Tuesday, September 2, 2008

how to make a nursing cover





My youngest is only two and a half, but lately I find myself saying, "Why didn't they have those when my kids were babies?" There are so many great baby products out there that I think I'll have to have another baby eventually just to have the chance to use them (let's hope my husband isn't reading this!). Case in point: the nursing cover. These simple aprons keep baby (and your chest) covered while you nurse. It's lightweight enough that baby doesn't get sweaty (like under a blanket), and with the neck strap, they can't yank it off and expose you to the world. Brilliant. Plus, a piece of boning gives you a view of the baby that nobody else gets. Double brilliant. And they're pretty simple to make, too.

Nursing Cover Tutorial

What you'll need:













* 1 yard fabric of your choice
*1" D rings
*12" boning
*8"x8" piece of soft fabric like flannel (optional)
*Cutting tools (scissors or rotary wheel, mat, ruler)
*Pins
*Wooden dowel

Okay, let's get started.

1. Cut a 35" x 30" piece from your fabric. This will be the main part of the cover. Set aside.

2. Cut a 4" wide strip along the length of the remaining fabric.













2. Fold the 4" piece in half lengthwise, right sides together, and pin.













3. Starting at the left-hand corner (fold side), sew a 1/4" seam diagonally until you come 1/4" from the side. Turn and continue down the rest of the length with a 1/4" seam.




















4. Using a long wooden dowel, turn the strip right-side out.



















5. Flatten strip with the seam down the middle and press flat, carefully forming a point.
















6. Starting at the wide (not pointed) end, topstitch a 1/4" seam around entire strip, up one side and down the other, turning at the top of the point. This will keep it from twisting when it's washed.



















7. Cut the strap into two pieces. The pointed end should be about 26" long. The other end should be about 8" long.



















8. Thread one end of 8" piece through both D rings. Fold end over 1/4" and press. Fold over another 1/4" and press.













9. Stitch the hem along the edge, then again closer to the D rings to keep them in place.



















10. Cut a triangular piece of flannel or terry cloth to fit one bottom corner. This will be used for mom to wipe baby's mouth after nursing, but it is totally optional.













11. Sew a tiny hem on the edge of the flannel that will be exposed.



















12. Position flannel in corner abouth 1/2" from each edge. Fold side edge over 1/2" and press. Fold over another 1/2", press, and pin.













13. Stitch side hem along outside of fold from top to bottom.


14. Repeat on opposite side, then along bottom. Leave the top unfinished.


























15. To attach straps, find the middle of the top edge and lay 12" piece of boning 1/2" from top with the boning bowing toward you (opposite of finished direction). Pin the straps to the ends of the boning with the long strap on the right and the shorter strap on the left (as pictured). I actually pushed the pins directly down into my ironing board for this step since it's hard to pin through boning and you're going to remove them in a moment.













16. Here's where it gets tricky. Leaving the straps in place, fold entire edge over 1/2" to cover the boning. Press seam.













17. Fold over 1/2" again, this time turning the boning, too. Now the boning should be bowing away from you. Press and secure with pins.















18. Sew along edge as you did the other sides. Then go back to where the straps connect and sew three sides of a rectangle to keep them flat.


19. Thread the long strap through the D rings. Clip any loose threads and you're done! If you like you can stitch decorative ribbon, ric rac, etc. along top or bottom edges to dress it up a bit.




















Here are some examples of other covers I've made. Sorry the photos aren't great--I just took quick pictures before I gave them away!




















P.S. For those of you friends and family who recognize the models, NO, this is not an announcement! :)

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80 Comments

80 Responses to “how to make a nursing cover”

Kayleen said...

FYI they had them around when my niece (who is about to turn 13) was born. One Step Ahead was truly that.

Sister Goldenhair said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I used one of these with my daughter and absolutely loved it. It's a great gift to be able to make and give.

