This is my very first sewing tutorial on the blog!
From one beginner to another, I hope you find it useful and shows you that it really is a project that can be mastered by a complete novice.
A baby bib was the very first project I ever tried to sew after purchasing my sewing machine a little over a year ago.
I’ve been meaning to blog about this for some time now and thought I’d finally do so after recently sewing one of these bibs for my daughter’s teacher whose wife gave birth to their second baby a couple of weeks ago. My daughter really wanted to give her teacher something to say congratulations, so she picked out some material from my stash and away we went.
Since sewing my first baby bib, I have made a few adjustments along the way, but feel that I now have my own ‘go to’ sewing pattern that I really like and can easily whip up when needed.
This bib is more suitable for a toddler, however it can easily be adapted to make any sized bib you like by making it shorter or adding another snap fastener to make the neckline smaller.
Material of your choosing for the front and back of the bib
Snap fasteners and tool
Iron and ironing board
Step 1 – Choose your fabric
Select a fabric of your choice for the front as well as something absorbent for the reverse – you could try terry towelling (even using a cheap towel works well) or my preferred backing material is dimpled minky material as I find it a bit thinner to work with, sits well on the back on the bib and is so soft and comfortable for baby.
Step 2 – Create a template for your bib
This may sound a little daunting for a newbie to sewing and it took me a few attempts to get the exact bib I was after, but it’s a great way to practise your sewing and still end up with a usable bib along the way.
In the beginning I used an existing bib I liked the shape of as a template. I simply folded it in half, pinned it to the fabric then traced around the outside, leaving a 1-1.5cm seam allowance. But I soon realised it would be even better to create a simple template that I could re-use again and again.
To create my template, I got some thin cardboard and used an existing pullover bib that I really liked the size and shape of – it was a nice, simple design with rounded corners but plenty of straight lines, so perfect for a beginner sewer like me! I simply folded the bib in half and traced around the outside of the bib on to some cardboard, leaving a seam allowance of about 1-1.5cm. However, I wanted to make this bib with a snap closure at the top so I searched the internet for some ideas and found a pattern I liked then adapted my bib template to include a similar neckline. I then cut out my cardboard template and was ready to go.
If you are in need of some ideas or prefer to use an existing template, you can can check out my sewing board on Pinterest to help get you started.
Step 3 – Prepare your fabric
Fold the fabric you are using for the front of the bib in half and insert a couple of pins to hold, then place the template you have created along the folded edge and trace around the template. Cut out your material.
You need to do the same with your chosen backing fabric then pin both pieces of fabric together with the front sides facing.
Hint: if working with minky material it can be somewhat stretchy, so I actually find it better to open up the front piece of fabric you have cut out then lay and pin this to the minky fabric (front sides facing) and cut the minky fabric into a rectangle that is slightly larger than the top fabric – see photo below right.
Step 4 – Time to sew
Sew around the edges, leaving about a 5cm gap at the bottom to allow you to pull your bib through and turn it the right way round.
Honestly, I’m still getting used to seam allowance measurements, so for this project I set the needle to the middle point, lined up the edge of the front fabric against the right of the presser foot and used it to guide my way around.
Step 5 – Trim the backing fabric
If using a rectangular piece of minky for the backing fabric, now is the time to trim off the excess around the edge of the bib so it is roughly the same size as the front piece of fabric.
Step 6 – Turn fabric the right way around
Push your fingers through the hole you have created and pull the material through the opening in order to turn your bib the right way round. You may need to push and pull the seems a little with your fingers, particularly around the neckline, to get the bib to lay nice and flat.
Step 7 – Press out the seams with an iron
Use a hot iron to press out all the seams so they sit flat. Make sure the opening you created is folded in and also sits nicely.
Step 8 – Top stitch around the entire bib
Now it is time to top stitch all the way around your bib. This not only closes the hole at the bottom of the bib, but also creates a nice finish to your project. Make sure you use a thread that coordinates well with the front fabric and keep the stitches close to the edge of the fabric.
Step 9 – Add your snap fastener
I have tried several fasteners in the course of making these bibs and personally find plastic KAM snaps fasteners are my favourite, and very easy to attach too. I recommend following the instructions that come with the KAM tool to add them to the top of your bib. Although it can take a few goes to get it right, it’s a fairly easy process once you get the hang of it. Once the fasteners are attached, give them a try to make sure they holding tight.
Step 10 – You’re all done!
Well done! Your first sewing project is complete. Here’s to many more!