When I was pregnant with Sydney I shared a tutorial for some DIY burp cloths that I made out of prefolds and some scrap fabric (you can read the tutorial here). And they were pretty cute! Here’s what they looked like:
They worked pretty well, although we found that with the amount of spit-up we were dealing with on a regular basis that they were a little small. I started to research other options and found a great post comparing various materials for making DIY burp cloths (see the post here). This blogger’s very scientific method found found that flour sack dishtowels were actually the most absorbent material (above prefolds and barmops!). The post got me thinking about how our kitchen towel drawer is overrun with with old flour sack towels that are still functional, but have definitely seen better days. In addition, I have amassed a rather large collection of flannel receiving blankets–well above and beyond what any one child would ever need. These two things combined in my head and the idea of how I would fashion the new burp cloths was born!
In the post I linked to above the author made hers from three layers: two of flour sack layers and one flannel layer. The only things I really did differently was to use old flour sack towels for the middle layer and use receiving blankets for the flannel. Using the old towels in the middle meant I had to buy half as many flour sack towels, and using existing blankets also meant cost savings. The only thing I had to actually buy to make my set of 8 burp cloths was one set of four new towels for the layer that would show. At Target this cost me about $4. Not too bad!
I thought I’d share how I actually put these together for anyone out there who needs a step-by-step. Here’s what you’ll need for supplies:
- flour sack dish towels (I used a total f 8–4 old and 4 new)
- flannel (I used 3 receiving blankets that I already had)
- sewing machine
- chopstick (optional)
- straight pins
Step 1: Wash and dry all your fabric so you can see any shrinkage that will occur. The new flour sack dish towels will definitely shrink up and get more absorbent after you wash them. Here you can see my three layers (blanket, old towel, new towel):
Step 2: Decide on your desired finished size. I wanted mine to be a bit wider and longer than the prefold cloths I made previously. I decided I wanted my finished size to be about 12″ by 16″. Add an inch to all dimensions and you’ll have the size you need to cut each piece to (for me this was 13″ by 17″).
Step 3: Cut all your layers. For me this was one layer of old towel, one layer of new, and one layer of flannel blanket. I cut so that I could get two pieces from each towel and three from each blanket. I cut the flannel exactly to 13″ by 17″ but for the towels, I was a bit more generous since they are a bit harder to cut straight and to work with in general. I cut those to more like 14″ by 18″.
Step 5: Pin all your layers together. Mark an opening at the bottom of one side by using two pins right next to each other. I left about 4 inches. This allows you to turn everything right side out once you’ve sewn your seams. Make sure you pin through all the layers.
Step 7: Cut any excess towel fabric so it is flush with the flannel. Clip your corners (this just means make an angled cut at each corner somewhat close to the seam. This will allow your corners to be tidier.
Step 8: Turn everything right side out so that your new dish towel and flannel’s right side are the top and bottom. If you’ve never done this before, just put your hand inside between the flannel and new towel layer, grab a corner, and pull it through the opening you left. Insert the chopstick into the opening and use it to help push the corners out.
Step 9: Fold in the section that you left open and pin with a few straight pins. Smooth out the layers and pin any sections that need help lying flat.
Step 10: Sew around the perimeter using a 1/2 in seam allowance. Make sure to sew through the section you pinned to close the opening. I used a contrasting color for my top stitch on the flannel side and white thread in the bobbin. You could also use a decorative stitch for this step.
Step 11: Fold and enjoy your new stack of burp cloths!
Hopefully that was easy to follow but let me know if you have question if you try this method!