (or any other sort of babygrow you fancy, for that matter…)

A bundle of bibs

Remember when I made the little sproglet a set of carrot clothes in celebration of National Carrot Day a few months ago? And how I broke my sewing machine making the first of four planned bibs?

Homemade vegetable baby bibs
Cabbages and courgettes, carrots and toadstools, helping your baby learn his veggies since 2013…

Well, the breakage turned out to be terminal, which was sad for my machine, but quite delightful for me as it gave me the excuse to buy myself a new one. (Footnote 1)

And, oh my god, do I love my new machine.

It’s a Janome DC3050 (recommended to me by Laura, blogger and photographer extraordinaire from Nimble Fingers and Steady Eyebrows and Circle of Pine Trees). And, oh, the things it can do!

[If you’re already up with the latest sewing machine capabilities then please excuse me while I share my wonder at a newfangledness you already know about. You might want to meet me a few paragraphs down right about where the next photo is…] [For extra clarification by “latest” I probably mean as recently as just post invention of the loom.]

But, for those who are still here: it has auto tension! It has a thread cutter! It has computerised settings! It can sew a button hole for me! (This I’ve not yet tested, but I am imagining myself going downstairs to put the kettle on, while my lovely new sewing machine makes the button hole, and perhaps finishes off the rest of the garment for me, while I’m gone…) It has more stitches than I even knew existed, let alone have a clue how to use! And, perhaps least excitingly as a function, but best for my sewing, it has speed settings.

Sewing machine
My sewing machine in action. What a handsome beast! (I’m not actually sewing the bibs in this photo, though, but the egg cosies I made before Easter from the Liberty fabric I got from Mollie Makes.)

Speed settings have made sewing a curve a whole new experience. I whack the machine onto slow and find I can sew the most stunning curves you’ve ever seen. Turned out, all it took for my sewing skills to improve was to stop trying to go at the fastest speed imaginable, but just take my time to actually sew well instead. Hooda thunk?

So, now I have this wonderful new machine, I’m picking up the big unfinished sewing pile. It’s got various things for other people in it. Big things. Like a quilt that was for my sister for Christmas. And a first birthday present for a friend we visited in Ireland three weeks ago.

So, of course, the first thing I attempted was by far the least pressing: the incomplete bibs.

I’m working on getting my bib pattern into pdf form (footnote 2) so I can write it up here with a tutorial, but in the meantime I thought I’d share a few pictures of the seven bibs I’ve made.

I did three in some nice colourful fabrics.

Homemade tortoise baby bib
Lovely tortoises all over the bib

The tortoise fabric is called Tortoise Grass and is by Urban Zoologie. I think this is my favourite bib. There’s something about the fabric design that just works well in bib form.

Homemade Very Hungry Caterpillar bib
“On Saturday he ate through…”

The ever-appealing Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric is by Andover fabrics. It’s stocked in various places (I have a feeling I bought mine from eBay, but it was a while ago, so I can’t be sure…)

Homemade baby bib
Snails and trees and owls, oh my!

This rather gorgeous fabric with trees and snails is from Critter Community and is called Bermuda (I think that’s the right way round. It might be called Critter Community and be from the Bermuda collection perhaps). Whichever, it’s by Robert Kaufman fabrics.

The other four bibs were made from an old white shirt, with images ironed onto the front. (If you want to know more about doing this, check out my tutorial for ironing printed images to fabric…)

Homemade cabbage baby bib
Of cabbages and kings

I think this cabbage is my favourite of these bibs. The image is from Clip Art etc: cabbage image.

Homemade carrot baby bib
A carrot top for my carrot top (ha ha, that’s a brilliant joke that you’d have adored if I’d told you in advance that my baby is ginger…)

The carrots (as I mentioned last time) are from the Graphics Fairy, here: carrot image.

Homemade courgette bib
Lovely courgettes

The courgettes are also from the Graphics Fairy: courgette image. Though, I have to say, I think this image works least well on the bibs: the shape just seems wrong with the bib shape. It’d be great used as a pickling label as suggested though…

Homemade mushroom baby bib
It just needs a little gnome sitting on top to complete the whole look

And the little red mushroom is as well: mushroom image.

So, seven extra bibs should see us through, ooooh, an extra day and a half before we have to run the washing machine. Now it’s onto the important stuff. Next stop the first birthday present…

Footnote 1: Don’t feel too sad for my broken, unloved machine though. It went to a new home through Freecycle, probably to someone who will love and nurture it back to life and then treat it far better than I ever did.

Footnote 2: For “working on” read instead “asking my boyfriend to sort it out for me…”

Related articles

I’m linking this project up at I heart naptime, Serenity Now, the Shabby Nest, the Shabby Creek Cottage, Beyond the Picket Fence and Brag Monday at the Graphics Fairy. Head over to see what others have made this week.