Burp Rag Tutorial

Appliqued Burp Cloth

Appliqued Burp Rag

Nothing is better for a burp rag than a cloth diaper, but nobody wants to cart around something that looks like a cloth diaper. This tutorial is easy enough for beginning sewers, but is so adorable you’ll wear it on your shoulder with pride.

Atti and the burp rag

This is the last project I’m going to work up for my big shop update. Maybe. I think. We’ll see. But I always want to share how I make stuff with you guys because I rarely feel the need to make the same thing twice, so I might as well send an idea out into the world to see what it can make of itself. I learned the hard way a very long time ago that I am an idea person, not a craft fair person. After one year spent making hundreds of decorated matchboxes only to sit at a table and face rejection, I realized that that is no life for me. I’m grateful for those of you that can because I find it endlessly inspiring and I love to buy the stuff, but I never want to make 100 of anything again.

My! Don’t know where that came from. Anyhoo, point is…here’s another tutorial!

So a decorated diaper as a burp rag isn’t really anything new. You can find variations of them all over etsy, including some that have been dyed to try to take away that cloth diaper look. Maybe it’s just me, but the thought of using something meant to cover a bum to wipe a face seems a little bit off. Of course, nothing works better as a burp rag than a diaper, so we are left with quite a conundrum.

Once I finished Atti’s appliqued alphabet quilt, I kind of couldn’t stop myself. So I appliqued his initials on to a diaper, and shortly after that I came across Amy’s machine sewn binding tutorial, so I had to give that a try, and I think that between the two, they do a fine job of taking away that telltale diaper look.

I started by printing off my letters in the size and font I wanted, and then I used them to cut out a piece of fabric with fusible web ironed on to the back.
Appliqued Burp Rag Tutorial

I ironed those in place and then I machine appliqued them down with matching thread.
Appliqued Burp Rag Tutorial

Now, a word about machine applique. For the longest time I thought that you needed a fancy embroidery machine to get decent results, but that is so not true. I use a nice middle of the road Singer and when I’m on my game I can get results that look just like something mass produced with industrial machines.

For almost any fabric you’re going to need a stabilizer. A firm fabric to hold your actual fabric in place and prevent it from being pulled and puckered in every direction from the force of those stitches. This might be heresy to die hard machine embroiderers, but I usually just use a coffee filter I’ve ironed flat. They work fantastic for the simple machine work I do, and they’re wicked cheap. For this particular project, the diaper is so thick and heavy that I didn’t bother with a stabilizer at all.

The only trick is to get your machine settings right, so reading the manual can be helpful here.
Appliqued Burp Rag Tutorial

I have my machine set to a zigzag stitch with a fairly wide stitch width (this changes based on how wide you want your embroidery in proportion to your applique) and a fairly short stitch length. An applique stitch is really just a whole bunch of zigzag stitches squished really really close together.

Appliqued Burp Rag Tutorial
Then I just bound it with bias tape I made out of a coordinating fabric, using Amy’s tutorial.

Appliqued Burp Rags
I’m going to be selling these in groups of three with different coordinating fabrics, but for the ones I made for Atti I made six, each with different fonts and different letters. I used his initials, but the ones I’m making right now I’m using ‘abc,’ ‘123’ and ‘Baby.’ Of course, I’m open to custom orders so drop me a line if there’s a monogram you must have.

Atti and the burp rag
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