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Stylish Baby Nursery: Crib Bumpers in Two Cool Fabs

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Padded bumper pads for your crib are a nursery must have. Not only are they beautifully decorative, they keep your little darlin' from bonking her pretty little head. We chose a strong, graphic pattern for the inside of the bumpers, because the baby experts say that's what babies love to look at.

These instructions generally follow the instructions that come with the Fairfield Baby Bumper pads recommended below. For more information and where to buy visit

Our sample was made for a baby girl's nursery, using the stunning Patty Young Andalucia collection. For information on where to buy, read Stylish Baby Nursery: Designing Bold Colors & Patterns. This article also includes suggestions for creating an alternate fabric palette that would work well for a boy's nursery.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • Fairfield NU Foam® Baby Bumper Pads - package of six measuring 10" x 26" x 1"
  • Fabric for inside of six crib bumpers: 2 yards of 45” wide fabric: we used Patty Young's Andalucia in Petal Jester.
  • Fabric for outside of six crib bumpers: 2 yards of 45" wide fabric: we used Patty Young's Andalucia in Petal Flora
  • Fabric for piping around bumpers AND corner ties: 1½ yards of 45” wide fabric: we used Patty Young's Andalucia in Fire Tiny Dots
  • 6 yards 3/8" diameter cotton cording
  • All-purpose thread in colors to match fabrics
  • Iron and Ironing board
  • See through ruler
  • Fabric marking pen or chalk pencil
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Corner template (see download below)
  • 5" square piece of cardboard or template plastic for template (check your local craft store for stencil material)

Getting Started

Cut your fabric and trims

  1. Download the corner curve template and trace it onto a piece of cardboard or template plastic. Cut out.
  2. Cut six 27" x 11¾" pieces of fabric from both the Petal Jester and the Petal Flora (six pieces from each fabric). (Note: To make this amount of fabric sufficient, cut 11¾" pieces along the 45" edge of the fabric.)
  3. Using the template you made, mark a rounded edge on each corner of each 27" x 11¾" piece of fabric. Cut the rounded corners. Using the original template pattern (the paper), transfer the markings (the dots) onto your fabric using the fabric marking pen. I like to make a tiny hole with a pin right in the middle of the dot, then I line up my pattern on my fabric and make a mark with my pen through that hole.
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  4. For the ties, cut twenty-four 15½" x 2½" pieces from Fire Tiny Dots.
  5. Cut six 30" lengths from cording.
  6. Cut six 2¼" wide bias strips according to the instructions below. Each will need to be about 30" long.

Cut your bias strips

  1. On your cutting surface, lay your fabric out flat, right side up, with the selvage running along one side.
  2. The selvage is the woven edge of your fabric where it was originally attached to the loom. The fabric's pattern does not continue onto the selvage, but there is likely to be some information printed there that identifies the manufacturer or designer.
  3. Fold the fabric back diagonally so a straight edge is parallel to the selvage.
  4. Press the fold and use this crease as a guide to mark your parallel lines.
  5. Use a straight edge to make continuous parallel likes 2¼" apart.
  6. Cut along these lines with good, sharp scissors or a rotary cutter and straight edge.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Join bias strips

  1. You may need to join two strips to make one that is the necessary 30" long. To do this, take two of your strips and place them right sides together at right angels to each other.
  2. Stitch straight across.
  3. Lay flat, press the seam open and trim off the overlapping edges.
  4. Repeat until you have one long fabric strip.

Insert the cord

  1. Place one 30" bias strip right side down on a large flat surface.
  2. Lay a 30" length of cord in the center.
  3. Fold the fabric over the cord, keeping the cord centered and matching the raw edges of the fabric.
  4. Pin to hold in place.
  5. Carefully move to your sewing machine and adjust the piping so the raw edges line up on your seam allowance marking and cord pokes out to the left of your foot.
  6. Using the Zipper Foot, stitch slowly staying close to the cord and keeping your seam allowance consistent. Remember to remove your pins as you go so you don't sew over them.
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Stitch cording to bumper fabric

  1. Pin cording to the right side of a 27" x 11¾" piece of Petal Flora fabric. Using the dots you made with the template, start pinning the cording at the large dot in the center of left curved edge, stretching along the 27" straight side, and ending in the center of the curved edge at the large dot on the right side. Be sure to match the raw edges of the piping insertion fabric and the base fabric. Your cording should be centered between the dots.
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  2. Stitch in place using the zipper foot. You are stitching around a curve so you'll need to gently ease the fabric, which means it might ripple slightly. That's okay.
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  3. Repeat to add cording in this same manner to all six 27" x 11¾" Petal Flora pieces.

