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Baby Gifts: Pretty Bird Snap-on Baby Bibs

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The baby bib's number one job is to be a stain force field. It is often the only line of defense between that adorable handmade white sweater from Aunt Lisa and a favorite bottle of fruit punch. The best bib should: fit snuggly around baby's chinny-chin-chin, be absorbent, easy to launder, fast to get on and off, and in my book, super cute. When you're under 24 months, the bib is your primary fashion statement... ya gotta work it. We offer a free, downloadable pattern for our Snap-On Baby Bib.

Our thanks to Michael Miller Fabrics for providing us with the beautiful wonderful Pretty Bird from Pillow & Maxfield for this project. The incredible hot pinks, vibrant limes and bright blues of this collection made for very happy bibs, but the options available in today's designer cottons are nearly limitless. Part of the fun will be finding your perfect match. 

These cute little bibs have bias binding all the way around. If you are new to binding, it can look a little scary. Not to worry. Nice, neat binding is really all about practice, and going slowly and evenly, gradually feeding the fabric into the binding. Don't expect to just wrap, pin and stitch. Going too quickly or assuming everything stays put and never moves is where disappointment lurks: you pull it out of the machine and there's a big chunk of fabric that's slipped out and isn't captured within the binding. Save yourself some seam ripper time and some tears. Go nice and slow and feed a little bit at a time. Set your needle so it stops in the down position and there's no worry about your stitches getting out of line. Slow and steady, Mr. Turtle.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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Supplies listed below are for TWO MATCHING bibs. We wanted to show variety and so used two different fabrics for our bib fronts. However, the most efficient use is to cut two bib fronts from the same fabric.

  • ⅓ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for front of cloth: we used Pillow & Maxfield Pretty Bird from Michael Miller Fabrics in Lime Dancing Flowers and Lime Bloomies
  • ⅓ yard of 44-45" wide terry cloth for back of cloth: we used Michael Miller's new organic terry cloth in natural (not shown in ingredients photo above)
  • Two packages of ½" double-fold bias tape: we used Wrights extra wide, double-fold bias tape in Lemon Ice
    NOTE: One package contains 3 yards, however each bib uses slightly more than 1½ yards to make it all the way around smoothly. So you really should have one package per bib to be safe. Believe me, you really don't want more than one seam in something this small.
  • All-purpose sewing thread in colors to match fabric and bias tape
  • Small piece of medium-weight fusible interfacing: you need just enough to cut four small circles to reinforce the areas where the snaps will go
  • Snap setting tool 
    NOTE: See our tutorial for more information on these tools
  • 2 size 18 pearl-head snap sets
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • See-through ruler
  • Straight pins
  • Iron and ironing board

Getting Started

  1. Download and print the Baby Bib Pattern.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of TWO 8.5" x 11" sheets. You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Butt the pages together to create the full pattern. Do NOT overlap. Tape together.
  3. Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
  4. Using the pattern (as noted on the pattern piece, you cut along the fold), cut TWO from the print fabric for the bib fronts and TWO from the terry cloth for the bib backs. Make sure the ribs of the terry cloth run lengthwise along the fold line.
  5. Cut four small (about the size of a quarter coin is good) circles from the medium-weight fusible interfacing.
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At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Following manufacturer's direction, iron a circle of interfacing on to each end of each bib front to stabilize the area where the snaps will be applied.
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  2. Place a fabric bib front and a terry cloth bib back WRONG sides together. Pin around the edges, then stitch together ¼" from the edge all the way around. this allows you to now treat the two pieces as one.
    NOTE: Terry cloth is quite stretchy so don't be afraid to use plenty of pins to hold it in place. And, whenever you have dissimilar fabrics being sewn together it is best to stitch with the more difficult one (in this case the terry) down in order to let the feed dogs (those little grippy teeth in the plate below your presser foot) move it through the machine for you. Keep an even tension on the layers as they go through the machine.
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  3. Open up your package of bias tape binding. You'll notice the binding is folded so one edge is slightly longer than the other. For this project, you will encase the raw edges of the bib with the shorter fold on the front and the longer fold wrapped around to the back.
    NOTE: Simply encasing the raw edges with the double-fold bias tape is the faster way to attach binding. For additional options for bias binding, see our full tutorial, Bias Binding: Figuring Yardage, Cutting, Making, Attaching
  4. You want to start pinning your binding on the gentlest part of your curve; the place where it is the closest to being straight. On our bib pattern, that would be along the bottom edge. Do not stretch the binding as you pin. Pin the binding through all layers as shown.
  5. When you reach the tight curve at the neck of the bib begin pinning across the curve and only pin through the top layer of binding into the bib.
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  6. Use lots of pins and carefully work your way around the curve slightly folding the fabric where necessary.
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  7. To smooth out the bigger folds you can even go back add more pins in between to divide up the extra fabric between the first set of pins.
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  8. After you have worked your way around the curve on the top side, turn the piece over and repeat this process on the back side. Yes, it looks a little like a porcupine.
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  9. Continue pinning until you reach the starting point and trim the end so it overlaps by approximately 1".
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  10. Fold and press the end under ¼" and pin so that it overlaps the unfinished end of the binding.
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  11. Use a zig zag stitch to stitch the binding in place. A zig zag is more 'forgiving' than a straight stitch; in other words, your seam line can wobble a little without it being noticeable on the finished piece.
  12. The swing of your needle should be about ⅛" from the edge of the fabric. I found that aligning the edge of the foot with the edge of my fabric worked well as a guide.
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  13. Sew slowly and remove each pin as you come to it, easing the fabric into the binding as you go. To keep "on track", you can stop periodically, with your needle in the down position, and pivot your fabric slightly.
  14. Apply snaps to each end of the neck. If you are new to snap application, see our tutorial: How To Apply Metal Snaps to Fabric.
  15. Press well with steam.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas 
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Julia Chapman



