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 poly-fil.com.
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
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Magnolia 7318)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 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)
Cut your fabric and trims
- Download the corner curve template and trace it onto a piece of cardboard or template plastic. Cut out.
- 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.)
- 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.
- For the ties, cut twenty-four 15½" x 2½" pieces from Fire Tiny Dots.
- Cut six 30" lengths from cording.
- Cut six 2¼" wide bias strips according to the instructions below. Each will need to be about 30" long.
Cut your bias strips
- On your cutting surface, lay your fabric out flat, right side up, with the selvage running along one side.
- 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.
- Fold the fabric back diagonally so a straight edge is parallel to the selvage.
- Press the fold and use this crease as a guide to mark your parallel lines.
- Use a straight edge to make continuous parallel likes 2¼" apart.
- Cut along these lines with good, sharp scissors or a rotary cutter and straight edge.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Join bias strips
- 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.
- Stitch straight across.
- Lay flat, press the seam open and trim off the overlapping edges.
- Repeat until you have one long fabric strip.
Insert the cord
- Place one 30" bias strip right side down on a large flat surface.
- Lay a 30" length of cord in the center.
- Fold the fabric over the cord, keeping the cord centered and matching the raw edges of the fabric.
- Pin to hold in place.
- 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.
- 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.
Stitch cording to bumper fabric
- 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.
- 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.
- Repeat to add cording in this same manner to all six 27" x 11¾" Petal Flora pieces.
Make the ties
- With right sides together, fold a 15½" x 2½" Fire Tiny Dots fabric strip in half lengthwise.
- 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.
- Trim the corners, being careful not to clip into your seam.
- Press the long seam open.
- 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.
- 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.
- Repeat to finish all twenty-four ties in the same manner.
Finish the bumpers
- 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.
- Stitch the ties in place.
- Repeat on all six pieces of Petal Flora.
- 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.
- 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.
- Turn the cover right side out so the cording and ties pop out... ta-da!
- 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.
- Turn under the seam allowance so your seam edges are flush to one another, and slip stitch the opening closed.
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