Make the ties

  1. With right sides together, fold a 15½" x 2½" Fire Tiny Dots fabric strip in half lengthwise.
  2. Stitch ¼" in from the edge along the long edge and across one end. Stop with your needle down at the corner, lift your presser foot, and pivot 90˚ to make a nice clean angle.
  3. Trim the corners, being careful not to clip into your seam.
  4. Press the long seam open.
  5. Turn the strip right side out. You've made a fairly narrow little tube, so you'll need a little help turning it. My favorite way is to use a large safety pin. Attach the safety pin to the seamed end and make sure the pin is securely closed. Then, pushing the pin backwards, wiggle it in on itself. It will take just a second to get this going, then you can keep wiggling the pin backwards until it comes out the other end. It's just like a snake shedding its skin, but not as creepy. Finally, slip a small knitting needle or other slim, dull pointy object up inside the tube and poke out the corners so they are nice and sharp. Janome machines come with a cool little lint brush, the other end of which is perfect for this task.
  6. Press the tie so the seam runs nice and straight along one long edge. We can leave other short edge unsewn, because this will not be seen – it will be sewn into the bumper.
  7. Repeat to finish all twenty-four ties in the same manner.

Finish the bumpers

  1. Pin a tie to the side of a Petal Flora piece, with the right side of the fabric facing up. Use the template to determine where to put them - you will pin them just below the small dot on the upper corners and just above the small dot on the lower corners. Pin them so the unfinished edge is matched along the edge of the Petal Flora Fabric.
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  2. Stitch the ties in place.
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  3. Repeat on all six pieces of Petal Flora.
  4. With right sides together, and ties and cording on the inside, pin a Petal Jester piece to a Petal Flora piece. It's very important that you make sure your ties are all facing in and free of the seams.
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  5. Stitch along THREE sides using the zipper foot. On the top edge, stitch slowly and as close to the cording as possible. On the edges without cording stitch using a standard ½" seam. You may change to a regular foot if you are more comfortable sewing with this on these edges. Leave one short edge open for turning and inserting the bumper pads.
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  6. Turn the cover right side out so the cording and ties pop out... ta-da!
  7. Insert bumper pads into the cover.
    NOTE: It will help give you a nice snug fit if you use the corner template to round the corners of the foam just as you did with the fabric panels.
  8. Turn under the seam allowance so your seam edges are flush to one another, and slip stitch the opening closed.
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Hints and Tips

You may find it easier to insert the bumper pads if you place them in a plastic bag before doing so. This will allow them to slip more easily into the covers. Be sure to do this so that the bag can be removed after the pads are in the covers.

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Aimee McGaffey
Instructional Editing: Alison Newman

Other machines suitable for this project include the Pfaff Select 4.0 and the Bernina Bernette 92c.

Results From Our Readers

Submitted by Rachel in Idaho

Submitted by Veronica in Hayden, AL



Comments (189)

Kelly6869 said:
Kelly6869's picture

I have an old set of bumpers that I would like to simply recover.  They are 9 1/4" wide and 13' 1" long.  I'm no mathematician but it seems like 4 yds of fabric is too much.  I would like to use 2 different coordinating fabrics (one for outside, one for inside).  Can you explain how to figure yardage?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Kelly6869 - the size of your bumpers is quite a bit different than what we used, so we can't give you a precise recommendation. But, you might try drawing it out on a piece of paper - this is often how we confirm yardage. Draw a rectangle that represents yardage -- quilting cotton is usually 44"-45" wide, so that is one side. The other side would be multiples of 36" to represent yardage. Sketch in your pieces to see what you can get to fit. Remember to account for a 1/2" seam allowance all around, and remember that you could seam together smaller panels to create that full 13'1" length. 

Karena Gacek said:
Karena Gacek's picture


thanks for the great tutorial. I'm going to try this at home but the crib I have is a custom size being 44" x 24-1/2". Therefore I'm wondering how many yards of fabric I will have to buy snd how big to cut the pieces of fabric. 

