Thursday, August 28, 2008

How to make a burp cloth from a cloth diaper

Someone sent me an email and asked me for directions to make these. It's not that they're hard, it's just that there are a lot of steps involved. I made some cute froggy ones and took pictures, so this is going to be LONG and VERY picture heavy.

First, you take a cloth diaper. I got a 12 pack of Gerber Flat Fold Premium cloth diapers at Babies R Us for $13. Iron that bad boy flat.

See how the edges aren't really straight? You have to get them straight so that your seams will match up for sewing.

I found that if you put the iron on it's highest (steam) setting, start from the center, and work your way out to the edge while slightly tugging on the fabric, it gets it really straight and even. You'd then repeat for the other side.

Next, fold the diaper in half, taking care to line up the edges as straight as possible. Press the fold to make a crease.

Unfold the diaper, take one edge, and fold it in toward the center crease, once again being sure that your edge seams line up as evenly as possible. Press the fold to make a crease and then repeat with the other side.

Flip your diaper over and iron out the first crease that you made. You don't need it anymore.

Set your folded and creased diaper aside. Take a piece of plain, patterned cotton fabric about 4 inches longer than the length of your diaper and seven inches wide. I used a quilting ruler and a rotary cutter on my self healing mat to cut these out. It made it go SO fast!

Press out the wrinkles...
(taking pictures with one hand is HARD) Then, starting at the narrow end and using a gauge or a ruler, fold in 3/8" and press flat. I like the gauge because it has the little plastic guide thing that butts up against the edge of your fabric. I think I've had this thing since I was a kid. I don't know how it hasn't gotten lost yet.

Now do this with the length. This is tedious, and you will probably get steam burns on your fingertips, but it's very important for a nice looking finished project.

Flip the fabric upside down and repeat on the opposite side so that you have three sides with folded edges. You don't have to do the last side yet.

Now, go back to the first end that you did, and unfold the corner. We need to miter these.

Fold it in like so (and ignore my chubby fingers and the water spots on the ironing board here...)

Press it flat.
Then refold your original seams and press again for a neat, mitered corner. Repeat on the other corner.

Now you're going to take that diaper that you pressed previously and lay it out on the board with the opening/seam facing up. We're going to hide that with our printed fabric. Make sure that your edges are very straight/lined up, and then center your pressed, printed fabric on the diaper along the edge. Pin in place.

Make sure everything is straight and lying flat on your board, then trim your printed fabric so it only extends 1/2" or so beyond the end of the diaper.

Fold it under so that it matches the length and press that flat. Since the diapers all seem to be a slightly different length, and not sewn terribly straight by the manufacturer, this is the best way I found to keep everything neat and lined up.

Now that you've done that, go ahead and fold it back a bit so you can miter those corners too.

Lay it back flat, where you had it originally, being careful to line up the edge seams, and pin them down. While you're at it, go ahead and pin the rest of the fabric in place as well.
Now comes the easy part - the actual sewing. You don't need a big fancy machine for this - mine is a Singer I got at Target for $88 a few years ago, and I primarily used it to sew on paper scrapbook layouts! If you ever want to freak out the ladies at the fabric store, tell them that you use your sewing machine to sew paper, haha! I don't even switch the needles like you're supposed to... I like to live dangerously.
Start on the right hand side, at the TOP of the printed fabric. Be sure to backstitch a little to reinforce your work. Sew a straight stitch about 1/4" from the edge all around the edge of the diaper. (NOT the printed cotton yet)

When you reach the point where you started, keep going so that you double over that seam, and stop about 1/4" short of the edge of the printed cotton. Here is where you turn your fabric and sew down the edges of the pattern.

You go down to the bottom, double over the seam on that edge, and then back up to your original starting point where you will backstitch a little for reinforcement, then trim your threads and you're done!

Honestly, after making 11 of these things, I think I've ironed more in the past two days than I have in the past three years. I'm pretty sure I have. I hate ironing, LOL!

For the ones with the felt appliques, after ironing the patterned cotton and pressing all the seams/mitering the corners, I placed the fabric in an embroidery hoop to keep it taut while attaching the felt with embroidery floss. I drew a little X onto the fabric beforehand with a chalk pencil so I wouldn't lose where the center was located. The shapes I just cut out freehand. That used to drive people nuts when I'd tell them to do that in my scrapbooking classes (what do you MEAN, "just" cut out a heart???) The buttons are from my scrapbooking stash.

After I had my shapes attatched, I usually had to press around them a bit with the iron to get rid of the embroidery hoop marks. I never ironed directly onto the felt though. Then I went ahead and finished the burpies as I had been doing.

So there you go. I'm not a master seamstress by any means, and I'm sure anyone out there who "really" sews is probably cringing at some of the stuff I've done here, since I'm pretty much self taught, but it get's the job done. Thank you to everyone who left such nice compliments about my latest arts and crafts project! Check out Princess Lasertron's video tutorial about embroidered felt, because she explains it all very well. It was her creations that inspired me to try felt in the first place.

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Blogger Robyn said...

Very cool...thanks for the tutorial! Hey...silly question, but the letters that say "Sawyer"..are those covered with scrapbook paper? If so how did you get your cuts so exact?

Keep pumping out the cute baby to look at it!

4:30 PM  
Blogger Lily said...

How nice of you to take the time to post the directions! i'm not much of a seamstress but these would make great gifts for my friend who's about to burst.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Robyn said...

Thanks...looking forward to it!

7:46 AM  
Blogger EatCrayons said...

Oh gosh, so very cute. I am loving these burpies! I cannot sew to save my life, really...but I appreciate the time you took to post the directions w/ photos! I'm so jealous of those who can, like you...because there have been many times I have been hugely tempted to spend a fortune on skully burpies on Etsy.

2:15 PM  

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