How to Sew Burp Cloths

Kate Miller-Wilson
woman sewing with machine

If you're looking for a quick and easy baby project, consider making some burp cloths for the new mom in your life. Few baby items are as useful as these hard-working cloths.

Instructions for How to Sew Burp Cloths

Whether you're a novice seamstress or have been sewing all your life, you can make these simple burp cloths. As you shop for supplies, look for fabrics that are soft and absorbent. Terrycloth or 100 percent cotton flannel are both good options, since it's easy to launder these materials.

Things You'll Need

To make two 18- by 24-inch burp cloths, you'll need the following tools and supplies:

  • 1¼ yards of fabric
  • One package of colorful seam binding or narrow blanket binding
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric pencil
  • Pins
  • Iron and ironing board

What to Do

Expect to spend about an hour making two burp cloths. Read through these instructions before beginning, and then follow them step by step:

  1. Spread the fabric out in front of you, and measure out four 20- by 26-inch rectangles. Carefully cut them out. Set two of the rectangles aside.
  2. Take the remaining two rectangles, and place their right sides together. Line them up, and pin the edges.
  3. Use your sewing machine to sew a seam one inch from the edge around three sides of the rectangle. Leave one short side open.
  4. Remove the pins, and turn the burp cloth right side out. Use your iron to press the seams. Fold in the edges on the remaining side, and press them as well.
  5. Top stitch the remaining open side to close it.
  6. Pin the seam binding so that it covers all four edges of the burp cloth. When you get to a corner, take a small tuck in the seam binding to use up the excess fabric. Turn in the raw edges at both ends.
  7. Top stitch the seam binding to affix it to the edges of the burp cloth.
  8. Repeat steps 1 through 7 to create a second cloth.

Ideas for Embellishing Your Handmade Burp Cloths

The above instructions will help you make simple burp cloths, but it can be fun to add a little extra flair. Try these ideas to add some style to your burp cloths:

  • If your sewing machine does basic letter embroidery, monogram the cloths with the baby's initials or name. You could also write a special message or embroider the baby's birth date.
  • Instead of using pre-made seam binding, you could make your own out of a colorful, patterned fabric. Simply cut a long strip of the fabric about four inches wide, and use your iron to form it into seam binding.
  • Use pretty ribbon to make a stripe along one of the edges of the burp cloth. Simply top stitch the ribbon to the fabric before you sew the cloth together.
  • Purchase or make a cute appliqué to attach to the burp cloth. Popular motifs include ducks, teddy bears, baby bottles, and blocks.
  • If the baby is a girl, edge the burp cloths in lace. To do this, skip the seam binding in the directions above. Instead, pin lace into the seam joining the two rectangles. When you turn the cloths right side out, the lace will poke out from the seam.

Presenting Your Burp Cloths

If you're planning to present the burp cloths as a gift, tie several cloths together with a coordinating ribbon. Attach a small baby toy or pacifier to the ribbon, and slip a card underneath. This makes an affordable, useful, and heartfelt present that the new mom is sure to love.

How to Sew Burp Cloths