HOW TO – MAKE A BURP CLOTH

Do you remember seeing these cute burp cloths on this blog post? Today’s we’re sharing a tutorial on how to make them yourself. Burp cloths make a perfect baby gift or are just to make for yourself. They are made out of cloth diapers so they will soak everything up!

Supplies:

  • cloth diapers (make sure and get the pre-fold kind. You can get 3 ply or 4 ply…just depends on how thick you want them)
  • fabric pieces (I use fat quarters. I used cotton, but you could use flannel if you like too.)
  • scissors
  • sewing machine
  • pins

Optional Supplies

  • ribbon
  • hem gauge

Step 1: Wash all your fabrics, ribbon (if you are using it) and diapers in hot water and dry them. Your fabric will fray on the edges, but that is okay, we won’t notice this in the finished burp cloth. You want to pre-shrink everything because each fabric shrinks a little differently. So it’s good to shrink them all first before sewing them together.

Step 2: After everything is dry, iron them to make them easier to work with.

Step 3: You are going to cut your fabric. For the length, you are going to measure the length of your diaper and add 1 inch. (Each diaper is a little different, so it’s best to measure what you have.) Then the width will be 6”. My diaper was  17” long, so I cut my rectangle to 18” x 6”. This allows for a ½” hem on each side.

Step 4: Lay the fabric strip on your ironing board and using a hem gauge (if you have one), press a ½” hem down each side. If you do not have a hem gauge, you can just eyeball it.

Step 5: Lay the fabric strip down centered in the middle of the diaper with pressed hems facing down. Pin the fabric into place.

Step 6: Now you are ready to sew. Sew through all layers….you want to make your seam as close the edge of the fabric as you can.

If you want to add ribbon, you can now sew strips of ribbon to each side of the fabric.

That’s it—you have now finished your first burp cloth. Now sew a couple more, stack them together and admire them!

REV_OnesieImage

And your darling handmade burp clothes make the perfect unique baby gift along with our personalized onesies! You can check out our entire collection of personalized onesies at our site PetiteLemon.com.

And if you’re looking for charming nursery decor, be sure to check out our fresh and fun personalized growth charts. Or celebrate the new big siblings in your family with a tee from our big sister shirts or big brother shirts.

OurFavThings ONE/TWO: One the Go and Doodle It Up personalized growth charts; THREE/FOUR: Playful Hello and Graphic Funpersonalized onesies; FIVE: Under Construction Big Brother T Shirt; SIX: Love to Sketch Big Sister Tshirt; SEVEN: School Days Alphabet Poster; EIGHT: Modern Brothers Photo Poster

Happy Sewing!
Petite Lemon

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137 Responses to HOW TO – MAKE A BURP CLOTH

  1. theeclecticlife says:

    Those are some of the cutest burp cloths I've seen!

  2. feiane (fe-yan) says:

    wow those are so lovely!….. thanks for posting…

  3. MissAndree says:

    Are you cutting off the white part of the diaper that sticks out on either side, hemming it, or leaving the original (diaper) width as is? (Thanks – I am ignorant, when it comes to babies, but want to make these for a friend!)

    • Kristine says:

      Hello- I’m making these as well for my cousin. In the picture up there and all the ones that I have seen they leave the diaper intact- the white part is folded up there under the added fabric part. That way when you fold them all nice and neat and pretty fabric shows on the outside. On the ones that I have I am added the fabric to the part that has a double layer… so it almost naturally folds under.

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  5. Leigha says:

    Totally love this, what a great shower gift idea! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Candi says:

    I make the burp clothes and use flannel, it absorbs better than the cotton. I also use the fat quarters, you can make two burp clothes out of one fat quarter.

  7. Stephanie says:

    Those are so cute! Thank you for sharing.

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  9. Heather M says:

    This is probably a silly question…but did you cut your fabric before prewashing it in hot water or after?

    Thanks soo much! :)

  10. Heather M says:

    sorry ANOTHER question…any good method to removing all the piling on the cloth diapers after washing them? :)

    • Jessica says:

      Try to only wash the diapers on their own, and no more than 24 at a time (too many diapers creates too much friction that can cause pilling). And then to remove a bunch of pilling, try a sweater shaver. Cheers!