Cortney Chambers said...

i've loved having this with my baby--you know when the doorbell suddenly rings and your other kids let the person even though you've told them a thousand times not to do that---the list goes on and on how this product can really save you!

also, thanks for the p.s, i got really excited there for a minute!

RachelH said...

I'm going to have to try making one of these...now that my daughter's getting the hang of using her hands she always grabs the blanket I use when I'm nursing in public.

Lindsey Ivie said...

Ha ha! I love that you posted a note about the models.

I think I want to start a craft group with my friends and use your projects because they are so cute and pretty easy to do. You are definitely ahead of the game ;)

Audrey said...

Yeah, I think it would be perfect for the older baby who tries to grab the blanket off! My baby is only 3 months old and I absolutely love my nursing cover! I'm lucky, Stacy actually made one for me!

Miranda said...

Cute baby gifts and easy to sew...my kind of craft. Thanks for the great tutorials.

laura said...

I soooo need one of these, and this is a great tutorial. Doesn't seem too hard... if I do all the cutting, maybe I can convince my mom to help me with this one too. :)
Worth a shot! Love, love, love all the step-by-step info you give. Thanks so much. laurachilton {at} hotmail {dot} com

michellejohnnie said...

I love this product. It makes a great, unique, useful gift. I especially love the green one in the tutorial. Thanks Mandy.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tutorial. I can't wait to make one for my baby. :)

Collins Family said...

I wish I had found the nursing shield with my first. Your tutorials are so thorough it makes me believe I could make this for all my friends who are in need! Thanks for the awesome job! Keep it up!

Nika said...

Where can you find the boning at?

Little Birdie Secrets said...

Nika, you can find it at Joann, Pacific Fabric, or Hancock fabric. I am not sure where you live, but a large fabric store should have it. It will be in the notions area near the elastic and velcro you purchase by the yard. Boning can be purchased by the yard and they cut it at the cutting counter. Hope this helps!

grace said...

Thank you so much for posting this tutorial! I made one this evening and it turned out great. Cannot wait to have another baby to use one of these! :)

Nathan and Toni Southam said...

This website is great. If you are taking suggestions, you should do a tutorial on how to make cute headers, like the one you have!

littlecumulus said...

This is so fantastic! I'm so excited to make one for myself & for baby showers & etc. I just discovered your blog today, and it is AMAZING! So many awesome tutorials -- thank you!

Froggie said...

I used your wonderful tutorial and made a nursing cover for my daughter. She loves it! Hereare the details. I will be making another one for her friend who is expecting her first child next week, also.

Tammy said...

I found your blog this week and made two nursing covers for friends! Thank you for the idea and the easy step-by-step directions!

Anonymous said...

If you're stuck without boning - you can actually cut up a gallon container (milk or OJ) and use that in its place.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this..i am expecting a little girl and want to try to nurse again and this will come in handy...Here's my first try at it Like one of the comments said I used the a piece of gallon container because I could not get any boning and it worked very well Look here!

Kelly-Anne said...

Thank you so much for the easy-to-follow tutorial! I few friends of mine have used these with their babies and we were always saying "I could make that!" All I needed was to find some easy directions and you've provided that! I just made one as a baby shower gift and it turned out great!

C.T. KNUDSEN said...

A few ideas that I found that I like to do to mine when I make them. I like to make them wider...that way I have a better coverage. Then in the upper corners I like to put a small weight that way I can throw the corners over my shoulder and they stay.

Josh & Meagan said...

What kind of fabric is best to use? I would love to make these for friends who are having babies.

Natalie said...

Can you tell me where you found your cute fabric?

Natalie said...

Love you blog! Thanks for sharing all your good ideas and talents! I have been wanting to make one of these nursing shields forever! Can you tell me where you got your cute fabric from? Love the brown and green florally one!

Crystal said...

Do you think doing a zig zag stitch would work okay? I love how the Zig Zag stitch looks.

I love how you make this! I love to sew so this is great to know!!

