Babymaking. Burp cloths and ribbon blankets…

Ha! You bumblebees, that title caught your eye, didn’t it, you nosy parkers! Before we get to today’s project I’d like you to pass on a message to your rose-eating bug friends. I have a bottle of bonide and I’m not afraid to use it. Stay. Away. From. My. Roses. That is all.

OK, down to business. I’ve finished project #1 in my outside-the-comfort-zone gift making bonanza that this June is shaping into. This is for the baby shower coming up in a week or two. Wow! The other day when I asked for suggestions you guys came THROUGH!! I have yet to go back and comment, but thanks for all the great ideas! You guys are all brilliant! After perusing your comments, my inclinations and the interwebs I decided to make a tabbed blanket as suggested by fellow Minneapolis blog-sisters, Two Birds. I liked the idea of playing with ribbon and we have some awesome cuddle fabric (like minki, different company, different name) at the shop. Since I like to overdo everything, once I got going I thought I’d make some coordinating burp cloths from cloth diapers as suggested by Angie – she even linked to a tutorial on her blog Quality Time! The tutorial is beautiful (with very cool packaging ideas!), but unfortunately for me was aimed a little too high for my small brain. There was a tiny assumption that one knew what a burp cloth was. Or what shape cloth diapers are (rectangles, btw.) Her beautiful photos didn’t really show any full length shots and since I’m baby-ignorant, I couldn’t quite figure out what to do. I found a similar tutorial on A Chelsea Morning aimed for the UBER-beginner that filled in the gaps and I was off!

I find taking photographs or large flat things (like quilts, blankets) exceedingly difficult, nevertheless, here’s some pictures!

Seriously, honeybees, looking at those colors makes me feel a bit high!

For those similarly baby-dumb (like me) a tabbed blanket (also found on the googles as ribbon blankets and sensory blankets) are not really blankets. They’re more like toys. They’re sold in sizes from 7” on up – 22” (the size I made) seemed on the large side, I suspect due to the prevailing width of fabric and the ability to make 2 blankets from 2/3 a yard of fabric. Anyway, they tend to be VERY soft on one side (minki) and pretty soft on the other (flannel) with ribbon loops (or some variation) around the edges. Supposedly, the texture of the ribbons is stimulating to babies and they’ll play and chew on them. I suspect the popularity of this blanket has less to do with the baby einstein-like effect on the teeny fingers groping the grosgrain and more to do with our own childlike love of ribbon. I know that’s why I chose the project – how often does one get to mix 11 different ribbons in one project??

And burp cloths? Apparently babies actually exude goo after they eat and for some reason must do it on your shoulder. This seems like some sort of arcane testing ritual hardwired into the baby by the higher powers to see if we REALLY like the little creatures. Nevertheless, burp cloths are slung over the shoulder as a landing spot for the goo. The ones I made utilize cloth diapers which are made out of a material that reminded me of cheesecloth, but much thicker. Very open weave. The middle 5 or 6 inches of the diapers (well, the size I got) is padded somehow. For those interested in doing a project like this, cloth diapers are in the baby section of Target (but not actually with the diapers – more with the tshirts and stuff.) In all honesty, I’m not convinced these are going to be super functional – they’re not that big. The ones I got are about 16.5” x 11” after a wash and dry. I’m not sure how far this post-feeding goo travels, but I figured that they’re absorbent and since babies are messy little things anything absorbent should be handy, right? OK. The Snug Bug’s current installment of babies for dummies is now over.

Alrighty, I snapped some photos along the way and while I won’t do a full-blown tutorial, I’ll do the abbreviated version for both projects! Grab a nice fat flower and settle down for a pollen snack while I share some more euphoria-inducing photos.

First off, I gathered my supplies. Wash and dry all your supplies prior to working on the project. I skipped that with the ribbon, but I use ribbon on a lot of wash-and-dry projects and haven’t noticed any excessive shrinking. You’ll see I have giant rick rack. I didn’t actually use the rick rack, but if I HAD used it, that should definitely be pre-treated for the burp cloths. It shrinks. I wasn’t as concerned about shrinkage on the tabbed blankie – who cares if the loops shrink?

Alright, let’s start out with the tabbed blanket, shall we?

The making of the tabbed blanket


  • Blanket dimensions: 21” square (finished), 22” square (unfinished)
  • Two coordinating fabrics – big enough to make your blanket. I used a Michael Miller turquoise polka dot flannel that I got at Treadle Yard Goods (available online here) and a cuddle fabric in a print from Shannon fabrics from Sewtropolis (available online here)
  • Ribbon – I looked at a lot of pictures and some of these blankets looked really, um, weird and wonky to me. Worthy of posting on Regretsy. The ones that I liked had more closely spaced ribbon and the ribbon was all in the same color family or otherwise harmonious (like, all red white and blue.) It also looked better when all the ribbons were around the same width – I didn’t follow that rule, though. To get a blanket with ribbon spaced like mine, plan on spacing the ribbon every 2” along each side. Each of my loops was 5” long. SO for my 22” blanket, I needed 11 different types of ribbon – 20” of each type (5” per side.) Most of my ribbon is the stuff they sell on the roll at Joanns (which I could have gotten MUCH cheaper at Walmart, had I been able to bring myself to shop there…) I also had some orange rick rack and cute ‘yardstick’ twill tape that I’ve been hoarding all winter.