Thank you, 


Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Karena - We're sorry, but we are unable to create revisions to our patterns or projects for size or usage variations. It's almost like a new project and it's always a challenge to change dimensions long-distance without access to the item and/or person for whom the project is being adjusted. We would feel awful if we gave you inaccurate advice that caused your finished project to turn out less than successful. Our standard recommendation is to measure your item and/or person and compare those measurements to our original dimensions. Do the math to make adjustments and scale the original dimensions up or down. Then use these new measurements to make a prototype out of a muslin or another inexpensive fabric you have on hand. This is often the exact way we determine our own patterns and instructions.

Maureen T said:
Maureen T's picture

I know the bumper pad design was released before the American Academy of Pediatrics released their... Guidelines for Infant sleep and SIDS Risk Reduction.  In this Guideline they state unequivocally, Bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.

I think you need to remove this article or provide a warning about the risks of using crib bumpers. It is the right thing to dol

Christina Z said:
Christina Z's picture

SPeaking from experiencebumpers CAN prevent injuries. My oldest son dislocated his sholder and tore his rotator cuff by getting his arm stuck in between the rails on his crib in his sleep. Our perdiatrician suggested using the breathable mesh bumpers to keep him from getting his arms in between in his sleep until he was old enough to figure out how to get it back out without hurting himself. ANy nursery decorations are a parental preference. But maybe using a different material ( like the mesh with a nice fabric trim) would be a better suggestion then trolling patterns and criticizing wether or not they are "safe". If you dont agree with it dont make it or use it. Its that  simple. Do you also go to Babies r Us and tell them bumpers, blankets, quilts,pillows,ect arent safe? So they should stop selling them?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Maureen - as you can see by the many pages of comments here, choosing to add bumpers to crib linens is a personal decision. There have been safety concerns circulating for years regarding "fluffy" pillows of any kind in cribs. We made sure our bumpers followed the best-practices guidelines for construction, length and number of ties used to secure the bumpers, and the use of flat and dense padding rather than puffy batting.

Melissa VanLandingham said:
Melissa VanLandingham's picture

Hi-- could you tell me how long are the straight sides of the rounded corner templet? I'm not sure if I printed it out at 100%.... Also- what seam allowance are you using.. and lastly-- I wanted to omit the cording and insert lace trim so it showed along the top edge.. any thing I should know about doing this?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Melissa VanLandingham - There is a 1" x 1" scale grid on the sheet that you can use to confirm your printout is to size. In addition, the measurement of the bottom edge is 5.5".

With lace, all you would really need to keep is mind is the width, ie. make sure it is wide enough to allow for both a seam allowance as well as the width of the reveal you would like. 

Melissa VanLandingham said:
Melissa VanLandingham's picture

Thanks for your response!! I'm using an oatmeal colored linen and my daughter anted wide lace bows for the ties. Would you recommend just stitching this to the outside of the finished bumpers or go ahed and lay the wide lace as you would the normal ties? Also, do you use a 1/2" seam alloance for the bumpers before turning? Sorry to ask so many questions

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Melissa VanLandingham - Yes, 1/2" seam allowance unless otherwise noted. It is always better to secure ties into a seam -- even double stitching over the tie ends for extra security. So yes, we would recommend insert your lace ties as shown above for a normal tie.

Heather T said:
Heather T's picture

Is 3/8" cotton cording the same as 12/32"???   My math tells me yes but I want to make sure! This is my second go around making these for a friend and a year or so ago I found 3/8" and now I can only find 12/32", it seems big but I'm not sure, the size down is too small-I bought it to try :(

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Heather T - cording can be confusing sometimes, but yes, 3/8" should be the same as 12/32". We are measuring the cut end (the diameter), sometimes the measurement is given as the circumference, measuring around the cord. The best way to be sure is to buy a small piece and test it at home with a scrap cut to the width of your binding strip. Or you could bring a small strip sample to the store and wrap it around the options they have to confirm you are getting the correct size. As shown above, you need the strip to wrap around with enough extra to easily sew the piping into the seam.

