I love the simplicity and ease of pullover bibs. No ties, snaps, or Velcro to worry about, which means your little one can’t just yank it off on a whim.
A wonderful lady made this for my daughter when she was born a few years ago and it is by far my favorite bib. In fact, I continued using it with my youngest, who is a boy! I finally decided he needed a pullover bib of his very own that wasn’t quite so…well, girly. And of course these make great gifts as well!
Ready, set, go!
First, decide on the size and shape of your bib. I used the pink bib as my guide. The hardest part is figuring out how big to make the neck hole. You want it to be big enough to accommodate a growing head, of course, but you don’t want it to be too big. The diameter of the neck hole on my pattern is about 5 and 1/8 inches, to give you a frame of reference. It fits really nicely over my one-year-old’s head. The bib size is about 17” x 11”. I like to make them pretty large so that you get good coverage!
Cut your fabric pieces.
Next we are going to start working on the little collar. To make the collar, I used a knit ribbing. For this gray and white bib, I found a really lightweight knit ribbing-type fabric that was actually in the jersey fabric section. It was easy to work with. For the other bibs I’ve made, I used a regular knit ribbing (the kind you find around t-shirt collars) which was a little harder to work with because it had a lot more bulk, but I really liked how the collar looked with that heavier fabric.
*Update* – I’ve had a couple questions about the ribbing. Ribbing is stretchy fabric that has little grooves (or “ribs”) in it. It is sold off the bolt, just like other fabric. If you have a hard time finding it at your local fabric store, just ask! (I had to!)
Cut your ribbing into a 3-inch wide strip. Fold the strip in half lengthwise and press it. Got it? Good.
Take one of your fabric pieces and start pinning your ribbing around the neck hole like you see above. Pin it to the right side of the fabric and with the raw edges together.
IMPORTANT: Stretch your fabric out really well as you pin it around the circle. This will cause the fabric to pucker, and that’s okay!
You’re going to use a lot of pins!
Cut the ribbing strip off, making sure it is long enough to meet the other end.
Now you are going to start pinning your other fabric on top (right sides together). The ribbing around the neck is going to be sandwiched in the middle.
Make sure the necklines of both pieces of fabric are lined up. What I did was take small lengths of the neckline I’d already pinned on the first piece of fabric, stretch it out, take the pins out of that section and re-pin it so that all three pieces of fabric were then pinned together. This is a pain and feels a little redundant, but it was the way that worked best for me. In the end, your bib should look something like the above.
Now it’s time to sew. Use a long zig-zag stitch and stretch your fabric back out as you go. Go very, very slowly and make sure you’re getting all three layers sewn together.
When you’re done it will look something like this! The zig-zag stitch will have helped it retain a little of the stretch. I know it doesn’t look like much, but iron your seams and flip the fabric and…
Ta-da! It looks like a real bib! The best part? You’re done with the hardest part! The collar can be pretty tricky.
Technically, since this was a knit, I could have left this end un-sewn and it would have been fine, but I wanted to sew it anyway.
I just used a matching thread and it looked pretty nice. I did one stitch too far and it went onto the bib material. Oops! There is a way to make it so the seam is sewn shut from the inside (so you don’t have those outside stitches), but you have to stitch your knit ribbing into a continuous circle before you pin it, and that involves know exactly how much you need before you start pinning it. For the sake of simplicity, I decided to just do it this way with the stitching on the outside.
(Update: If you want that clean, professional look without the seam on the outside, you can read this post here.)
Now we’re onto the last step, which is finishing off the edges of your bib. The lady who gave us the pink bib did a really nice crocheted edge, which was super-cute, but also something I didn’t have time for. So I decided to just use the same ribbing fabric to make some trim to sew around the edge.
Take your ribbing fabric and cut it about two inches wide. Fold it in half lengthwise, and iron it. Unfold it so you can see the ironed crease. Then fold each half toward the center and press.
It will look like that. Lastly, fold your piece in lengthwise (again) so that the raw edges are now folded in the center.
If you have a bias-tape maker and are using a lightweight ribbing, you can use that to make it easier and quicker. A bias tape maker isn’t a necessity for this so don’t fret if you don’t have one (or if you don’t know what I’m talking about. I’ll tell you more about bias tape in a later post.)
Once your trim is ready to go, make sure your fabric pieces are evened up by trimming in uneven spots as necessary.
Start pinning your trim around the edge of your bib. Sandwich the fabric in the middle of the trim and then fold the trim over the top and bottom. Make sure to stretch the trim as you go. It doesn’t need to be stretched as much as it did with the collar, but stretch it a bit.
This part should be done carefully. It isn’t particularly hard but you want to make sure two things happen: First, make sure both pieces of fabric are sandwiched between the top and bottom of the trim. Secondly, try and make sure the trim is folded equally over the top and bottom layers of fabric. What I mean is that you don’t want the trim to be 3/4 inch on one side and only 1/4 on the other. If that happens, there’s a good chance you won’t get the trim sewn on both sides. Ask me how I know about both these issues.
When you’re done, it will look something like that.
Using a straight stitch, sew very, very carefully over the trim. Try to make your stitch straight and ensure that all the layers are getting sewn in (two layers of trim and the two pieces of fabric in the middle). If you find that the trim is starting to pucker a bit (you can see it happening above right in front of the presser foot), just pull it gently to make sure it stays taut. Don’t sew over the pucker. If you keep smoothing the pucker out, you might end up with a little extra trim at the very end, but that’s okay.
Once you’ve sewn all the way around, you can sew those ends up if you like.
And guess what? You’re done! You now have a pullover bib that is both functional and cute.
How about pairing it with a matching burp cloth?
Now you’re ready to give it to a friend, or use it for your own sweet babe. Enjoy!
I’m linking this post to a link party over at Sew Many Ways. Hop on over and join the fun!