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Nursing Cover With Secret Pocket

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We've had several requests for a stylish nursing cover, and have risen to the challenge with this very easy-to-make version – complete with a hidden inside pocket for nursing pads or baby wipes. The more common name for this item out on the Internet appears to be: 'Hooter Hider' – uh, alrighty then. Makes me think of skimpy t-shirts and chicken wings, so I'm stickin' with Nursing Cover if it's all the same to you. Ours is soft knit on the outside with a woven cotton print on the inside, giving Mom something pretty to look at.

The finished size of our cover is 24" x 36". To wear, simply place the cover over your baby, wrap the strap around your neck, and adjust it so the curve of the boning (encased in a channel along the top front) creates a little window. You're completely covered, but you can still keep on eye on happy baby from up above.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • 1 yard of 44-45" cotton knit for outside of cover: we used Michael Miller's Knit Ta Dot in Cocoa
  • 1 yard of 44-45" wide cotton print fabric for lining and inside pocket: we used Pillow & Maxfield's Pretty Bird for Michael Miller Fabrics in Brown Twirling Tendrils
  • ½ yard of ½" boning
  • ½ yard of ½" sew-in Velcro
  • Scissors or cutting mat and rotary cutter: we recommend a cutting mat and rotary cutter
  • All purpose thread
  • See-through ruler
  • Ironing board and iron

Getting Started

  1. From the knit fabric (Cocoa Ta Dot in our sample), cut one 25" x 37" rectangle.
  2. From the woven fabric (Brown Twirling Tendrils in our sample), cut the following:
    ONE 25" x 37" rectangle for the lining
    ONE 7" x 9" rectangle for the pocket
    NOTE: We had enough fabric to cut our pocket so it would match our pattern perfectly, creating an "invisible" pocket.
    ONE 3" x 28" strip for the strap

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Make the pocket

  1. Fold under the two 9" sides of the pocket and the bottom ½" and press.
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  2. Make a 1" double turn hem to finish the upper edge of the pocket. To do this, fold under 1" and press. Then, fold under another 1", press and pin in place.
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  3. Cut a 1½" section of Velcro. Center the hook portion of the Velcro on the double hem. Pin in place.
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  4. Unfold the hem and sew the Velcro to the fabric through a single layer of fabric.
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  5. Re-fold the hem and edgestitch the hem in place.
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  6. Position the pocket on the lining 5½" from the right edge and 4" up from the lower edge. You can adjust the position as necessary to best match your fabric's pattern. Pin in place.
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  7. Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. The top remains open, because... it's a pocket.
  8. Lift the upper edge of the pocket and position the loop side of the Velcro so it matches the hook side of the Velcro on the pocket.
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  9. Edgestitch loop piece in place.

Make the strap

  1. Fold in ½" along both the long edges and one end of the 3" x 28" strap piece and press.
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  2. Fold the strap in half lengthwise (it's now 1" x 28"), matching the folded edges. Press and pin.
  3. Edgestitch around the three folded sides. The opposite end remains raw and open.
  4. Cut an 8" piece of Velcro. Position the loop side of the Velcro at the folded end of the strap, centering it between the lines of stitching. Pin in place. Set aside the 8" hook side of the Velcro for later use.
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  5. Edgestitch the Velcro along all four of its sides.
  6. Lay the knit cover piece flat on your work surface, right side up.
  7. Measure 9½" from the left top corner and pin the strap in place with the Velcro side facing up. Match the raw open end of the strap with the top raw edge of the knit.
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Put it all together

  1. Place the knit fabric over the lining with right sides together, aligning all the raw edges. Pin in place.
    NOTE: The strap will be sandwiched between the layers. Make sure it is hanging free down the middle of the layers so it won't get caught up in the seams. You can pin the bottom end of the strap to the lining to be sure it stays put.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance sew the two pieces together along all sides, leaving an approximate 4" opening at the bottom edge for turning right side out.
    NOTE: When sewing a knit fabric to a woven fabric, place the knit side down, against the feed dogs of the sewing machine. This helps prevents the knit from stretching and puckering as you sew.
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  3. Trim each corner, then trim the upper edge seam to ¼".
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  4. Turn the nursing cover right side out. Press, making sure to press the raw edges of the 4" opening flush with the sewn seam.
  5. Measure for the boning channel. The starting point is the outside edge of the strap; the ending point is 18" from the starting point.
  6. Stitch 5/8" from the top edge to form the boning channel. Back tack at the beginning and end of this seam.
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  7. Reach in through the bottom 4" opening, and working from inside, in between the layers of the cover, insert the boning into the boning channel.
    NOTE: The boning has a built-in curve. For this nursing cover, the boning should curve toward the lining side, which will bow out the front of the cover.
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  8. When you have the boning in place in the channel, from the outside, stitch vertically across each end of the boning to secure it.
  9. From that leftover 8" piece of Velcro hook, cut a 1½" piece.
  10. Edgestitch this Velcro piece in place at the end of the boning, opposite the strap. Use the vertical stitch line to align the Velcro.
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  11. To finish, topstitch ¼" from the edge, starting at the right side of the Velcro hook piece you just stitched in place, going around the nursing cover, closing the 4" opening along the bottom, and ending at the left side of the strap. Remember to pivot at all the corners.
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Project Concept: Liz Johnson
Sample Design, Creation and Instructional Editing: Michele Mishler