Dayna from Alabama said:
Dayna from Alabama's picture

Thanks so much for the tutorial! It was very easy to follow. I used it to make my first grandbaby some bumpers for her bed at our house. I would love to send you a pic to show them off but I'm not sure how to do that. Thanks again!! :)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Dayna from Alabama - so glad you enjoyed the tutorial (and congrats on your grandbaby), you can send us a picture via the Contact Us link above and/or can share a picture with us on Facebook. Thanks!

bertrem said:
bertrem's picture

do you have patterns and instructions for an oval crib (stokke) for bumper pads, sheets, dust ruffle, ect

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ bertrem - I'm sorry, we don't have any tutorials featuring an oval crib.

vmatyga said:
vmatyga's picture

I am planning on making two sets of the crib bumpers for my Grandchildren who will be here in November/December.  The fabric I chose comes in 44 and 60 inch width.  Your instructions call for 45 inch width, will the 44 inch fabric work, or should I move up to the 60 inch fabric?  I have never made anything before this project and am very excited to make this.  Any recommendations?  Thank you!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ vmatyga - 45" is kind of code for 44-45" which is the standard width for most quilting weight cottons. You should be fine with your 44" option. 

Jamelle said:
Jamelle's picture

love the mobile hanging over the crib. Is it made or bought? If it is made, can I get the pattern? if it is bought, where can I purchase? I am planning to make these bumper pads for our grandaughter.



Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Jamelle - that is not a mobile; it is just a grouping of simple paper lanterns. I don't even remember where exactly we got them - as this project is from quite a while ago. However, paper lanterns are available many places - especially this time of year - from party to variety to garden stores. 

Erinb24 said:
Erinb24's picture

It is completely irresponsible to have this tutorial.  Bumpers are a SIDS risk and the American Academy of Pediatrics has completely advised against using them.  I can't believe they are still in stores.

Creativecheryl said:
Creativecheryl's picture

I would not use the term "irresponsible". Exactly how Jen replied, "to each his own". Yes, they are dangerous for tiny babies for the risk of SIDS, but my son is 5 and a half months and his legs constantly get stuck in between the crib bars. This is why I choose to use it. 

Jenn Espinal said:
Jenn Espinal's picture

To say that is its irresponsible is basically your opinion. I am sure the risk of SIDS is likely when your baby is not able to roll from side to side or sit up. My son is 1 and is constantly banging his head against the rails and I want some cushioning in his crib and I don't see anything wrong with having bumpers. I don't understand why some parents are quick to judge other parents. To each its own.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

For the recent commentor @Kate

Thanks for this get tutorial, I tried to make the bumpers with my first baby and hated the way the seam showed on the top of the bumper so opted to make them the old fashioned way with regular batting, lets just say I wanted to kill myself. I love the idea of the piping to cover the seam and add a finished look. I am going to attempt to use ruffled fabric on the top instead to make it more feminine; I will let you know how they turn out

Do you also cut the bumper padding to make the rounded corners?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

Sorry - we had to delete your original comment due to all the strange formatting that posted with it. Good luck on your bumpers. And, yes, if you read through our instructions, you'll see that we use the corner template to round the corners of the foam inserts.

Stephanie P. said:
Stephanie P.'s picture

Hi there!  I was wondering if you had an updated version or a new link for the pdf. file for the rounded corners?  I clicked on the link but nothing showed up.  :)  Thanks!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Stephanie P - I just tested the .PDF link for the rounded template and all works great from this end. So... that means it's something on your end. Make sure you have the latest version of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, that your browser is set to allow downloads from a website and to open a new window. And, sometimes it takes a little patience. Depending on traffic, the PDF can take a bit to load. If all else fails, you can do what I always do, close and restart my browser... and sometimes restart my entire computer. Happy New Year.

Cherri said:
Cherri's picture

Hello.  I just saw my daughter's crib for the first time and the back is solid.  No place to tie the bumpers.  I can tie them together in the middle, and of course at the ends,  but somewhat concerned about doing it that way.  Any suggestions for this?  Or I am being over cautious?

Amy Cranford said:
Amy Cranford's picture

Hello Cherri, You can tie them in the middle where it would look the same as in the tutorial. And you can also by Velcro. They have ones with the sticky side. You can put that onto the headboard and then sew the other side onto the back of your bumper. That way they don't fall over when you have them tied together in the middle.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Cherri - Sorry to be dullwitted, but I don't think I'm visualizing this correctly. Is it the headboard and footboard that are solid? If so, you should be fine as they are designed to have just one pad across the head and foot and then tie in the corners. Along the sides, the two pads tie in the middle. I apoligize for perhaps not understanding the question.