  11. Carla says:

    These cloths are so cute! What happens to the two white sides of the diaper? Are they just folded under or have they been cut off?

    • Jessica says:

      We are glad you like them! So, we actually just left the edges of our diapers as is — we did not fold them or cut them off, but it would be cute to sew them over and add some ric rac or something. We’d love to see what you end up doing! Check our our facebook fan page …. facebook.com/petitelemon Cheers!

  12. Kellye says:

    Hi! These look great! I’m going to try to do some for a gift and have one question. What do you do at the bottom and top of the burp cloth when attaching the fabric? Do you have a little hem there too and just sew across? Thanks!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Kelly! OK so, there is just the 2 hems running vertically up each side of the fabric and then we stitched around the entire piece of fabric on to the diaper into the shape of a rectangle. Does that make sense? The stitching at the bottom and top edge of the fabric keeps it from fraying. Let us know if you have any other questions! We’d love to see pictures of your final product … you can post to our facebook wall! http://www.facebook.com/petitelemon

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  14. Karen Lee says:

    Ok – probably a dumb question but what is a “fat quarter”?

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Karen! No, no not a dumb question at all. A “fat quarter” is a quarter of yard (18 x 22″) and they sell fat quarters all ready cut, so that you don’t have to go to the cutting counter and chop up a yard of fabric just to get that size. Cheers! Jessica

  15. Carolyn Johns says:

    You can also applique some in the middle to add a little something extra.

  16. Ashley R. says:

    I just bought a sewing machine yesterday and this was the first “activity” I ever attempted. I haven’t touched a sewing machine since Home Ec in 7th grade, but my burp cloth turned out SO good thanks to your tutorial! It was so detailed and I love the play-by-play pictures! Thanks for helping out all the beginners, such as myself! :)

    • Jessica says:

      Oh Ashley! Thanks for sharing — that just warmed our hearts. Love that you were able to find joy in our little tutorial. Here’s to many more successful sewing projects! — Jessica, Petite Lemon

    • Virginia Owensby says:

      That is so cool. Warms my heart too.

  17. Fran says:

    I love these. I bought the diapers off amazon and have the material, and a embrodiery machine. I think these are so cute.

  18. Kandy Crawford says:

    I have been making these for years, the last set I made I used a yard of flannel and folded it 3 times, same as a pre-folded diaper, Made a single stitch line from top to bottom to hold it in place, and sew the panel as you have done. i just make a wide zig-zag stitch from side to side to keep it from raveling. I always make a crib blanket out of flannel and use the extra material for my diaper bibs, so very cute and the Mommy always loves the set.

  19. jeanette says:

    These are so cute! Thanks for sharing the post. I’m wondering where you bought such cute fabric pieces?

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  23. Linda C says:

    I made some Burp cloths with a matching wipie case for a family member she was so happy just love making these for new moms

  24. Pamela says:

    I am making these with my 13 year old daughter for her soon to be baby sister. We are wondering how to put the ribbon on without showing the thread. I am not a big sewer, just scout patches.

  25. Pamela says:

    oops, my daughter is laughing at me since I put sewer, I meant to say I don’t do much sewing.

  26. Sue Willlis says:

    I forget what is a fat quarter??

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Sue — A fat quarter is a one-fourth yard cut of fabric that (usually) measures 18″ x 22″ instead of the typical 9″ x 44″ quarter-yard cut. The longest side’s dimension will vary if your fabric is not 44″ wide.

  27. Stacy says:

    So, I’m not sure if I’m missing something, but if you don’t put a 1/2 in hem on the top and bottom isn’t the fabric going to hang off because you cut it an inch longer to start with?

  28. It’s in point of fact a nice and useful piece of information. I’m happy that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Jenny says:

    Hi! These are so cute and I love the fabric you used in the tutorial! Do you know the name of it? Thanks

  30. anon says:

    is there a no sew way of doing this?

    • shelley says:

      You could use washable glue or even the iron-on glue strips, but I would think that it may eventually come undone considering a burp cloth would most likely need washed a lot! But there are other options. Good luck!

  31. michele says:

    i used the zig-zag stitch on my machine to attach the fabric to the diaper (then i used a straight stitch very close to the edge of the fabric) – i used thread that contrasted, but complimented the color of the fabric for more visual interest – and in some cases i used a different color in the bobbin so that the stitching on the back would stand out even more against the back.of the burb cloth. love the outcome!

