Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nursing Cover {Tutorial}

Want to make a trendy Nursing Cover?

Then, let's get started with my fee tutorial!

Makes a wonderful baby shower or New Mom gift for someone who plans on nursing their wee one.


I do hope you'll give it a try. I've used one myself and it's the perfect size to make nursing in public discreet. The boning at the neck allows only Mama to look down and see baby. Perfect!

Be prepared for an obscene number of photos. I tried to be very thorough. Should you have a question, any at all, just leave a comment and I'll answer you.

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I just made this one for a girlfriend of mine and thought it would be fun to document the process. You can find similar ones for about $35. But I'm not crazy about their fabric choices. And how fun to be able to use any of the gorgeous quilting fabrics out there these days. I made this one for about $20. I used some of Heather's freshcut fabrics from Jona's shop. My friend just had a boy, and I think these colors are perfect enough for him and yet it's still feminine enough for her to feel lovely wearing it in public too.

Here is one I made for another good friend, using Tanya's Ava Rose fabrics, also from Jona's shop. I blogged about it here.

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Now, let's get started!

Nursing Cover Tutorial
*FYI - I will write my instructions above the corresponding photos.

Supplies
2/3 yard of your main fabric (or 1 yard if you only use one print)
1/3 yard of contrasting fabric (or 1/6 for just the straps)
Matching thread
1/2 yard of 1/2" boning (you'll find it along the notions wall, in boxes, near the by-the-yard elastic)
Pair of 1" D-rings
12" square of minky*, chenille, or terrycloth for pocket (you can skip this)

*I buy my minky from Chenillemagic on eBay. They are local so I can just call in my order and pick it up the next day. love that! And it's the real stuff. Much softer (front and back) than what JoAnn carries.


Step 1 - Start by cutting two rectangles
I always prewash my fabrics to get rid of the preservatives they are manufactured with (it's nasty stuff). I iron it, fold it in half so the selvedge edges line up (taking pains to match the pattern as well) and use my rotary cutter to cut it out.

Main fabric - 34.5"W x 19.5"H (or 25"high if using just one fabric)
Accent strip on bottom - 34.5"W x 6.5"H
Note - You'll cut out the straps in a little bit.

(this photo shows them still folded in half)

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Step 2 - Sew them together*
Lay the bottom strip along the bottom edge of the main fabric, right sides together. Stitch them together with a 1/2" SA (seam allowance).

*Skip to step 3 if you are using just one fabric.

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Serge the seam, or you can use a zig zag stitch along the edge, with your regular machine.

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Press the seam up towards the top (main fabric) so it lays flat.

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You can then top stitch the seam or sew ribbon or ric rac along the seam. I chose ribbon this time. In the red/aqua cover-up ^ I sandwiched ric rac inside the seam. Do whatever strikes your fancy.

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Stitch along both edges of the ribbon. You don't need to heat seal the ends as they will be caught up in the side seams.

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Step 3 - Hem the bottom edge
Now you can hem the bottom edge. Just iron a crease at 1/2" and then fold it up another 1/2". You can certainly place pins along the fold for sewing, but I usually don't. I find that I can hold the fabric taught enough not to need the pins as long as I have a crisp edge.

If you'd like to add a little chenille pocket, don't hem it yet, skip to the next step first.

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I had to stop and wave at the little "lint roller" under my sewing chair.

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Step 4 - Adding a pocket
I cut a 12" square of cream colored minky dot from my stash. Then I cut it in half diagonally and serged the longest edge. If you don't have a serger, you could just fold that edge over twice and stitch it for a nice hem.

Lay this under your ironed seam so that it will be caught in it when sewn.

Before you sew the hem, go ahead and iron both side seams with a 1/2" seam allowance like you did for the bottom edge, in step 3. You'll notice in this photo I had forgotten to do this so my pocket isn't over far enough from the edge. I should have placed it a 1/2" in from the side seam so it doesn't make the side seam too thick. Yes, my seam ripper is my best friend. I don't know what I'd do without it them.

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Once your pocket is in place, sew the bottom hem and then both side hems.

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The pocket "as is" won't hold much without flapping open. So next, you will sew a 3 sided square on the pocket. You'll see that mine is a little crooked. I need to rip mine out and sew it again. To make it more exact, place a pin equidistant from the corner on both hems, for where the pocket corners should start and use that as a guide.

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You can't really tell that it's crooked from the top since my thread matches the fabric. I could have used cream thread in my bobbin, but I had a small window of opportunity to sew here and didn't stop to change it out.

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Step 5 - Assembling the straps
Long strap - cut 28.5"L x 5.5"W
Short strap - cut 10" L x 5.5"W

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Fold both straps in half lengthwise with right sides together. Iron them flat. Set aside the smaller strap. Working with the longer strap, at about 7" up from one end, draw a diagonal line* from the raw edge to the inside corner. I used a wash away fabric marking pen.

*You can save yourself some time and forgo the diagonal bit and just make it a rectangle. When right-side out, your seam will be on the side, instead of along the back center of the strap. The end will be a blunt 90*. But there's nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. If anyone tells you otherwise, just tell them I said it was OK. OK?

