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Nursing Cover-Up with a 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.

We designed a secret pocket on the lining side of the cover to hold fresh nursing pads. 

Some moms find covering up to nurse something they prefer and others do not. As with all projects for babies and the nursery, personal preference is the top priority to make your best choice.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • 1 yard of 44"+ wide cotton knit or similar for the outside of the cover
  • 1 yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton for the cover lining and the inside pocket
  • ½ yard of ½" boning
  • ½ yard of ½" - ¾" sew-in Velcro®
  • All purpose thread to match fabric and Velcro®
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. From the knit fabric, cut one 25" high x 37" wide rectangle.
  2. From the woven fabric, cut the following:
    ONE 25" high x 37" wide 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. For more about fussy cutting pockets to match, take a look at our full tutorial on matching a pocket to a base panel.
    ONE 3" x 28" strip for the strap
  3. From the Velcro®, cut ONE 1½" length and ONE 8" length. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Make the pocket

  1. Fin the pocket panel. Fold back 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 down 1" and press. Then, fold an additional 1", press, and pin in place.
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  3. Find the 1½" length of Velcro®. Pull it apart into its two layers. Center the hook layer (the scratchy side) 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, re-pinning as necessary.
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  5. Re-fold the hem and edgestitch the hem in place, staying close to the bottom fold.
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  6. Position the pocket on the lining 5½" from the right raw edge and 4" up from the lower raw edge. You can adjust the position as necessary to best match your fabric's pattern (remember, we matched our pocket to the base panel). 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 (the soft side) of the Velcro® so it matches the hook side of the Velcro® already in place on the pocket.
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  9. Edgestitch loop piece in place.

Make the strap

  1. Find the 3" x 28" strap piece.
  2. Fold in ½" along both the long edges and one end and press.
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  3. Fold the strap in half lengthwise, so it's now 1" x 28". The folded edges should be flush. Press and pin.
  4. Edgestitch around the three folded sides. The opposite end remains raw and open.
  5. Find the 8" length of Velcro®. Pull it apart into its two layers. Position the loop side (the soft 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 for later use.
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  6. Edgestitch the Velcro® in place on the strap along all four sides.
  7. Lay the knit cover piece flat on your work surface, right side up.
  8. Measure 9½" in 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 along the bottom edge for turning right side out. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the opening and to pivot at all the corners.
    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 back the upper edge seam allowance to ¼".
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  4. Turn the nursing cover right side out through the bottom opening. Press, making sure to press in the raw edges of the 4" opening so they are 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 ⅝" down and parallel to the top edge to form the boning channel. Lock your stitch at the beginning and end of this seam.
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  7. Reach in through the bottom 4" opening, and working from the inside, in between the layers of the cover, insert the boning into the boning channel. Yep... you need to just go by feel for this step.
    NOTE: The boning has a built-in curve. For this nursing cover, the boning should curve toward the lining side, which will then 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 º at either end of the boning channel – to secure it. 
  9. From that leftover 8" piece of Velcro® hook, cut a 1½" piece.
  10. Edgestitch this hook piece in place at the end of the boning, opposite the strap. Use the vertical stitch line to align the Velcro®, which should sit perpendicular to the boning channel.
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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.
    Click to Enlarge

Contributors

Project Concept: Liz Johnson
Sample Design, Creation and Instructional Editing: Michele Mishler

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