  32. Dee says:

    If I had extra material left over from the swatches of colorful material, I made a small over-the-carrier blanket, and simply sewed the random pieces together and attached to a flannel small blanket. That way, the burb clothes matched the little carrier blanket.

  33. jackie Haynes says:

    I am just learning how to sew and I am so excited to try this. My daughter is having twins and I would love to make these for her. Thank you so much for sharing.

  34. Laura says:

    If you buy Chinese pre-folds or Indian cotton prefolds the pilling doesn’t happen and you have a high quality burp cloth that will last. I was able to order some on Amazon and read a note online that suggested washing them multiple times to soften the diapers.

    • Laura says:

      Ok just to share I washed the Indian cotton prefolds and the Chinese prefolds- the Chinese prefolds pilled and the Indian prefolds didn’t pill! Thanks for your tutorial, it is wonderful!

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  36. Katt says:

    I made burp cloths for my grandson. We picked up flannel receiving blankets at yard sales. Once we took them home and washed them in hot water, the little blankets were perfect to make into burp clothes. They are a little longer than cloth diapers, but that’s okay. Some little extra-“pukey” ones need a little bigger cloth! I took the blankets and started about 4-5″ from one side, and began a fanfold, to with 4-5″ of the opposite edge. Pin, and stitch down each fold, and viola! You can even make them out of NEW receiving blankets to match the baby bedding pattern, but we were a little more budget-conscious at the time!

  37. Megan says:

    I bought 6-ply diapers, and my thread keeps bunching up. Do you think I need a heavier duty needle?

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  39. Bridget says:

    Hello! I love this idea but do not have a sewing machine. Do you think if I used the iron on transfer paper on the material it would hold on the diaper? Have a good one!
    Thanks!

  40. Amie says:

    Do you have any tips of how to see the ribbon on?

  41. Chris says:

    I’ve made burp cloths like this but have found another easy way to make them. Instead of putting a long vertical strip down the middle of the diaper, I cut a piece of fabric that is 1/3 the size of the diaper’s length and then place the fabric on one of the lower horizontal edges. Fabric is turned under on the two outside edges as well as the lower edge. I cover the raw edge at the top with a ribbon. I saw this technique in a gift shop and really like the looks of it. I also think it’s easier to make.

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  43. Freda says:

    I have been sewing diaper burp cloths for several years as gifts; however, I use machine decorative stitching along the sides. They look nice on the burp side also. Matching fabirc neck bibs are a big hit wherein I use toweling on the inside with solid color on back side all matching the print of the diaper burp clothes. (no use wasting and cutting a diaper for the neck bib). Then I turn the neck bib inside out after sewing and then include the same decorative stitching around the edge.

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  45. JackieN says:

    Where did you get your diapers? I can’t seem to find the right kind. I bought 6-ply ones at BRU. They are the kind with the padded middle, and the middle bunched up when I washed them. I found some 6-ply flats, but no 3 ply flats. Do yours have the padding in the middle? Is there a trick to not getting the middle bunched up? I dried them on medium. It seems like the fabric shrunk a bit, but the padding in the middle didn’t, so the padding is bunched up inside, even though the outside looks flat. You can feel the bunching though when you try to lay it flat. I hope that makes little sense. Thanks!!!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Jackie — so the diapers kind of naturally bunch in the middle a bit. We washed ours first and then ironed them out with steam and that really flattened them out. Plus, when we sewed the fabric on, it helped flatten them out even more. Hope that helps!! Cheers, Jessica

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  47. Beth says:

    Jessica, these are so beautiful! I love making burpies – it’s so fun to turn something so basic and practical into something beautiful (and personal) that can bring a smile to your face, even if you are using it to wipe up pukey baby ick!!! I love the fabric you have chosen – I tend to use Flannel with a little more childish/babyish look, but you have inspired me to move on to a more sophistocated look – a look any hot mama would clearly love in her mod diaper bag!! Thanks for taking the time to share this!!!

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  50. Carol says:

    Thanks so much for the instructions. My grandaughter wanted me to make some for my new great grandson and I just hadnt gotten around to figure out how to make them. I guess I need to get sewing.

