So last Christmas, I begged my husband (the Coach) for a sewing machine.  I wanted one so badly, so that I could be all crafty and domestic in my all of my excessive amounts of free time.  He balked.  He thought it was a trick, and referenced the well-known Husband Rule #1: “Thou shalt not gift her with a blender, vacuum, iron, steam mop, or any other appliance that would suggest she is a happy little homemaker.”  Please note that all of these links go directly to the items on my current Amazon wish list.  You know you want that Dyson, baby.

But I persisted, shopped online, read reviews, asked around, and decided that the Brother sewing machines were good starters.  I selected the most basic machine and figured that I’d give it a try, and learn from there.  But then Cyber Monday happened.  And I found this baby for like, 400% off.  And free shipping.  SOLD.  I ordered it for myself.  From Santa.  Thanks, babe.

It turns out, the Coach was right: I don’t have as much free time as I’d imagined, and my sewing machine stays in the corner more than I’d like.  In the last 10 months, it only appeared to make the girls’ Fourth of July dresses.  But then came my sister-in-law’s baby shower.  I really wanted to make her something because, to me, my most favorite things from my showers were gifts people had made just for my baby.

So I went to Pinterest and decided on custom burp cloths.  This tutorial, in particular.  Pinterest is full of tutorials and DIY baby projects and links to Etsy girls who will make these for you, but here’s my method.

First, get a pack of white, pre-fold cloth diapers, some fabric, some washable grosgrain ribbon, and gather your sewing supplies.  You don’t need a lot of fabric, I’ve gotten remnants and scraps that work just fine.  Wash (with a second rinse) and iron the diapers and your fabric.  Lay it all out.  Fill up your wine glass.  Empty it.  Fill it up again.  Now you’re ready to start.

Next, make yourself a little cardboard pattern. You’ll want to use cardboard and not paper so that you can use the pattern to help with folds and creases.  Cardboard will withstand the heat from the iron and the pulling/tugging that goes with shaping the fabric.  I cut a piece of cardboard the width of the burp cloths and a length that was about a third of the length (about 10” wide x 5” high).  Giving yourself a good half-inch extra on all sides, cut your fabric using the cardboard pattern as a guide.  Set your fabric right-side down on your ironing board and place the pattern on top.  Fold the extra fabric up around the cardboard on all four sides and press all around, making your perfect creases to the exact dimensions of your pattern.  You may have to negotiate with the corners and do a little trimming.  I’m sure there’s a better way to handle corners, and I will ask my Grammy for next time.

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Then, place your fabric (edges folded & pressed under) on top of your burp cloth right-side up, and pin all the way around.  Top-stitch the fabric to the burp cloth.  Don’t screw up the corners like I did.  Press the sewn burp cloth again.  You’re probably ready for some more wine.

Finally, pin the ribbon to the burp cloth and top-stitch in place.  Make them look pretty and you’re good to go.  Hopefully the pictures make the process look as simple as it was.  Seriously, once you cut the pattern and your fabric – it took me less than an hour to make 6 of these.  And I’m totally a beginner.  It’s a great starter project!

What have you learned from Pinterest?  Any new crafty talents?  Any suggestions for what I should tackle next?


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Also a transplant to New Jersey and Mercer County, Merritt McGlynn is walking a tightrope between career woman and devoted mother: hanging on for dear life with her dishpan hands. Merritt is a mom to two of the most adorable children in Jersey: a darling and spunky 4-year-old and a certifiably insane but heart-melting almost-3-year-old. Married to the always-working "Coach", Merritt tries to maintain some appearance of a work-life balance, and often finds that the scales are usually tipped in one direction or the other - but she’s still trying! In her spare time, if she ever gets any, Merritt would like to read books, travel with her husband, drink margaritas on the deck, and one day, if she’s really lucky, enjoy a phone conversation without interruptions. For now, she’ll settle for 20 minutes of an Audrey Hepburn movie and a diet coke.


  1. Your craftiness never fails to impress! Not sure how you got allll of the creative genes and I got zero. You’d think they could have gone halfsies or something. I would have settled for 70/30. Also…I have a baby that pukes a lot… could really us some pretty burp cloths… just sayin’….

    • Yours are all cut and ready to be sewed!! Chambray, chevron, PSU, & more!! Hopefully I can get to them this weekend. I think he might get a custom onesie too. Because he’s my favorite baby.

      And while I may have wone the crafty genes, you are perfectly dressed and very rarely wear kakhi pants. So really, you’re the winner.

    • Thanks!! I’ve scoured Pinterest and have so many sewing ideas. Your DIY method is much better 😉 I’m still working on it. I’m dying to do the matching onesies. Hopefully my little nephew (see above comment re: pukey baby) stays little for the next week or two so that I can get his finished.