Sunday, June 22, 2014

custom baby bibs: a tutorial

Looking for a custom baby gift that doesn't break the bank?

While I have sewed baby bibs from scratch, sometimes you need to make a gift in a pinch.  This raw edge applique bib can be customized and completed in two hours or less, assuming you have the necessary supplies.

Gather the following:
  • blank baby bib (Blank bibs are available in a variety of colors at Target, Wal-Mart or on Amazon)
  • colorful fabric scraps for your letters
  • iron-on adhesive (Wonder Under, Heat n Bond, etc.)
  • white 100% cotton thread and a sewing machine, or a sewing needle if you don't have a machine
  • cardstock
  • scissors, pen
Select a desired font via a word processing program and print your "outlined" letters onto cardstock, as this is more durable and easier to trace than paper.

Cut out your letters.  When you encounter the "middles" you can just snip a straight line through to finish cutting.

After cutting all letters, place them on the bib to be sure they will fit before continuing.  Adjust, as needed.

Trace all of your letters and shapes upside down (see photo) onto the paper side of the iron-on adhesive.

Carefully cut out your letters and shapes, leaving a slight space around each.

Select your fabrics.  This is a great way to get rid of those fabric scraps!

Place the letter (or shape) glue side down onto the wrong side of the fabric.  Carefully press your iron over the shape until it has adhered to the fabric.  Do not rub.  Do not use steam.  If you're unsure how long to press, read the instructions for your particular adhesive first, as they vary slightly from brand to brand.

Once you have ironed all of your letters and shapes, you should have a colorful little pile ready for trimming.

Cut out each letter along the lines you have traced.

When you encounter "middles" in letters, gently fold the letter in half and snip a small slit.  Then carefully cut around the inside using micro-tip scissors.  I use these, but there are many types available that would work.  Good quality scissors are definitely key when completing this project.

Once all letters have been cut, you can peel the paper backing from each.

Depending on the brand of adhesive that you use, some can easily be peeled.  Others require a bit more manipulation.  When that happens, you can gingerly use the tip of your scissors to take the paper off.  If you do this, just be extra careful not to cut through your fabric.

Arrange your "ready to iron" letters on the bib with the adhesive side down.

Press and lift your iron until the letters are "stuck" onto the fabric.  I usually hold the iron down for 2-3 seconds, then lift, then press again in a different spot, making sure I attend to all the letters.

Again, please check your adhesive's instructions if you're not sure about heat settings on your iron.

Now you should have a stack of bibs ready to be stitched.

Almost finished!

You can either leave the bibs as is or "finish" them with some thread.  If you do not have access to a sewing machine, you can use embroidery thread and a needle to stitch around the letters for extra durability.

If you are using your sewing machine, sew a straight stitch around the edges (and insides!) of all your letters.  If you haven't done this before, it's like tracing and takes some practice.  It can be a bit tricky, but it gets easier the more you do it.

I prefer white thread because I like the contrast.  However, if you use a different color, remember to use white thread on your bobbin so it blends well on the back side of the white bib.

And there you have it...ready to be gifted to someone special!


  1. These bibs are nice. I like the idea of cutting some letters because I think it's not boring. Great! This would be a very fun thing to do!

  2. I am so going to make some for my grandson!! (And the new bub due this November)


    Sam Ilsley

  3. Hi, Sam! Please let me know when you do...I'd love to see them!! Thanks for reading! :)

  4. Hi, very nice project, I wonder which font you've used

    1. Hi, Cleo. The fonts are "American Typewriter" and "Brady Bunch". Thanks for visiting and have fun creating! :)