Here is where I really need to apologize for the quality of my photos. I should have removed my 50mm lens so the full length of the strap could be in focus. And I should have done this part during the day for better light.

In this photo, the folded edge is on the left and the raw/cut edges are on the right.

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Start sewing a 1/2" SA for those first 7" and then follow along the line you drew. Trim the SA, especially as you get near the smaller end.

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Press again so that the seam you just sewed is now open flat on top, down the middle.

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Now, turn it inside out. I ended up cutting 2" off of the skinny end because you can't turn it all the way out without cutting off some of it. Mine didn't end up in as small a point as I was going for, so maybe just 1" would have been enough.

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Set the longer strap aside and pick up the smaller strap. It should already be folded in half, pressed with right sides together. Sew a 1/2" seam along the 10" cut edge. Then press the seam flat, down the middle.

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Turn the small strap inside out and iron it flat with the seam running down the center.

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Next, you will want to edge-stitch both lengths of strap. This will help them from twisting and just getting all wonky on you later. I lined up the edge of my straps with the side of my presser foot, but looking at it now, I wish I had made the stitching closer to the edges like how I normally top-stitch.

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Now you need to fold your small strap in half and thread the two D-rings onto it. I emphasize two because the first time I made this, I got the entire cover finished before I realized I had only put one D-ring on the small strap. I recommend not making that mistake.

There are indeed two rings in this photo, they are just lined up so perfectly that you can't see the second one. Am I good or what!?!

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Go ahead and pin the raw edges together and baste-stitch it so it doesn't move around when sewing it into the seam later. You can also sew a straight line about 1/2" below the D-rings to keep them from sliding down the strap. I didn't bother because I find that I never unfasten my straps, so it always stays in place anyway.

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Step 6 - Boning Part I
Here is what it looks like when you bring it home. Don't be intimidated. It's really rather easy to work with. It does all the work for you. Now, if only it would do my laundry...

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I cut my boning to 16.5" in length. Curving the edges so they aren't sharp and end up cutting through the seam. Don't use your "fabric only" scissors to cut it or it may lead to a dull blade more quickly.

*My nail polish doesn't usually contain glitter, but the girls insisted I paint them with their Cinderella nail polish. Really. You can trust me. I wouldn't lie to you. My toes may or may not have glitter on them too.

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Set the boning aside and we'll pick it up again after the straps are attached.

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Step 7 - Attaching the straps
Fold the top edge down 1/2" and press. Then fold it down again 7/8" and press. You have just now made what will become the channel for the boning and the straps will also be secured in to this hem.

For measurement's sake, fold the top edge in half to find the middle mark. Put a pin there. Your boning is 16.5" in length. Place a pin in the hem, on either side of the middle, 8.25" out. At these two pins is where you will place the middle of your straps.

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Looking at the backside, I placed the long strap on the left and the short strap on the right. but it doesn't matter which way you do it.

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Now you can sew along the top hem like this. Being careful to sew close to the folded edge. You don't want to eat up the space that the boning needs to fit in to.

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Next, flip up the long strap and sew it down the middle, only the width of the top hem. You'll need to use your fingertips to feel where it ends, to signal you to stop sewing. This creates one end of the casing for the boning.

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It will look like this from the top.

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Step 8 - Boning Part II
Starting at the end closest to the short strap, start inserting the boning into the casing that the top-hem made. Push it all the way down to the middle of the long strap. It will stop at that line you sewed in the middle of the strap.

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TaDa! Sorry, that's a habit now.

It will look like this when it's all the way in there. I told you the boning does all the work.

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Now you need to close up the end of the casing so the boning is trapped in there. Sew another line down the middle of the short strap, along the top-hem. Just like you did on the long strap. You should find that the stitching leaves little wiggle room for the boning. That is good! You want it to be right up next to the boning, but not through it. You may find that your stitching may not be exactly down the middle of the second strap, but that's OK. Better to let it be off, then to allow too much room for the boning. This helps it bend out to it's best ability.

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Step 9 - Finishing up the top-hem
Your final stitching will be a very thin edge along the very top. This will keep the boning from twisting around in there and is the final step to securing the straps in place.

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Go ahead and attach your straps to each other.

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TaDa!
You are finished.
Give yourself a big pat on the back, you earned it.
Enjoy your new custom designed Nursing Cover-up and go make one for every nursing Mom you know. She'll think you are super-duper special. I know I do!

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*Fabrics used are from Heather Bailey's Freshcut collection (out of print).

28 comments:

jona said...

Wow Angel!!! What a great tutorial! I really love the minkee pocket idea and you make the boning look so easy (it's always intimidated me). I like all the pictures too (especially that little chubby lint roller)!

Angel said...

Thanks Jona! And so sweet of you to "tweet" it too. ;)

~Angel

bebe bobbin said...

this looks awesome... i was wondering how these are made! thanks for the tutorial... it would make a great baby gift!

micah and betsy said...

that was awesome! it inspired me to make one for my best friend! i'm excited for a new project! now i just need to find a cool fabric shop in denver...

randi said...