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  52. nancy Strouse says:

    my Grandaughter and I are going to give it a try for her little boy, A fun project for us to do together.. we covered some pillows today…look at us go haha

  53. Chelsea says:

    I am making these for my friend who just had a baby girl. I am thinking of adding ribbon but I am wondering if you had sewn on both sides of the ribbon to hold it down???…you probably did but it looks like you only stitched on one side of it… Thanks!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Chelsea — we actually just did one side, but you could totally do both! Whatever you have time for. What a darling gift! Let us know if you have any other questions. Cheers! Jessica

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  56. Sara says:

    Very cute! Where did you buy the cloth diapers at? The fabric looks really soft unlike some I’ve seen at Wal Mart.

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Sara — the diapers we used are Gerber brand and we ordered them from Amazon.com! Washing them helps soften them up too!

  57. Michelle Hayes says:

    Love these! I have everything I need to get started but have one question. You said “the width will be 6 inches” so I want to make sure you mean the unfinished width and not the finished width. You said you cut your rectangle 18 x 6 so is your finished width FIVE inches. Just want to make sure I cut this right! I had so much fun picking out my fabrics, and am excited to make these. Thanks again!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Michelle — yes, you are correct. The finished width will be 5″. Good luck! Let us know if you have any other questions! Cheers, Jessica

  58. Vicki says:

    Hi, I’m a little confused about the width of the cloth. The center padding in my prefolds extends beyond the 2 center (vertical) seams. When I measure my fabric, should I measure the width between the existing cloth diaper seams, or the width of the padding? If I use the padding width, that means when I finish the project I will see 4 vertical seams down the length of the diaper (from the backside). Is that correct? If I try to sew over the current seams, there will be just two, but some excess padding will stick out on both sides, right? I also don’t know if it’s too thick to sew through the padding. Help! And thanks!

    • Jessica says:

      Vicki,
      When we sewed ours, we sewed over the current seams so there are only 2 vertical seams on the back. There was a little excess padding on the sides, but it still looks great. Your machine shouldn’t have a problem sewing through all the layers. Good luck!
      Cheers!
      Hillary

  59. Terrie K says:

    One time saving tool is making templet from your cereal box. Cut it open and cut to the finished measurement. Then when you cut your fabric (with the seam allowance of 1/2 in ) you place the templet on the wrong side of the material and iron the fabric over the templet sides. Time saving and your projects can be lined up on the diaper with min. pinning then sew and your done.

  60. Rachel Jones says:

    thank you for the tutorial I am a new sewer and have only done one project I believe I have found my second project!!! this looks very cute I am due in February and would love to have these for our little bundle and I really appreciate this tutorial

  61. Juanita timmerman says:

    Thank You for sharing this. I now have Baby gifts for all the new little’s that are coming.

  62. Nicole says:

    Hi there. I love your burp cloths!! Im just wondering, is there another option other than the pre folded diapers? I can’t seem to find them in South Australia? :)

  63. Nicole says:

    I love your burp cloths!! I’m just wondering if there is another option other than the pre folded nappies?

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Nicole — oh no! I’m not sure what other kind of fabric would work, maybe some sturdy cotton? Or is it something that you could order online?

      • Nicole says:

        Thanks for the reply! I made the burp cloths using the terry towelling cloth nappiesand cut them in half and sewed around the edges. They still look good but not as neat as yours :)

        • Jessica says:

          Hey Nicole — that sounds like a great idea! I’m sure they are darling and will be well loved and well used!! Cheers, Jessica

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  65. Emily says:

    Easy Cheesy Cute Cloths! Thank for the easy to understand and follow tutorial!

  66. We love it! Hoping to feature the idea on our site with, a link back to you. Thanks for sharing!

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  69. Amber says:

    I love these and cant wait to make them for my sister! I also bought 6-ply diapers, but my thread keeps knotting up (acting like its too thick) What size needle did you use? Thanks!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Amber! For our needle size, we used a universal size needle. Since you are using a thicker diaper, maybe try using a denim needle. Cheers! Jessica

  70. sue griffore says:

    I am confused how you finish the top and bottom of the fabric as you attach it to the diaper. At one point it said just to sew the raw edges of the fabric to the diaper (why allow 1/2 on each end?)……… then it said to fold over all four sides of the fabric 1/2 inch so all four sides have finished edges. I have found that many of the diapers after they have been washed are not completely straight across the top/bottom. What would you suggest then? Thank you for your help….