The “pic-torial”

That was fun, wasn’t it?

My main tips for this sort of project are…

  • Pin. Lots.
  • Square up your fabric when you start. Square it again after the ribbons are basted on. Pin. Lots.
  • Arrange ribbons from dark to light.
  • Pin. Lots.

OK, let’s move on to the burp cloths.

The making of the burp cloths


  • Size: mine were a finished size of 16.5” x 11.5” From what I understand, cloth diapers vary greatly in size.
  • I made five burp cloths because that’s how many diapers came in the package I got. As I said above, the diapers came from Target – I think it was around $6.99 for my package of five.
  • Contrast fabric: you’ll need a strip that’s between five to seven inches wide by the length of the diaper + one inch for seam allowances. Mine were 7” wide by 17.5” long. For most diapers, you could probably get two strips from one fat quarter.
  • Ribbon – you’ll need around one yard of ribbon for each cloth. Technically, the length of your diaper + 1” for the seam allowance/fold times two. My diapers were 16.5” long, so I needed 17.5” x 2, for 35” per diaper.
  • Thread, of course! I had blue and orange and played with them to up the contrast.

The “Pic-torial”


  • Again, press and pin. That diaper cloth is sort of a bug-aboo.
  • I wrapped the ends of the ribbon around the contrast fabric (but not around the diaper!). The ribbons are centered on the edges of the contrast fabric so that one edge is completely over the contrast fabric and the other edge is just on the diaper.
  • Sew the edges of the ribbon covering the contrast fabric first, then the outer edges of the ribbons. Sew the ends last.


So there you are, my baby project! It was fun to do something different than my normal baby project of sweater and booties. Although, a customer at the shop told me about a washable cashmere yarn that has me excited for my NEXT baby project!!

If you have any questions on my sketchy how-to pictures, let me know. Otherwise, just enjoy the eyecandy honeybees! And thanks for all your help on this project!

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  • angie.a
    June 14, 2011

    Gorgeous gifts Patty! And yup, I sped through that tutorial and didn't take enough photos. Oops. Sorry! I was on my way to the baby shower when I wrote it up! ;)

  • Inder-ific
    June 9, 2011

    It's all true what they say, babies LOVE those ribbon tabs! Joe chewed on his so much (I made him a small one) that the ribbon tabs became frayed … it looked like a small dog had fun with it!!

    Wow, you seem like a GREAT person to invite to a baby shower. I'll keep that in mind. :-)

  • Tanit-Isis
    June 9, 2011

    Totally adorable (and a very lucky baby). Although… the title "babymaking" totally put me on the wrong track. ;)

  • Andrea
    June 9, 2011

    These are fabulous! Oh, the ribbons, the beautiful ribbons! This almost makes me wish I had a baby to shower with a bajillion ribboned and ric rac-ed things. Oh well, I guess that just means I'll have to make myself a skirt with ric-rac. :) Great job Patty!

  • Corrine
    June 9, 2011

    What fabulous colors. I must say I have never seen the tabbed blankets. I think they are very interesting, I am picturing those being dragged around by their loops. The fabric in the diapers is called "birds eye." It is surprisingly absorbent for the little goobers. Your hilarious babies for dummies riff should be a stage act. Loved it.

  • Alessa
    June 8, 2011

    Those are some really cool baby gifts. All those cute ribbons! :) I hope some of my friends will get to baby-making sometime soon, so I'll get to make some, too…

  • Sigrid
    June 8, 2011

    So cute. I need to do some unselfish sewing and you make these projects look fun. Ribbons ! Rick rack ! bright colors !

  • Lynneb
    June 8, 2011

    So cute, I think I would like to play with one!!!!

  • [patty the snug bug]
    June 8, 2011

    Two birds – thanks for the suggestion! It was totally up my ally!

  • [patty the snug bug]
    June 8, 2011

    hee hee – that's funny, because I'm eating a cinnamon roll and lucy the hound is drooling on MY screen! The color combo makes me drool, too.

    I had a real problem finding tutorials that were dumbed down enough for me! The sewing/mommy bloggers (rightly) assume that there's at least SOME knowledge present in the minds of the readers!!

  • two birds
    June 8, 2011

    amazing! that is way better than any other one i've ever seen! lucky baby!

  • sarajane
    June 8, 2011

    Hee.. thank you for the "baby stuff for dummies" explanation. I'm babyless and had no idea what the heck tab blankets were.. though I did know about the emissions of goo.

    As always, your color combos make me drool on my screen (much to the dismay of my co-workers).

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