Tutorial: Sleeved Toddler Bib

If you’re coming over from Inspire to Create at Sew Chic and Unique, welcome!  I’m excited to be a part of such a fun event!

I’ve literally been using the same three bibs for my kids since Wyatt was about 1.  He’s now 3.  And Weston’s now 1.  Everytime I look at those bibs, I can’t believe that I’m still using them and feel guilty that I haven’t gotten around to making some new ones.  The velcro doesn’t stick very good anymore, and since Weston’s favorite dinner-time activity is to rip the bib off and throw it on the floor (I know all you moms can feel my pain, right?), it’s finally time for a change :).

I remember my mom making bibs out of hand towels for all the grandkids to wear, and I’ve tweaked that idea a bit to add “sleeves” and an optional pocket to the bibs.  They’re easy, they’re fast to make, and the best part is that they work!

So go and find yourself some hand towels, and let’s get started!

hand towel (the larger the better — I found the white one pictured in these instructions at Ikea for a whopping 50 cents — places like Ross and TJ Maxx are great too)
knit scraps (rib knit works best) – cut a 12″x3″ piece


1. Using a bowl or other object approximately 5-6″ in diameter, trace a circle in the middle of the towel, 6″ from one end.  I know, white is not a smart choice for a bib, but I had the towel on hand (obviously shoved in my sewing stash), so I thought I’d use it as a tester :).

2. Place knit right sides together, matching short ends, and stitch in place using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

3. Turn knit right side out and fold in half , matching raw edges.

4. Baste raw edges together.  This will be the collar.

5. Mark middle of collar by folding in half at seam.  Use these marks to evenly pin collar to circle, with the folded edge towards the outer edges of the bib.

6. Stitch collar to towel, keeping your stitch line just outside of your traced circle.

7. Carefully cut away inner circle of towel.  Note: If you have a serger, you can leave a little excess towel seam allowance.  If you do not have a serger, cut the towel seam allowance to match the collar seam allowance.

8. Finish inside collar seam allowance by serging raw edges or using a zig zag stitch.

9. To form sleeves, turn bib front toward bib back, folding at the mid-point of the collar.  Stitch lines approximately 1″ long along side edge on each side of bib back to secure sleeve openings.

10. To form optional pocket, fold bottom edge of front side of bib upward approximately 3-4″.  Stitch in place along edges of bib.  Note: As pictured, you may need to stitch 3/4″ or so in from edge if the fabric along the edge is too thick to stitch through.

Make a few — your kids will love not having a scratchy plastic bib on their necks.

…And you’ll love the bib staying on your little ones :).

I’ll be linking to some of these fabulous linky parties!

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  1. I just made a couple of these. I have a snap press so I put plastic (diaper-quality) snaps under the arms as it makes it easier to take off. In addition, I added snaps to create the pocket on the front so I can unsnap it for cleaning or to cover my son’s lap even more. I found some CUTE towels at Target that are red velvet and are embroidered to look like Santa’s belly. Some black ribbing and, voila! Christmas bibs! Thanks so very much for your tutorial!!!!


  2. Excellent info , I really like this kind of post because I can spend my time in many times, hanks for sharing!

  3. I had some bibs like this 30 years ago and hung onto a couple. So I could pass to my grandchildren. and here you are with a tutorial. Now I dont have to tear the others apart for patterns. Thanks a million!

  4. I love this tutorial but am having a lot of problems with the fit. I cut my neck trim at 14″ and it to tight my daughter cried when I attempted to pull it over her head. My child’s head is small too, less than 19″ (about 10th percentile). I thought I might have the thread tension too tight with the first one so I started a second one and just basted the neck trim together with a wider stitch for more stretch, tried pulling it over her head and it was still too tight. Help me please! I don’t usually have this much trouble with projects.

  5. Anne – Did you cut your neck trim so that the length is along the stretchiest direction of the knit? If not, you’ll have trouble getting it to stretch big enough to fit over a head. If that’s not the issue, you can always cut the neck hole a little larger and add even more length to the neck trim – I’d check the hole to make sure it can fit over the head before you add the trim, and also wrap the knit around your child’s head before cutting it to the length you need to make sure it will stretch enough. If you do those two things, it should fit perfect!

  6. Thank you! I’ll wrap the knit around her head for measuring. I’m pretty sure I did have the knit going the wrong direction the first time – I was re-purposing material from and outgrown romper. The second time I did have going the right direction because I double checked, figuring that was my problem the first time – I tried to pull it over her head before sewing to the towel and still too tight. The hole in the towel is big enough because I ripped the trip off the first to test the hole in the towel and that went over her head without any problems. If this worked for others with a 12″ length, why didn’t work for me even when I had the knit going the right direction? Should I use a bigger/wider stitch or less thread tension? The trim felt like it had plenty of give but was really tight with almost no give at the seam. Thank you!

  7. Hi Anne! I think you’re probably right, that you need a wider stitch – just make sure to use a long and wide zigzag stitch and hopefully that will help with the seam not having enough room to stretch! You should be able to keep your tension normal so that your stitches are still strong. Good luck!

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  9. thanks for posting this. I have a handicapped daughter and I have been trying to think of a way to make a bib with sleeves. I think this will give me a good start, though I will have to use a bigger towel!

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