Baby Burp Cloths: a tutorial

I am to the point in my life that I’ve decided that I can’t make every baby that comes my way baby blankets.  There are simply too many people having babies in my world.  I’ve tried and tried to think of something that is homemade but isn’t so much work.

Then not so long ago Kalissa came to my house with Gannon and had a cute little burp cloth with her.  Kramer’s sister gave it to Kalissa.  I have no idea if she made it…all I know is that it’s homemade.

I’ve tried to make burp cloths for many years…so many that I even tried when my own kids were babies.  I never liked the finished product.  I’m super picky (in fact to picky) but I admit it. I’m pretty picky about my own work….other’s people’s work doesn’t bother me a bit.

I’ve taken this style of cloth diapers and sewn a colorful fabric down the center…

Gerber Baby Organic Cotton 5pk Prefold Birdseye Diaper - White One Size - image 1 of 2In theory they look nice but they are a little bulky for use-at least that’s been my opinion.

I’ve sewn fabric together and then turned it right side out.  Typically there is a curve in the pattern and it’s such a pain to trim the curves, turn them right side out and sew the opening shut.

I’ve tried them with terry cloth of one side…too heavy.  I’ve tried so many things but have never loved any of them….until I saw the one Kalissa brought to my house.


It is three layers of flannel.  It’s the perfect weight.  The raggedy edges mean no turning right side out.  It also means that my sewing lines are hidden.

Look in the picture below…the seam line varies in width but the beauty of it all is that it is completely hidden by the raggedy edge.

This is my kind of burp cloth…now to replicate them.

I got three pieces of flannel.  You need 21″ of each or 5/8 yard of each.   I used a color for the top and underside.  In the center I used white.  In the future I’m going to search the thrift stores for a light colored flannel sheet for the inside fabric.

You will need a pattern piece.  It doesn’t really matter what the shape is.  This is the shape I came up with.


You will also need a pattern piece in a similar shape only about 1/4″ smaller.

Here I am cutting the burp cloths out.  I used the LARGEST PATTERN PIECE.  To do this I folded the fabric in half and pinned my piece in place with the straight line along the fold.

I cut out five.  I cut two at a time, two at a time again and then the last cut I last cut out by opening up the fabric at the regular fold of the fabric, refolding, and then cut out the last one.

I did that for the top fabric and then did it for the backing fabric.  I had a problem with the cutting the backing fabric though.  I went to cut the last one out and the fabric wasn’t wide enough.  I ended up being able to turn my fabric around and the fabric fit…but it was no longer on the fold.
I ended up cutting it out but leaving a 1/4″ more at the top where the fold was.
I ended up sewing the piece at the top and pressed the seam open.  After that, I treated the piece just like every other piece.

Next I used the smaller pattern piece and cut out the middle fabric pieces from the white piece of cloth.

Then I layered the pieces I cut….The colorful top piece was laid on the table right side down.  Then the middle white piece was laid on top of it.

Then I laid the bottom piece right side up on the grouping.
I put a few pins in place to hold everything together.
From there I put burp cloth into the sewing machine.  I used a 1/2″ seam making sure to catch the slightly smaller middle piece of fabric.
From there I folded the piece in half and marked it with pins.
I sewed along the middle where the pins were.
From there, I snipped in to the sewing line about 1/2″ apart.
I popped them into the washing machine and they frayed up wonderfully.

I am SUPER happy with these.  I’ll be making a lot more of them.
It took me just over a half hour to make a set of five.  If I watch for sales on flannel at Joann’s or buy fabric at Wal-Mart, that can be a NICE baby gift for not a lot of money.  I’m guessing the fabric for these likely cost around $7…I’ll likely add a baby book to go with these when I need a present.

Like I said, there are so many babies being born.  I simply can’t make baby quilts for everyone anymore even though I’d love to and I still want to give a homemade gift.  These are perfect!!

14 thoughts on “Baby Burp Cloths: a tutorial

  1. Deb

    I’ve made them for years and sell them (Handmade by Deb) at craft sales and on my Facebook page. Moms love them for sure!

  2. Kathy Wilgenbusch

    I’ve read warnings about the loose threads from the clipping being inhaled by the little ones. I don’t recommend these or raggedy baby quilts for children under three. And especially those made with the more loosely woven flannels from JoAnn’s and WalMart.

  3. Jill

    Quilts for all babies is not doable in my world either. So I make a self binding receiving blankets and a set of burp pads from the matching fabric. Not much time or money as a quilt would be. Non-sewers think I’m a rockstar! Lol

  4. Carla

    Those are fabulous. I’m so glad you got some sewing time in! Praying for you all as you come to mind.

  5. Kim J LeMere

    Jo, these are super cute and I like the idea of making a few ahead and then adding a storybook to the gift for all those new babies. Thank you for the share. Now to go see what I have for flannel…..

  6. Karen P

    I’ve been making the three piece flannel burp clothes for years. I always buy white flannel for the middle whenever I can catch a great deal. I like the idea of the raggedy burp clothes. It sure would save time. Continued prayers for all of you!

  7. Nancy Wong

    I teach women in recovery how to crochet plastic bags into sleeping maps for the homeless. Because the highest priority for admission is a pregnant woman, we have a lot of pregnant women in the program. I think every baby should have something brand new and homemade with love so I give each mom two flannel bibs. I have made probably 150 or more bibs using 50% off flannel remnants from tge fabric store. I too dislike clipping the curves for the bib, so I use pinking shears around the curved sides before turning it right side out. Since I topstitch the flannel bib, I just fold in the raw edge and catch it inside the top stitching.

  8. Karen

    Your timing is amazing!! I was going to look for baby gift ideas after I read my favorite blogs this morning. I just found out about a baby shower for a friend on Tuesday afternoon, so I don’t have time to make a quilt or blanket either. Thank you!!! I love these and so simple!
    I hope Kramer and Gan Man are doing well! I pray for them and all of you along with my own. Thanks for all the joy you spread and don’t forget to take care of yourself too!

  9. Sherri Crum

    Self binding receiving blankets are super easy and a great gift that the Mom and baby can use for a long time. They are great for a stroller or car seat as the baby gets older.

  10. Melissa

    JoAnns has amazing flannel sales during their Black Friday event. I usually pay less than 2.00 a yard then…

    The bibs are adorable! What a great idea!

  11. Gloria

    Darling burp cloths! Clever as can be! Hoping Roger and Gannon are comfortable today! Hope Georgia Grace is adjusting to being the Princess of the Premises as everyone waits for lovely weather and family get togethers. Hugs, love, and prayers to all, Gloria

  12. Jean

    Speaking of gifts for little ones I had the Pete the Cat books you recommended sent to a young child and they were a huge hit. THANK YOU!!!

  13. Sharon

    Love your idea of the burp cloths. I wonder if I cut them out with a pinking rotary blade would work? Might save a bit of time.

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