Bibs, bibs, bibs

I left work early last Wednesday to drive to my parent’s home. My sister B was visiting with her new baby E so it was a good opportunity to go home.

B had asked me if I could make some bandana bibs for E a few weeks ago. I let her choose a few knit fabrics from Fabric Worm since they sell by the half yard. Some of my friends have had babies in the past few months so I was able to trace out a pattern from a Matimati bib. I forgot to bring a compass – it’s handy for adding seam allowances – but marking every few inches a 1/2 inch seam allowance was easy enough, if more time-consuming.

A bandana bib is clever in that it looks stylish while being functional. I couldn’t figure out how the top layer formed a single pleat that adds a layer of protection against drooling without chafing a baby’s chin. The Matimati bib was made of soft jersey knit on top and a terry-cloth on the bottom, then serged. For the bottom of my bandana bibs, we used cotton flannel that I already owned.

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Matimati bandana bibs.

I wanted a cleaner look without the use of a serger  so after tracing and cutting the fabric, the right sides were put together and sewn with the wrong sides facing out. Leave a two inch gap along the side – don’t start it at the point of the bandana, start it after sewing an inch or two in – so I could pull it right-side out after trimming the seam allowances and notching the curves. Used= a knitting needle or pencil to poke out the bandana point and along all sides. Press, press, press; poking out the sides and pressing made the bibs look more clean and professional. Hand sew up the gap using a blind stitch. Then added resin snaps from Kam, after making sure they’re facing the right directions for snapping shut.

Mom’s sewing machine was an inexpensive Brother that disliked sewing two layers of different fabric. She didn’t own a walking foot, but I found that laying the bib jersey side down against the feed dogs helped immensely. Her sewing machine also disliked sewing smaller curves like the bib collars, so I would make two or three stitches using the handwheel, lift the presser foot and rotate the bib a few degrees, lower the presser foot and stitch two or three more using the handwheel. While it initially was a pain in the ass, it became a quick and relatively painless process after the second bib.

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Finished bibs using Birch organic jersey knit. Check out those clean curves.

We got two bibs out of each of the three half-yard pieces. It’s possible you can get three, but we wanted to capture the cuteness of the fabric, especially the animal panel one. B traced and cut the fabric, which is my least favorite part, and also applied the snaps. So it was a fun activity we were able to do together as sisters. It also probably helped in making her realize that she just can’t ask and have hand-made items appear like magic.

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E didn’t notice the new additions to his wardrobe.

Were I to do it again, I would add sheer interfacing to the jersey side instead of the flannel side. The stretchy properties of the jersey make me worry that the snaps will fall out. I had sewn a test bib entirely out of flannel for the friend whose bib I borrowed without it and it seemed fine. I like to think that my hand-made items will last a while.

I also knit a cardigan for E that I’ll share in the next post. It was a great visit home.

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