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Sue!! Fold over each edge of the fabric so you don’t have any exposed edges on the frabic. Pin the fabric on to the diaper. You are right that the diapers aren’t always square —none of these diapers will be perfect. Just pin it on there and get it close to the edge. No need to be exact. Cheers! Jessica

  71. Tammy Matice says:

    Love these burpcloths and can’t wait to make them for my sister’s upcoming baby shower! However, I still need some clarification with the extra fabric at each end ot the cloth. After you sew your strip on, do you cut off the excess 1/2″ so it is the same length? In your tutorial pic, it looks like they are the same length before you sew the strip of fabric on. So if you cut your fabric 18″ but the cloth measures 17″ how do they end up the same length? Just confused! Please help!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Tammy! You fold down all sides so you have no exposed edges of the fabric. Then sew it on to the diaper. This will make it 17″…since you folded the edges down. Does that help? Cheers, Jessica

      • Tammy Matice says:

        Yes! Thanks for the help and for getting back to me so quickly! I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

  72. romanemone says:

    So cute, thanks.

  73. Dorothy Wilhite says:

    I made burp cloths using the kind of diapers that are thicker in the middle. I machine embroidered a design at one end and sewed on a strip of grosgrain ribbon on the edge. They turned out nice, but a problem was getting the embroidery hoop on the thick part of the diaper, so would like to use another kind of diaper that is not thick in the middle like that. Any suggestions?

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Dorothy — hmmm, I’m not sure. We have just been using the regular, standard diapers from Target or sites on Amazon. I’m sorry, I’m not sure what a good solution would be.

  74. Pingback: MORE Trendy Baby Burp Cloths! | One Good Thing by Jillee

  75. Barb Latchford says:

    Hi…loving your burp cloth tutorial…have made a half dozen already for my new grand daughter….at the ends of the strip of fabric I cut mine 3 inches longer than the diaper so I could fold it over the ends of the diaper…makes a nice soft end, sewed through all thicknesses to hem…thanks!

  76. jenn says:

    probably a dumb question, but I have diaper liners would those work? Thanks

  77. Cara says:

    I LOVE these and think they’re adorable! But I’m just curious, have you heard any feedback from anyone that’s actually used these? I am getting ready to make these for my soon to be born little boy but as one previous poster mentioned, after they are washed and dried, they are SUPER wrinkled. I have ironed mine and got them flat so that I can sew on them but once I use them and wash/dry them again, will they wrinkle up the same way? I know I’m not up for ironing them every time I wash them with as often as that will be!
    Thanks in advance for any feedback.

    • Jessica says:

      Hey Cara — congrats on the soon to be arrival of your little mister. In our experience, each cloth diaper brand varies so everyone’s burp cloths are going to wrinkle a little bit more or a little bit less, but we use ours all the time and have made them as gifts countless times and those mamas use their over and over again as well. And since they are going to be barfed on anyway no need to iron, but if you are concerned I would suggest folding them immediately after they are out of the dryer. That will help keep the wrinkles down as well. Best of luck!! Make them, they are darling and you’ll totally use them! Cheers, Jessica

  78. iva says:

    Can anyone suggest a brand and good length of the diaper for the burp cloths? I know that the prefolds come in different lengths.

  79. Arlene says:

    Do you think I could use white flannel folded over instead of diapers? What about terry cloth?

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      That’s so sweet! We definitely have a Twitter account! Our twitter handle is @petite_lemon!! Thanks in advance for the follow!

  85. Edie says:

    I have seen these burp diapers done with just grosgrain ribbon sewn down the seams of the diaper and then the pack is tied together with the same ribbon. The ribbon had a cute pattern on it. Just need 2-18″ strips of ribbon and there is no fabric to bunch up.

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  87. Emily says:

    Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up and
    let you know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly.

    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two
    different browsers and both show the same outcome.

    • Jessica says:

      Hey Emily — thanks for the comment! Hmmm, I just checked and things seem to be running smoothly on our end. Try again? Maybe there was a little WordPress glitch for a minute or a funky internet thingy. Cheers! Jessica

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