Little Birdie Secrets said...

Here are a few more answers to recent questions:

*We like quilting-weight fabric for our nursing covers. It's 100% cotton.

*The fabrics used for the bottom pictures in this tutorial are both from the Lotus line by Amy Butler. However, they are older so a little hard to come by. Here's a link to the brown one: http://quilthome.com/product_info.php/cPath/30_423/products_id/3230

And a link to the cherry one: http://quilthome.com/product_info.php/cPath/30_423/products_id/3264

At the time of this post they were both still available from QuiltHome.com. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

How well would these fit a larger woman with very large breasts?

iTCHY said...

I think it's really sad that women feel like they have to cover up, why do we feel that? it's so beautiful to breast feed, why can't we do it freely and in public and not feel comfortable????

the davidsons said...

Thank you so much for posting this tutorial, I had purchased a pattern, but your tutorial had better pictures and you explained things perfectly! Here's a link to the one I made, if you wanted to take a peek.
http://codymac.blogspot.com/2009/08/present-for-missy.html

Thanks again, Elisabeth

Renee said...

What a wonderful tutorial! Our middle daughter received one of these when she had her last baby and has loved it. When I found your blog with the instructions, I whipped one up for our youngest daughter who is due next month. So easy and it makes a very useful gift. I see more of them in my future. Thank you and all the other wonderful crafters who take the time to bless others with your tutorials!

dogmelissa said...

Just wondering if there seems to be a 'recommended' type of fabric? I've read comments on a similar pattern where the 'opening' would just fall flat against the chest and I'm wondering if a certain type of fabric would help with that. Like is something like cotton broadcloth ok or is something more 'stiff' required?
Thanks!

Little Birdie Secrets said...

Hi dogmelissa!

I think the cover laying flat may be a boning issue. If your boning doesn't hold up then it won't stick out enough for you to see your little one. I've seen some great covers made of home decor weight fabric. It would hurt to try those out if you find one you like. I think the key here would be to make sure you have stiff enough boning and it cut in the right amount. If it is too short it may not stick out enough. Too long may be a problem too. Also be sure that you sew your boning in so it doesn't turn when you wash it. If your boning turns the wrong way it will also cause your cover to fall flat on you.

Anonymous said...

My husband actually had a really great suggestion to modify this project slightly... his idea was to sew buttons on the inside of the cover up, and button holes on a washcloth instead of the flannel in the corner. That way, the cover up and the milk wiper could be washed separately!

Nicole said...

Thank you very much for sharing such a wonderful pattern! I have made 3 in the past few days (2 for myself and 1 for my doctor who just had a baby). I altered the pattern by adding a pocket in the front to store nursing pads, extra cloths, etc. I used upholstery fabric that is 100% cotton. It is very durable, stain resistant, and the patterns are beautiful! On the down side dry cleaning is recommended. I look forward to making more in the future for family and friends!

Chalyce said...

You showed me how to make one once and now I will be attempting to do it again.

Also, the car seat covers that drape over the car seat to keep the baby hidden/covered seem to be the big thing these days. I would be interested in making one of those if you had a tutorial.

Arielle C.E. said...

Thank you for this great pattern! I love the detailed way that you spell out the directions. I whipped one up in about an hour and it's just adorable! I think I'll make them for all my friends who are expecting, too.

Chalyce said...

Just a couple quick questions: when you flatten out the point to iron it how do you get it to go flat? Mine has extra material there so it won't. Also what can you do to keep the boning from becoming poky after you wash it. My boning is poking through the material. Is there some sore of fabric tape you can put on the ends?

MeganJ81 said...

I just made one - it turned out great! Thanks for the step-by-step instructions...just started sewing a couple of weeks ago, so details are super-helpful! I'm making another one tomorrow for my best friend. We're both due in March - first child for both and they're both boys - so I figure matching nursing covers are in order! Thanks again, I can't wait to make more stuff from this blog!