Comments (38)

IdigArchaeology! said:
IdigArchaeology!'s picture

Thanks Sew4Home for another FAB tutorial!!! love @CarrieA 's comment about making 1 corner terrycloth for spit ups, etc!!  That is definitely happening on my next cover!!

I have made a nursing cover in the past and used a large zip tie in place of the boning.  I just cut off that little square bit at the end so all I had left was the thin smooth plastic.  If you are worried that 1 zip tie is too thin, use 2 (although 1 was enough to make my cover stand up).  Zip ties are available everywhere and are cheap.

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

@ IdigArchaeology - thanks for the zip-tie tip -- great idea!

Justy said:
Justy's picture

Thank you so much for this tutorial! This nursing cover has become my "go-to" for baby shower gifts and every mother I have given one to has given me rave reviews. 

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

@ Shannon Thomas - thanks for sharing your completed cover - and for telling your friends about Sew4Home!

CarrieA said:
CarrieA's picture

Thanks for this easy tutorial.  I consider my finished product to be reversible.  I also added a terry cloth triangle to one corner to use for spit up, etc.  I am making another and adding a pocket to each side.  Thanks!

Claire- SITS said:
Claire- SITS's picture

I love the little secret pocket!  Too cute!  Thanks for sharing!

BD1 said:
BD1's picture

This was a terrific tutorial!  I've sewn for many years and this was simple to understand.  My daughter is expecting soon and her shower is next weekend.  Guess who is getting a few of these from Mom?   Thanks for your help.

Shaunna said:
Shaunna's picture
Thank you so much! This tutorial was so easy to follow! I love the secret pocket and using the velcro for the strap. My nursing cover turned out so cute! I can't wait to use it!!!
Carebear said:
Carebear's picture
This is a great tutorial! Easy to follow and gorgeous end product! I know there is controversy about to cover or not to cover. But I also want to add, that covers aren't always just used for modesty, but some babies are very easily distracted and by creating a barrier between baby and distractions it can help make feeding time easier for both baby and Mom.
And as a added note, I am assuming we are all adults, so please stop attacking one another for either covering or not covering. Each Mother knows what is best for her and her baby and that is what they need to do.
AKA-Tinkerbell said:
AKA-Tinkerbell's picture

I tried to use the links in your instructions for the boning and materials, but all I got was an error msg from the site saying the information wasn't available.  I think it's because of the html at the end maybe?  What is the actual name of the boning because I can get to the web site but there are so many choices and I have no clue about this type of thing.  Thanks for your help and thanks a million for all the turtorials you have they are so great!!

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

@ AKA-Tinkerbell - as you can see by the date above, this is an older tutorial. With time, many links can become inactive as fabrics and/or notions are discontinued, updated or moved. We do try to keep up on these, but can't catch them all. Sorry you were unable to link to everything, but for the boning -- any 1/2" boning would be fine -- either at the site listed - or even just from Amazon.