This is a fantastic tutorial! Very thorough, great pics and super cute nursing cover!

Randi

http://ihavetosay.typepad.com/

Jessica said...

SUPER CUTE!!! Love that aqua fabric! You make it seem so easy :) Great tutorial!

ickeshuchfamily said...

My sister just asked for a nursing cover, which I have made before. But I love the way you did yours. So she got a version of yours!! Just finished last night. Could I post a link on my blog?

Angel said...

Absolutely! And I'd love to see how yours turned out.

ickeshuchfamily said...

Angel,
Here is the post. My blog is new so I don't think I have many visitors. But I hope to one day. I hope I did you justice.
http://craftedbymama.blogspot.com/2010/02/tada-creations-nursing-cover-tutorial.html

Cazra said...

I love this! I will definitely be making one of these before August. I am 13 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child, and I would have loved one of these with my 1st. Thanks for the tutorial!

Angel said...

Cazra, Congratulations on Baby #2! You will LOVE having one of these covers! leave a link here when you finish it, I'd love to see it.

Cazra said...

Just a couple of questions....
1.) What is the pocket used for?
2.) I already have a 1/2 yard and 1/2 yard of coordinating fabrics. Do you see any problem with adjusting the pattern so that I can use the fabric I already have?

Angel said...

Cazra, you could store anything you need at your fingertips in that pocket. Maybe kleenex, lip balm, etc...

I think it totally work to use equal amounts of 2 fabrics and have the seam in the center. Anything goes here.

Can't wait to see yours!

Sridharan said...

Hi Angel,
May I know the brand of sewing machine you use ?I was looking for a basic one which can also do few embroidery stitches.Can you guide me on this?

Angel said...

I have a Singer 6416. It's 11 years old and is a noisy beast that's on it's last legs. We bought it from a dealer for about $160. My first Christmas present from my husband. There are 12 decorative stitches on it.

I would recommend buying one from a dealer so you have someone to go to with questions and service. Don't buy something off the shelf at Wal-Mart of the like. Bernina seems to be the leader in regular machines and BabyLock, the leader for sergers.

I'm looking forward to replacing mine soon.

Candace @ Candace Creations said...

great tutorial I love the fabrics you used! I just had a baby and want to make one of these!

Cazra said...

Angel, I finally made the nursing cover. You can check it out at my blog. Thanks for the tutorial!

Kim @ seven thirty three said...

Angel,

Thanks for a great tutorial! I made one for my SIL and she LOVED it.

You can check it out here:
http://733blog.blogspot.com/2010/07/do-you-need-hooter-hider_17.html

Amber said...

Thanks for the super tutorial! I just might have to try it. :)
Oh, and I love the glitter on your nails. I have two girls and beleive me that happens at my house too!

micah and betsy said...

ok, so i just finished making my eighth cover! i feel like i should pay you something! :)

Angel said...

Yay Betsy! You are a cover Queen!!!

I just made one for my cousin and had to follow my own tutorial, it's been so long. I skimped on the straps and just made them both rectangles with the seems on the sides to see the difference. Made it very bulky when flipping it up and top-stitching the last edge. even though it was a BIG time saver, I'll be sticking to the tute next time. LOL

Christopher said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial! I am a FTM and an avid sewer so I refused to pay $30-$40 dollars for a cover. Your pics were so helpful! I ended up making a cover that is SO much cuter than any I could have found in a store! THANK YOU!!

Jessica said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial! I am a FTM and an avid sewer so I refused to pay $30-$40 dollars for a cover. Your pics were so helpful! I ended up making a cover that is SO much cuter than any I could have found in a store! THANK YOU!!

Jessica said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial! I am a FTM and an avid sewer so I refused to pay $30-$40 dollars for a cover. Your pics were so helpful! I ended up making a cover that is SO much cuter than any I could have found in a store! THANK YOU!!

purnawan said...

Thanks for the ideas and information you provide, it really helped me in doing my job.

WOOD said...

Although there are many nursing cover tutorials out there, I was fortunate enough to choose yours! I already own two nursing covers that I bought from vendors but the one I just made following your instructions is the most comfortable!! Your strap is wider than most, and one might not think it makes a difference (I didn't) but as soon as I put it on, it felt much better than my others! I did shorten the boning to 14 inches though as I was pretty sure 16.5 would feel big to me. I like 14 and think I could have even gone 12 or 13 inches and been fine with that too.

WOOD said...

Great tutorial. I really like the width of the strap. You might not think it makes a big difference, but I already own two other nursing covers, an when I put on the one I just made with your directions, it was noticeably more comfortable!

FWIW, I shortened the boning to 14 inches and that was good for me. I think I could have even gone 12 or 13 inches and been fine with that too.

Mary Ellen said...

I'm having trouble finding 1/2 inch boning. Have been to/called several stores and can only find 1/4 inch in a fabric casing. Wondering if I should just go ahead and use that. Any suggestions?

Thanks for the tutorial... It is awesome and your sewing is beautiful!