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Jacqueline said...

this tutorial is awesome! I was trying to figure out how to add the little thing so you can see the baby since my lacks this.. thanks!

Mandy said...

Yay! I made one for my cousin who just had a baby! She had never even heard of these! Here's the one I made: http://sewinginthesuburbs.blogspot.com/2010/01/nursing-cover.html

Shannon@One Crafty Mommy said...

You've been featured! http://1craftymommy.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-to-make-nursing-cover.html

Your favorite dressmaker said...

I am so glad I found this tutorial. It's one of the best ones I've found! I just made my first nursing cover for my son who is due March 31 and it looks fab! Thanks!

Glory said...

can i use a 1 1/4" d ring instead? I bought the wrong one.

Glory said...

actually i hv a 1 1/2" d ring...is that going to be fine? or will it be very loose?

Little Birdie Secrets said...

Hi Glory! It will not be a problem if you make your straps wider too. If you stick with our instructions they may slip. Just widen up the bands.

goobersbride said...

I know that this is an older posting, but I am new to the blog world. My questions is, does the boning make it harder to carry with you and fold into your diaper bag?

Little Birdie Secrets said...

I didn't think it was hard to fold up in a diaper bag. My cover took a lot of abuse and seemed to handle it well.

Cheng said...

I just made mine and it's so awesome! Thanks!

Jennifer said...

Thank you. This is a very timely post. I'm going to try to make one today.

maxinatorsmom said...

Thanks for the great pattern. I just made one and it turned out really nice. I plan to make another one for a friend. The directions were very easy to follow.

Jamie said...

If you just don't want to sew. You can purchase an awesome nursing cover at: [url=http://www.babytimenursingc over.com/]

Jess said...

I don't know if you are still answering questions about this tutorial, but I was wondering if the straps go on top of the boning, or after it. I just finished making mine, and it doesn't really stick out very much so I'm wondering if the straps are too close together since I sewed them on the top of the ends of the boning. Great tutorial by the way, I loved making this and being able to pick out the fabric I wanted!

Jess said...

I don't know if you are still answering questions about this tutorial, but I was wondering if the straps go on top of the boning, or after it. I just finished making mine, and it doesn't really stick out very much so I'm wondering if the straps are too close together since I sewed them on the top of the ends of the boning. Great tutorial by the way, I loved making this and being able to pick out the fabric I wanted!

Jess said...

please ignore my last comment. I moved the straps to the end of the boning and it bowed a lot better. thanks again for the tutorial.

Jenn said...

Thank you for this tutorial! I made one and it was VERY easy. You just saved me $$$

Hurricane Chelsea said...

I'm planning on adding an extra tie (ribbon, no D-rings on this one) about halfway down the cover so that if I'm nursing outside, or my baby gets antsy, that it's a little harder for things to be exposed! Thanks for the great tutorial. This seems really easy, even for me.

Mike and Shan said...

Thank you so much for sharing. You have a fantastic blog, I just found it through a search in yahoo!!! What wonderful ideas.

DianneF said...

Thank you so much for posting this! Your instructions are clear and look easy to follow. I just bought a beautiful linen fabric on clearance to make one with. Now I'm concerned that the fabric is too lightweight and will not stay over me. Do you recommend a heavier fabric?
Thanks :-)

Little Birdie Secrets said...

No, lightweight fabrics are great. I use a lightweight cotton quilting fabric, so your linen should be good. It's nice when they're light so baby doesn't get too warm!

shells bells said...

i just used your tutorial to make a cover last night for a christmas present. thank you so much for the easy to understand instructions and all the great pictures!

L said...

I just made this tonight for my son who will be born this February.
The instructions were perfect, it was simple to make, just took some time. (About 4 hours with room for distractions).

I made this with flannel triangles in all 4 corners. The top two were the recommended size in the instructions and I opted for use both corners to be used to wipe the babies mouth to avoid accidental exposure when dribbles occur while eating, because we breast feed on both sides.