Stephanie P. said:
Stephanie P.'s picture
What kind of boning can you use for this? I was looking up materials online because i want to make one gor my sister in law and steel boning and polyester Rigilene boning came up. Just wondering what the difference between them is and which one would be better. thanks. smilies/kiss.gif
Rachel, RN, CBS, IBCLC said:
Rachel, RN, CBS, IBCLC's picture
Thank you so much for posting this. I'm a lactation consultant and know of many people who would love to make these. While I don't feel there is a need to hide while nursing,I do respect that everyone has her own personal level of modesty. I would have used one of these, had they been available 16 years ago. The important thing is allowing the nursing mother to feel comfortable wherever she is. The baby will pick up on the mother's anxiety and may not nurse well. So I say whatever it takes for them to get the baby fed.
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Brittany @ My Decoupaged Life - thanks for the share, just what we love: a photo and a link. Have fun and congrats!
Brittany @ My Decoupaged Life said:
Brittany @ My Decoupaged Life's picture
I can't wait to make one! I have a baby due next month and with my last I was the master of the "holding the blanket with your teeth". Even though I feel breastfeeding is natural and all, I personally like to cover up. So thanks for the tutorial! I hope you don't mind but I featured this (yes I know this was written awhile ago) on my Show Off Saturday
caite said:
caite's picture
OMG women if you dont use nursing covers or dont believe in using them then WHY are you looking at this page in the first place! Natural or not, I prefer to use discretion. ANYWAYS thank you soo much for the tutorial as soon as i can run to joanns to buy the material i am gonna make a couple of them.
NC mom said:
NC mom's picture
Thank you for the pattern. To those who are wondering what is the use. I am a private person and I realize that others are not as private as I and that is fine, but please do not aim your rude remarks at others who feel differently than you. I am nursing my fifth baby and I also feel it is the most natural thing and it is how God created us. I also realize there is a lot of evil out there. I remember on an airplane seeing a gentleman just staring at the lady across from him nursing her twins. I informed her and she then had her husband hold up a blanket. Nothing to be embarrassed about but there are those who cannot control their eyes!! Thanks again!
AJ said:
AJ's picture
This is a great tutorial! Thank you for sharing and taking the time to make the tutorial. What's with all the BFing drama? Who cares if someone prefers to wear a cover? Good Lord women, get a hobby and quit being self righteous about your boobs.
ElleJane said:
ElleJane's picture
I agree that this is a nice project, but I won't be using one thank you.
It is quite possible to feed your child with out "showing boobie" and this is just one more thing to lug around and wash
Mommy, Esq said:
Mommy, Esq's picture
I just made one of these fabulous nursing covers, and just wanted to thank you for the great tutorial! The instructions and pictures made this a sinch to make! Not to mention, I saved $$$ making it myself!
Beth2 said:
Beth2's picture
Someone gave me one of these an I LOVED it. I'm a little large and it was so hard to keep everything covered, but this is PERFECT! Thank you so much for the tutorial
(I've seen them with one layer, too, simply hemmed and with the boning slid into the hem; works nicely for the summer - not as hot)
Again - Thanks!
Virginia Tippen said:
Virginia Tippen's picture
I made one this week for a co-worker. What a great gift! thank you
Jan Andrea said:
Jan Andrea's picture
I get that some women prefer to use these. Just a word of caution: be sure you can always see your baby's face when using anything to cover up. New babies can, unfortunately, suffocate on the breast, and it's very important to be sure their airway is clear. When they're done nursing, they should be brought up to a vertical position, not left at the breast, particularly if mom has larger breasts.

I don't wish to scare-monger (I've breastfed three babies myself, well into their second year each) but it's important to be cautious with newborns.
Anita in the UK said:
Anita in the UK's picture
smilies/sad.gifNo need to hide away when breast-feeding. Just be a bit discreet. A bit over the top to cover up so completely. Most natural thing in the world!
MissTorg said:
MissTorg's picture
Thank you so much for doing a nursing cover! I'm currently expecting and definitely want to make a few of these for myself...and probably for a few friends as well. This will be great!
artcraftydiva said:
artcraftydiva's picture
I would have appreciated one of these when my children were babies. Yes there is nothing wrong with breastfeeding a child in public, but I never felt comfortable and it was even worse in front of family and friends, especially my husband's friends!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Yay - thanks, Camille smilies/grin.gif. By the way... finished my potholders; they turned out dandy.
Jillian Bean said:
Jillian Bean's picture
I use D-rings when I make feeding covers. They work great. smilies/smiley.gif
The Beach Barn said:
The Beach Barn's picture
Love it! Thanks for the great tutorial,again! Could you use D-rings to secure the strap instead of the Velcro? Just wondering if the Velcro that's not being used hits the back of the neck???
Hooter Hang Ups said:
Hooter Hang Ups's picture
I never cared for my hooters to hang out even in front of family; I don't care to see the exhibitionists, either. Some of us are modest and don't care to be ogled in public. This is much appreciated, Sew4Home folks; thank you so much!
Karin said:
Karin's picture
It's a lovely fabric. But I have to wonder: Why would one use this? What's more beautiful and natural than a woman breastfeeding her child?
smiledi said:
smiledi's picture
Lovely! And SO much cheaper than buying an equally cute, ready-made one. I'll be bookmarking this post for future reference! smilies/smiley.gif

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