Cherri said:
Cherri's picture

Hi Liz,

No the front, and headboard, footboard, have slats.  It is the back of the crib that is solid.  Or maybe I am not describing it right.  When you stand in front of the crib, like you were going to pick the baby up, and face the back, the back is solid.  Or maybe I should say, the front side has slats and the back side is solid.  That may make more sense.  So is it safe enough to just tie the two side pieces together in the middle?  I was envisioning tying each pad separately to the posts.  I also remember, back in the day, that the whole thing was sewn together!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Cherri - ah ha! I think I get it - you could certainly make one or both side pieces as one unit. In fact, if you scroll through the many, many ... many comments on this particular tutorial, you will find some folks toward the beginning who talk about how to do these as continuous panels. If you're experienced, I'm sure you could also figure it out yourself ;-) - it's just making one piped sleeve rather than two.

Sydney said:
Sydney's picture

Hi! I am getting ready to make these for a friend of mine, who is having twin GIRLS! Only issue is, the cribs are mini-cribs. Do you have any advice onto how to amend this tutorial and the cuts of fabric to fit in them? The dimensions for the mini crib are 38.13 " H x 28.63 " W x 40.0 " D. Any advice you happen to have would be FABULOUS! :) 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Sydney - You best bet would be to do exactly what I'd do in this situation, take my trusty tape measurer to my friend's house and measure the sides and ends for myself... or ask her to do that. Then, using the dimensions shown above for each of the pads, reduce the width and height to match your friend's cribs. There isn't any magic formula unfortunately :-)... it's just math and working with those dang fractions. The only additional thing I'd suggest is to try to keep all the sections the same size if possible as it is above - so divide your total perimeter by 6 and see if that works as a starting point. And for the fabric, remember to account for your seam allowances and the piping... although the piping is "smush-able" and the ties help with final little adjustments.

Sydney said:
Sydney's picture

Hi! I am getting ready to make these for a friend of mine, who is having twin GIRLS! Only issue is, the cribs are mini-cribs. Do you have any advice onto how to amend this tutorial and the cuts of fabric to fit in them? The dimensions for the mini crib are 38.13 " H x 28.63 " W x 40.0 " D. Any advice you happen to have would be FABULOUS! :) 

Melinda said:
Melinda's picture

I'm going to be making this without the piping for a friend of mine.  Is there a difference with the seam allowance on the top for this?  I hope that made sense.  :)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Melinda - The piping adds to the outside rather than the inside, so the seam allowance can remain the same. Have fun!

Colynn said:
Colynn's picture

Great tutorial!! I am a beginner for sewing and I was able to follow this without any problems. I am totally in love with my finished project and so glad I could make a bumper out of materials that I liked! Thank you!!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ S Smith -- so glad your daughter is happy. Thanks for sharing your picture... it's just fine!

S. Smith said:
S. Smith's picture

I will send additional once I get all the pieces finished for the crib skirt and the end of the month the quilt.

S. Smith said:
S. Smith's picture

I would like to post the finished product in a couple of weeks. Does anyone know how that might be done?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ S. Smith - our comment fields are not set up to accept photos. We are working on options to add a visitor photo gallery in the future. In the meantime, many folks put a link in a comment that goes back to a blog or a photo bucket of some sort, which allows us (and other visitors) to click on the link and view your finished project. Have fun!

sorry to say said:
sorry to say's picture

these are very cute, Understanding that it is NOT recomended to put ANYTHING in babies bed including bumper pads :( Babies can get face burried in pads and suffocate. I DO LOVE THE DUST RUFFLE THOUGH.

pediatric nurse said:
pediatric nurse's picture

This is so gorgeous, but remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against bumpers because they have been shown to greatly increase the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

RebeccaW said:
RebeccaW's picture

Actually I've looked into the study that led to the APA "ruling" and it is due to 12 or something infant deaths in a 20 year period. Don't get me wrong, that's terrible, but I consider it more of a fluke for those poor families than a dangerous bumper pads. I think as long a s moms use their best judgement in the first days of rolling over. Be not able to roll back, the bumpers are perfectly safe. 

Also, I think that the long strings on mini blinds are terribly dangerous, but you don't see those being categorically blacklisted. Just resist the temptation to add pretty ribbons to your bumper pads! :)