Comments (22)

Julia said:
Julia 's picture

I absolutely LOVE this tutorial as I do all the other Sew4Home tutorials.  I would just like to know if the 1/2 inch bias bidning you use for this tutorial is a 'see' of 1/2 inch (which you talk about in your bias binding tutorial when making your own)  I used the 1 inch tape maker to obtain  this bias binding width of a 1/2 icn 'see'.  Was I correct?  Thank you so much in advance for your help!

Eileen Dyett said:
Eileen Dyett's picture

I have been making holiday-themed bibs for newborns at a local hospital for over 30 years. I decided to make my sewing simpler (and save money) by sewing the front and back (wrong-sides) together, trimming the seam with pinking scissors, and then turning the bib right-side out. I then top-stitch 1/4 inch from the edges to keep the bib from getting wonky after washing.  I also pre-wash and dry the fabric on the hottest setting so it's done all the shrinking it will ever do.  By eliminating the bias trim I save over $1.00 a bib, which adds up when making over 100 bibs a year!

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

@ Eileen - thanks for letting us know how you're doing your bibs. 

Janet Daly said:
Janet Daly's picture

thanks -- made one of these -- the binding was a little challenging, but it all turned out AOK.  I know the 2nd and future ones will be easier.  your directions are awesome -- my safety net!

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

@Janet - you powered through and all was A-OK. That's fabulous. And, you're right, the next ones will be easier. Congrats!

GailD said:
GailD's picture

 Does anyone know of a similar but short and smaller pattern for a newborn?

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

@ GailD - We don't have a smaller version here at S4H - but you could try to reduce the size of the pattern propotionately. Then perhaps make a prototype out of a muslin or similar to test your re-sizing. This is often how we work with pattern design.

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

@ diggy - we tested the pattern on our end and all is working fine. Make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (it's free) and that your browser is set to allow you to open files and/or new windows. Beyond that, it's very hard to tell what might be wrong as there are so many variables in computer and browser set-ups, internet connections, etc. But, we are sure that the pattern is available from the site and is downloading properly.

Gayle Ideas Woman said:
Gayle Ideas Woman's picture

Why not gather the curve instead of all of those pins? Just a suggestiont on how I would do it.

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

@ Gayle Ideas Woman - Thanks; we always like to hear how other folks tackle things! I haven't tried gathering bias binding; I think that might be a bit more advanced technique as you'd need to be very careful about catching both sides of the binding with your stitching. 

peggy m said:
peggy m's picture
My first born is now 32 years old. I received these as a baby gift and they were absolutly my very fav bibs. They cover the front of baby so well and easy to wash cause of no strings!!! Thanks for the memory!!smilies/wink.gifsmilies/wink.gif
Alayna said:
Alayna's picture
Awesome tutorial! Thank you. I would have had no idea how many pins to use!!!
Sarah Red Gingham said:
Sarah Red Gingham's picture
Love your bibs! I want to make some now for presents. Great way to use some very special fabric but not too much.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Stacy -- thank you for such a nice comment. It is PERFECT because our goal is get folks sewing, especially those brand new and relatively new to the process. We're delighted you are on the band wagon. Come back often... and bring your friends smilies/cheesy.gif
Stacy from Avalon, CA said:
Stacy from Avalon, CA's picture
I LOVE this site!!! I can sew but I am totally self taught and don't know how to do some things on my own. Tips and trick go a long way with me. Being shown how to use tools is a total bonus and helps me a lot!!! I love the ideas and all of the wonderful detailed instructions with plenty of great pictures! I can't thank you enough. This bib is great and once again another quality project! smilies/grin.gif

Thank you, thank you thank you!!!
Lauren said:
Lauren's picture
This is my favourite sewing site! Thank you.

Dorchester, Ontario