The 2 triangles on the bottom I cut a little bigger, and I turned them into pockets for nursing pads. One for storing a few clean pads to change into after nursing and the other for the used nursing pads.

I sewed in velcro to keep the pockets closed to avoid the pads falling out because the bigger the pocket, the more flimsy their tops are.

I hope this was helpful!

Robyn said...

great tutorial! This took me no time at all, (maybe an hour total with distracting kids!) Looks just like the ones my friends have! I now have a new go-to shower gift, (5 feet of boning to use up!)

Allison said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial! I made one for my sister today! I also put it up on my blog and linked your site so others can also learn how to make it!
Thanks again!

Shayla said...

I've so VERY new to sewing and all and I am slightly confused on the straps and boning and how to fold it down? You pinned the straps into your ironing board but then folded down the entire top? so what pin it? Please help me with this part some.

Little Birdie Secrets said...

Shayla, I hope I can make the step of pinning the boning a little clearer! Because the boning is bowed, it doesn't like to stay in place--it flips over when you don't want it to. That's why I pinned everything down to the ironing board while I secured the hem and straps. Then I folded down a hem with the straps and boning inside. It's just tricky to do this while keeping the boning and straps in place. I think once you try it you'll see why I did it! :) Good luck!

nursemama said...

Just found this tutorial and made one for my sister, she's having her first baby in may! Your tutorial is awesome! I absolutely love it and can't wait to make more!

Elizabeth A. Banks said...

One variation I recently heard about and am going to try: rather than sewing the boning into the hem permanently, make a "pocket" that the boning can be inserted into and removed for washing. Use Velcro to secure the opening.

Home-sewer said...

I made this tonight out of a summer weight fabric. I used the PLASTIC MILK CARTON idea for boning - worked perfectly, not sure how it will wash. Great tutorial, thank you so much!

Allie (Learningtobefrugal.com) said...

This was a great pattern with clear directions. I enjoyed making the covers.

Here is a link to my post about making them (with pictures):

http://learningtobefrugal.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/sewing-nursing-covers/

Allie
Learningtobefrugal.com

JNH said...

What are the dimensions of the finished cover? I want to make sure there is enough to cover me (I am well rounded, especially on top) before I make it.
Thanks!

Ellen said...

Hi there --- thanks for the tutorial! I used it to make my first nursing cover!

Ellen
http://shimmerandtulle.blogspot.com/2011/10/milk-machine-uniform.html

sohorse said...

I made a nursing cover for my daughter-in- law. We bought 1 1/2yard of the fabric. I cut the straps off of one end. This gave her plenty of room for cover up and an active baby. She loved the bigger size and wider!
Sharon

sohorse said...

I had not thought of putting the flannel in the corners. I like that idea. thanks for the tutorial.
Sharon

Stevens Family said...

I couldn't find boning at my local craft store and I was too lazy to drive an hour to a fabric store. They had belting though. It's not quite as stiff but it seems to work so far! I have one someone made me with boning and it wasn't more than a few months before the boning was poking out so I was a little hesitant to get some anyway.

Elizabeth A. Banks said...

It does help if you round the ends of the boning.

figtreesundays said...

I just made this out of an old dress (all I bought was the boning - used snaps on hand to fasten the tie) so I can nurse at our upcoming family reunion. Thanks for the great tutorial! I am thinking I'll need to reinforce the ends where the boning is poky but that can wait till after our trip.

craftysewing said...

Thanks for the great tutorial! I sewed the straps to the shorter side and now I'm wondering if they were supposed to be sewn to the longer side instead so it's wider than it is tall. I've never nursed a child before so I'm wondering if in fact I should have done it the other way and if I leave it the way it is, if there won't be enough coverage on the sides. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Elizabeth A. Banks said...

craftysew: Yes, you need the straps on the long side.

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