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Ergonomic Baby Burp Cloths

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When my children were small, I went through many a day with a blob of baby barf on the back of my sweater. This situation is far from uncommon, and I know there are some who consider it a "badge of honor." However, all things being equal, I think I'd have preferred to skip the dry cleaning charges. We've designed an ergonomic burp cloth pattern that allows the cloth to curve around your neck and drape fully over your shoulder from front to back. It's designer-level protection! We selected two of the most popular baby fabrics to make the cloths: Double Gauze and Cuddle Fleece. 

The supplies shown below are for one burp cloth, but we all know one is never enough. Several bundled together makes an adorable shower gift. 

The double gauze is 54" wide, so as long as your motif is random or horizontal, you can easily cut the required two layers side by side with the recommended half yard cut. If you want to preserve a vertical motif, ¾ of a yard would be better.

Embrace Double Gauze by Shannon is what we used for our samples, as well as a wonderful variety of coordinating Shannon Cuddle colors, prints, and textures. 

Double gauze is wonderfully absorbent, a positive feature for a burp cloth! And, the cushy fleece feels soft and cozy against your neck and shoulders. The nap of the fleece also helps hold the cloth in place against your clothing so it doesn't shift much as you jostle out those baby burps. 

Most of us recognize regular gauze for its sheer open weave. In fact, the process that creates gauze is even called "gauze weave" (or "leno weave"). This weaving process twists two warp yarns around the weft yarn in a figure eight pattern, resulting in a strong yet sheer fabric. Double gauze is just that, two layers of gauze. Teeny tiny stitch tacks, so teeny and tiny as to be invisible from the right side of the fabric, hold the layers together. These double layers help eliminate the super-sheerness of standard gauze and give the fabric a bit of extra weight, which imparts a wonderful, almost velvety drape. You may also like our striking shawl wrap in double gauze. 

The Embrace Double Gauze comes in a number of sweet baby prints in soft colors that mix well with traditional pastels. We added a bright pop of color with each of the bindings we selected. 

Since burp cloths must be super-duper washable, it's important the multiple layers don't shift or pull apart in the washer and dryer. Traditional straight line quilting would certainly work to secure the three layers, but instead, we added two pretty heart designs for our quilting stitches. The templates are printed right on the pattern pieces, and we show you how to easily transfer the heart designs to your fabric to create a stitch line to follow. 

The custom downloadable pattern offered below is made up of six pieces. We like to always remind you to print our patterns at 100%; do not shrink to fit the page.

Our burp cloth finishes at approximately 23" x 16".

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

As mentioned above, supplies shown are for ONE burp cloth

  • ½ yard of 54"+ wide double gauze fabric or similar
  • ½ yard of 44"+ wide Minky fleece or similar
  • ONE 3 yard package of wide single fold bias tape or extra wide double fold bias tape in a coordinating color
    NOTE: Either style of bias tape will work; you could also make your own binding in a coordinating cotton.
  • All purpose thread to match the bias tape
  • All purpose thread to blend with double gauze; we used natural
    NOTE: You could also use a contrasting thread if you'd prefer your "quilted hearts" stand out against the fabric.
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil 
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Pressing cloth
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Download and print the SIX pattern pieces contained; they are combined in one PDF file: Burp Cloth Pattern. This PDF file includes: Burp Cloth Parts A through F.
    IMPORTANT: Each pattern piece is one 8.5" x 11" sheet. You must print these PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. 
  2. Cut out the pattern pieces along the solid lines.
  3. Following the arrows printed on the pattern pieces, as well as the assembly drawing on Pattern Piece A, butt together the pieces (do not overlap) to form the full pattern.  
  4. Tape in place.
  5. Layer the fabric on your work surface in the following order: fleece wrong side up, double gauze layer 1 wrong side up, double gauze layer 2 right side up. In other words, the two layers of double gauze are wrong sides together. 
    NOTE: The double gauze layers are wrong sides together to keep any motif show-through at a minimum. The fabric itself is actually fairly opaque and the motifs are on the pale side, but better safe than sorry. You don't want an odd ghosting behind the top layer that could cause the motif to appear blurry.
  6. Place the assembled pattern right side up on the three fabric layers. Pin through all three layers. 
  7. Cut out the pieces with one cut through all the layers. You can certainly use a rotary cutter if that is your preference, but with the multiple layers and differing substrates, we suggest traditional scissors. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Carefully remove the pattern, making sure the layers don't shift. Re-pin the layers together around the edge and through the center.
  2. Machine baste around the outer edges. In the photo below, our project is sitting on top of a scrap of the gauze to better capture an image of the three layers.
  3. Find the binding. Starting along the straightest portion of the shape, open up the binding and pin it around the entire perimeter. You are working on the right side of the double gauze. Leave approximately 2" free end at the head of the binding. 
  4. The binding is attached as you would attach traditional quilt binding. If you are new to this technique, check out our full binding tutorial.
  5. We used a Janome Clear Satin Stitch foot. If you are new to binding multiple layers, you could use a Walking or Even Feet foot.
  6. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the binding in the top and bobbin. 
  7. Stitch the binding in place, following along in the first fold of the binding. 
    NOTE: Packaged bindings do not always offer all fold options in all colors, but no worries. You can use either Wide Single Fold or Extra Wide Double Fold bias binding. Or, you can make your own bias binding. 
  8. When you have stitched all around the perimeter and are back near where you began, stop about 2" from the starting point. Lock the seam.
  9. Remove the project from the machine. 
  10. Pull the ends of the binding away from the edge of the project, and place the ends right sides together at a 90˚ angle. Pin together, then test that the binding lays flat when you place it back against the project.
  11. Mark a line from the upper corner to the bottom corner.
  12. Take the project back your sewing machine, and with the binding still pulled away from the project, sew the ends of the binding together along the drawn line. 
  13. Trim the seam allowance back to ¼". Position the binding back along the gauze and finish your seam, matching the previous stitching line and making sure the raw edges of the fabric are flush. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.
  14. Bring the binding up and around to the back and pin in place. The folded edge at the back should extend slightly beyond the original front seam.
  15. Topstitch the binding in place. Traditionally, you would "stitch in the ditch," which means your seam would run directly along the original front seam line. However, because of the thickness of the layers, the shifting inherent with the gauze against the fleece, and the curves; we recommend edgestitching along the binding instead to insure you fully catch the back of the binding all around. If you are brand new to working with binding, you could even switch to a zig zag stitch to further insure you catch back-to-front.

