The Best Burp Cloths

Warning: Lots of blahdeeblahdeeblah in this post. Anti-readers should go elsewhere. BUT! There’s a tutorial at the end of it all if you can make it that far!

When my sewing career started up again post-college with the purchase of a cheap Singer online (which is now completely worthless, a discussion for another time, another post), I began making baby gifts for friends. That seemed to be the time when everyone around me was beginning to procreate. I myself had just begun to date my high school boyfriend for the second-time-around (who later became Mr Rae) and was nowhere near thinking about procreation or marriage at that point. Nevertheless I found baby gifts to be the perfect sewing project as I started to relearn the sewing skills that had been abandoned in my youth. One of the first things I made was a burp cloth for a friend’s baby which later received rave reviews both for its attractiveness and functionality. Later when I had my own children I made loads of these and found them to be one of the most useful items those first few months. I reached for them before the birdseye diapers because they were cuter, and before the commercial multipack ones because well those are just plain worthless. I’ve seen many types of handmade burp cloths, but I like the way these really show off the fabric you choose.

Last weekend my sister-in-law had a shower for her soon-to-be-expected baby boy, so I put together a stack on the suggestion of my other sister-in-law who had also found them invaluable. Just a couple of hours of sewing and I had a handmade, adorable gift. This is a great beginner project especially if you need to make a baby boy gift which can be harder to come up with at the drop of a hat (and by the way bibs are almost as easy and just as useful too!)

The front sides of the four burp cloths shown above are made with super-soft single layer gauze that I ordered from Spoonflower (a digital fabric print-on-demand website). One of the things I love about Spoonflower is that you can have your fabric printed on many different kinds of fabric. This particular set of designs is from a limited edition collection designed by Heather Ross exclusively for Spoonflower called Macaroni Love Story which is no longer available, but you can order her current Spoonflower collection here which is equally cute. Otherwise, just look around for a few minutes and you’ll be sure to find a design by someone that suits you!

Now a note about this “gauze.” It’s actually not called “gauze” by the Spoonflower folks, it’s called “voile,” and I must freely admit to you that I was downright miffed last winter when it arrived on my doorstep bearing almost no resemblance whatsoever to the material called “voile” that has become popular of late (first by Anna Maria Horner and now by many other fabric designers), meaning I wasn’t going to be able to use it for its original intended purpose. In fact I still feel it is a wee bit deceptive to call it “voile” considering the other voiles on the market, although I’m sure it technically qualifies as a voile by weight. If I were running things over at Spoonflower (which, obviously, I am not) I would call this a “single layer gauze” so that is what I am calling it in this post*.

Regardless of what you want to call it (and whether or not you think it’s worth getting grumpy about, ummmm), it absolutely makes the BEST material for burp clothes. One fat quarter would make two burp clothes, but a full yard would make four (EIGHT! Thanks Susan for that correction. I used to teach math…wow, how did that happen?) at a better price. If you ordered a full yard and hemmed it you’d have a perfect summer baby blanket very similar to the other gauzy muslin ones that seem to be popping up all over the place lately. And if the price tag seems high to you, think about this: you are paying for the ability to print a specific design (including your own) on demand. That’s been unheard of until very recently.

*Please don’t get me wrong: I think Spoonflower is great. Stephen and the gang have been nothing but wonderful since the start and my attempts with other fabric-on-demand websites have proven that they really have a good thing going on here. I would love to talk more about designing fabric prints and ordering digital fabric on demand, but again that’s another post, for another time.

Another material that is more readily available that is great for this project is regular quilting cotton. You might think it wouldn’t be absorbant enough, but you’d be wrong. It’s a little heavier but works just as well, and how many great boy prints are out there right now that would be fantastic here? You can go as crazy as you want, because it’s just a burp cloth, right? The back side of this burp cloth is knit jersey, which I usually cut from an old t-shirt. I also use chenille or minky for the back, but if you’re not quite ready to sew with knits, flannel or terry cloth would work just fine. I think you’ll find though that sewing with knit fabric is really easy for this project.

cutting knit from t-shirts for this is so easy!
just place the top rectangle right over the t-shirt and cut!

While I know that many of you could probably figure out how to put two rectangles of fabric together to make a burp cloth, just in case it helps you to have a picture step-by-step I’ve put together quick tutorial!

This blog is proudly sponsored by

Voila! Burp cloths! So easy.

If you’re just joining us, this post is part of the Celebrate the SUMMER Boy series. You can go here to see all of the posts in on place.

And just in case you’ve missed what Dana has been up to this week:

First up on Monday was this fantastic tutorial on upcycling thrifted men’s trunks into kids trunks. Wow, don’t these look great?

And yesterday she talked about fabric selection in a FANTASTIC post about choosing fabric for boys!

And today? Racer Shorts!!!

15 thoughts on “The Best Burp Cloths

  1. Just stumbled across your site recently and my SIL is having a new baby soon. I whipped up a dozen of these with my new Singer that has an embroidery computer onboard. Did a cute little design on the edge and they look awesome. Thank you for the info. I’m gonna try some of the other projects you have listed here soon!

    • Hi Kathy!

      Yes, there’s two examples shown in this post — the pastel ones are made with the gauze/voile, but the burp cloths in the brighter colors are all made with “off-the-shelf” quilter’s cotton and old t-shirts.

      Have fun!

  2. I definitely need to make some of these. My baby is 2 months old and I feel bad handing him to people because he keeps spitting up all over them. Receiving blankets just aren’t thick enough!

  3. Do you do two layers for each side or just one? I did two for the gauze and one for the design….but yours look a lot thicker than mine…

    • Hi Alexis:
      I usually use a t-shirt on one side (jersey), and the gauze (which has the design on it) on the other side. They’re not super thick unless you use something like chenille or terry on the back side. :)

  4. Great tutorial and pics, thank you! I have other burp cloth templates but this one is a keeper, much more simple and your choice of fabrics is adorable. Thank you a million!

  5. Hi Rae- Do you think ribbed knit will work well on the backsides of the burp cloths? A friend gave me a huge box full of ribbed knit pieces and I’m trying to find something useful to make with them. Thanks

  6. I simply could not go away your website before suggesting that I really loved the usual information an individual supply on your visitors? Is gonna be back regularly in order to check out new posts

  7. I can use any kind of fabric for making these burbs cloths.
    can I also use batting for the inside of the two fabric??
    I would like to try your pattern. never made burbs cloths before.
    I always just put cloth diaper over my shoulder when my kids were just babies. like 40 years ago lol
    they are pretty and it lots easy

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