How to Sew a Basic Terry Cloth Burp Cloth

I always hesitate to give handmade gifts. First off, there is no such thing as ‘just whipping up that quilt, burp cloth, pillow, etc…’  At least there is no ‘whipping up’ from me. These small gifts take time. Right now, in my phase of life, I absolutely love sewing and quilting. BUT, very selfishly, I don’t like spending time making something when I’m not absolutely sure the recipient is going to like it.

Do you know what I mean?

I love receiving handmade gifts. Truly, I do. They are usually extremely thoughtful. But it’s really hard for me to dedicate an hour or two of sewing up a gift to give to someone who really may not like patchwork.

One day I had a brilliant idea of making vintage sheet picnic blankets for wedding gifts. It was going to be my standard gift to the bride and groom. I would find a picnic basket to include in the gift as well. Cute, right?

But then I began to realize that was a LOT of time dedicated to making a gift they may not really even want. Not everyone loves old thrifted vintage sheets as much as I do. So I resorted, once again, to buying off a registry where the bride and groom actually choose what they want.

How to sew a basic burp cloth with terry cloth.

Alas, this last weekend, I sewed two homemade burp cloths. For a gift.

My husband asked if I wanted to make something small for his co-worker who just had a little new little baby girl. Instead of doing a basic burp cloth that takes just a few minutes, I decided to make patchwork burp cloths. Why? I’m still not sure. But I did. And I hope they are a blessing to this sweet family.

I took a few pictures as I went to show you how to make some very simple terry cloth burp cloths for your little one.

1. Choose a fabric for the top of the burp cloth. As you can see, I did mine with some simple 3 1/2 inch squares. My finished top measures approximately 12 inches by 15 inches.

If you decide not to use patchwork, I recommend finding a fabric with some sort of print where you can sew along some lines or a design.

How to sew a basic burp cloth with terry cloth.

2. Lay the fabric face down on top of your terry cloth. Smooth both fabrics out to get rid of the crinkles. Sporadically pin the two fabrics together and trim around the terry cloth.

I like to use a thick micro-fiber terry cloth. It’s definitely a bit more expensive than  the typical terry cloth, but I like using it for gifts. It’s the same terry cloth I used in the tutorial for these super absorbent jersey knit and terry cloth bibs.

How to sew a basic burp cloth with terry cloth.

3. Sew around the perimeter of the fabrics leaving a couple inches for a hole to turn the burp cloth right side out. I tend to leave a little excess terry cloth by the hole. I don’t trim it as short. It makes it easier to tuck in when sewing the hole shut.

How to sew a basic burp cloth with terry cloth.

4. Flip your burp cloths right side out, and tuck the little terry cloth tab inside.

How to sew a basic burp cloth with terry cloth.

5. Using one of two methods, minimally quilt the fabric and terry cloth together. Since my burp cloths were patchwork, I used the grid lines from the squares and sewed a quarter of an inch off each line. If your burp cloths are a solid panel, I advise tracing a line or design in the pattern with your sewing machine and doing a bit of quilting like this. It prevents the burp cloths from ballooning in the middle.

How to sew a basic burp cloth with terry cloth.

6. After sewing along the grid lines or your fabric pattern, then sew around the perimeter of the burp cloth. This will secure all the stitches you just sewed along the patchwork, and this will sew the small hole shut that you had originally left to flip the burp cloth right side out.

How to sew a basic burp cloth with terry cloth.

7. Be sure to trim all the little threads coming off the sides. This is a good way to go the extra mile to clean up your gift. Know that using small crafting scissors makes this task much easier than larger strong sewing scissors. I have this pair that my mom gifted me a couple years ago for Christmas.

How to sew a basic burp cloth with terry cloth.

8. That’s it, my friends. You’ve finished a simple burp cloth made from terry cloth.

How to sew a basic burp cloth with terry cloth.

If you are curious about any of the fabrics I used in this project, I list them all in this post.

Now. Leave me some of your thoughts on giving hand made gifts. Is it worth the risk? Will they like it?

How to sew a basic burp cloth with terry cloth.

8 thoughts on “How to Sew a Basic Terry Cloth Burp Cloth

  1. I’m in the same boat. I tend to make handmade gifts because I get such a good reaction when they’re opened. Whether they are used, that is on the recipient. It’s a gift, so I let it go. I’ve found even if something isn’t used, every time they look at it, they think of me and the care I put into the gift.

    I’m always looking for useful ways to use up scraps, so thanks for this post!

  2. I just love your blog!!

    So yes I make homemade gift also, but I make things that I love (otherwise I don’t have enthusiasm to make it). I made 3 baby quilts for gifts in one month… and I’m not talking whole cloth quilts, I’m talking patchwork quilted quilts, bigger than the average baby quilt. And with some pretty exspensive Art Gallery fabric. Spent full weekends making them. I was so excited to give them to the moms, but I got very little reaction/response from the moms, it was really disappointing. But I also wear my heart on my sleeve and very much and over giver. I take things very personal, so I am probably looking into it too much 😕.

    In hindsite while it is very disappointing, I still enjoyed the making process and I am sure I will continue to do so… as it feeds my need to create and make, I am sure the recipients just aren’t aware of just how much of a labor of love the quilts.

    I love making stuff… and even though it’s not always “oohh and aahhhed” over I’m sure I will keep giving handmade gifts. Even though a package of diapers/wipes and some onesies would be much quicker and easier 😊

    1. Hi Teri, thanks for your thoughts on the homemade gift giving dilemma. I appreciate your perspective that it’s okay to give a handmade gift that isn’t ‘oooohhh and aaahhheed’ over. The process and the thoughtfulness is still worth it. It’s a good challenge for me to not get too wrapped up in expecting everyone to love my homemade quilts. 🙂

  3. I know just what you mean by making hand-made gifts and wondering if the recipient will like it! I love making personalized baby bibs for new moms and have even seen some of the babies around town wearing them…makes me so happy! But my niece who has 2 littles received bibs from me and she never used them! She said they were “too cute”! What good is a bib if it isn’t used??? I love this patchwork burp cloth and will make them, even if I’m not sure if they’ll be used. They still make a great gift! Thank you!

    1. Hi Kathy, you give me encouragement to keep making hand made gifts! Good for you, too, for making the personalized bibs! So special. 🙂 I bet it’s fun seeing them around town on those sweet little ones.

      I’m always up for anything patchwork and hoping the new mom loves these burp cloths as much as I enjoyed making them!

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