    NOTE: For additional detail and other finishing options, we have two full binding tutorials: Figuring Yardage, Cutting, Making and Attaching as well as A Complete Step-by-Step for Binding Quilts and Throws.

Add the hearts

  1. Find the assembled pattern. Cut out both heart designs, leaving behind two "heart windows."
  2. Pin the pattern back in place on the top side (the double gauze side) of the bound project. 
  3. Using a fabric pen or pencil, trace around the inner edge of each "heart window." Remember, you are working on the right side of the fabric; make sure you are using a fabric pen or pencil that will easily wipe or wash away, or one that will vanish with exposure to the air.
  4. We wanted our quilted hearts to be subtle and so re-threaded the machine with thread to best match the gauze in the top and the fleece in the bobbin. You could certainly choose to highlight the hearts, stitching with a bolder, contrasting color. 
  5. We lengthened the stitch to 4.5mm.
  6. Stitch along the drawn lines through all the layers to create the two quilted hearts.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild



Comments (14)

EG said:
EG's picture

These look like the perfect baby shower gift!  Just curious - do you see any use for a serger here if I have one available? Possibly instead of or after the basting step to keep the edge nice and neat for binding?  Thanks!

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

@EG - So glad to know you like the project. A serger is always an option - and a matter of personal prference, but one isn't necessary here. The double guaze and cuddle are both a bit on the "grippy" side so they really don't shift when attaching the binding. But if it makes you feel better to finsih that edge, by all means - have at it  - let us know how your cloths turn out!

shanebrewer said:
shanebrewer's picture

These collections are really amazing. A new mother can only understand the importance of clothes for her baby and therefore she is looking for good collections of baby clothes for all purposes; these burp clothes are really amazing and especially the color it will definitely attract baby easily.

lillian rucker said:
lillian rucker's picture

I made this, very cute and easy. I thought the pattern was huge, but once it was done it was great. covers the back and front. I remember getting milk all down my back when my kids were babies. I have also introduced my quilting group to your site, My friend sent me an email saying she was cursing me she had been up all night looking at your site and getting projects to do, I go on site daily and have done several projects. Great site love it.

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

@ lillian rucker - thank you so much - for the lovely compliment as well as for passing our site along to your friends. We always so appreciate it when our visitors share the love. And I agree, a bit bigger is certainly better when it comes to burp cloths 

Margaret W Fairgrieve said:
Margaret W Fairgrieve's picture

   hi loving these burp cloths 

I have one problem I have only a IPad . And I don't have a printer can I purchase these full size patterns from you ?..? Please 

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

@ Margaret - we are not currently set up to sell our patterns, but if you can reach out to us via email at: - we will see if we can help you come up with a solution. 

Charleen Haugen said:
Charleen Haugen's picture

One solution would be to find a friend with a Pinter and email the pattern to them and they could print it for her. Or send to your local librarian, ask them if they would print it for you if you ant it to them. Most librariEs can do this, mine I very willing.

Vicky Brown said:
Vicky Brown's picture

I really like these and want to make them as gifts. I will also look for some more masculine colors/fabric patterns for any dads that may help out. These might be ok, but I'm thinking patterns with maybe medium blue or green as background colors and trims.

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

@ Vicky Brown - great idea! you might check out the double gauze from Cotton & Steel; they offer some bolder colors and motifs. 

No1zgirlA said:
No1zgirlA's picture

I am so making these for all the new moms. Wish I saw this when my kds were babies. Thanks for the pattern and tutorial!

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

@ No1zgirlA - You're welcome ... you will be the favorite at the next baby showers!

Kathleen Ann said:
Kathleen Ann's picture

I love the shape of these burp cloths.  Maximum coverage! 

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

@ Kathleen Ann -- that's the idea  so glad you like them!