Making Friday: Bibs for Baby Smith

I headed off to Fabric World, on Main Road, Wynberg, and found this sneaky parking lot around the back, ready to find something to make some baby things for my friend Soph, who is having a little girl very soon. They have a pretty decent selection of fabrics, and I picked out a selection of pink themed patterns.

A selection of pinks in wax print, which I learned is also called “Java Print”

That’s when I remembered that Sophie had specifically said ‘No pink!’ So instead I went with a selection of browns and oranges for the dribble bibs I was going to make to give her. I thought I’d go with towelling for the reverse side of the bibs, but at R150 per metre I thought good old jersey knit would do. I selected a light grey for the reverse side, something my mom would call ‘T-shirting’, a spool of white cotton, and headed home.

I didn’t have a pattern, which I must admit is not the best start to a sewing project. But never mind, I just pulled out some brown paper I have and guess-timated the size of a bib, drew it out with a black marker pen, folded it in half down the centre so as to make both sides even, and cut it out.

A selection of fabrics cut out, with jersey-knit backing, and the make-shift pattern on the right.

I cut out six little printed fronts, and six jersey-knit backs, pinned them together, and then realised I had nothing for the edging. I made some bias-binding out of the left-over printed fabric for the edges of three bibs, and used a length of jersey-knit for the other three. Placing them right sides together I pinned on the bias-binding and double-stitched them onto the bibs, leaving enough room on either side to make something to tie it around baba’s neck.

The bias-binding was WAY fiddlier than I would have hoped — I cut, and stitched and trimmed, and ironed, and ironed and ironed again before it looked decent. Note to self — in future buy already made bias binding to save yourself a headache. Also, the stretch-knit edging was tricky. It’s funny how sewing really small things actually requires as much, if not more work and concentration than big things. It can be really fussy work.

The good thing, though, is that working with a stretch-knit backing meant it was quite easy about being pulled and pushed in different directions to match up with the front bit of the bib.

I got through about five bibs in total when a wave of tiredness hit. It was time for tea. And then time to finish off the last one.

I must admit I ran out of steam on the last one, and it was embarrassingly messy. There was a certain amount of re-zigzagging over patchy spots on the back. I was tempted to leave it out of the set, but threw it in there anyways, hoping Soph wouldn’t cast too close an eye over it.

They turned out rather sweetly, in my opinion. My best combination was the orange and blue one seen above right here, with a contrasting print edging, and grey knit on the reverse.

Do betters for next time

  1. Buy already prepared bias-binding!
  2. Use a pattern, or download a printable off the interwebs
  3. Use a less stretchy, but thicker fabric for the backing — mine was a little too stretchy and kept running away.
  4. Perhaps pick up a bright but complementary contrasting reverse colour, something a bit more exciting than grey.

Would I do this again?

Definitely! Soph really liked them, and it proved to me that something other than pink for a little baby girl can really work. Also, the bright, bold patterns of the African print really do make for a striking effect, especially on such an itsy bitsy clothing item. I must make a note to ask Soph for a pic when baby is ready to eat her solids.

Making Friday is an idea inspired by Heather Moore, of Skinny Laminx.

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