Saturday, March 31, 2012

Owl burp cloth tutorial

You know how when you're pregnant, you're not really supposed to say if you want a boy or a girl? The correct stance is: as long as the baby is healthy, I'll be happy. As a mom of a baby who was decidedly not healthy at birth, I get this, totally. That said, I'll admit: the first time I found out I was having a boy, I felt disappointed. I think to some degree, we ladies all want a baby girl, a daughter who will grow up and share things with us that boys just can't. I'm totally happy with the way things worked out for me with two adorable, sweet, smart little boys. But the wanting-a-girl thread is still in there something deeply buried. I know this because when I found out my sister-in-law is pregnant with a baby girl, I squealed and basically skipped around the room in excitement. A girl! A niece! My first. I'm so very excited. 

It's fun to make little girl things at the sewing machine. Here's my first project for my niece, due in May.
An owl appliqued burp cloth! I guess some people never use burp clothes because I suppose their children are perfect little creatures who never regurgitate anything. Mine were quite the opposite. I went through at least one a day. I suppose I hope it runs in the family!

For this project, first I cut three rectangles of fabric and sewed them together with about a quarter inch seam. Iron those seams flat and then fold the new long piece of fabric down the middle. I use another burp cloth I like as a pattern. I love burp clothes in this oversized bone shape. They fit on your shoulder well and cover a nice portion of your back, which is nice when the adorable baby really lets it fly. 

After getting the top done, I turned to the owl applique.

I freelanced a pattern by cutting and play with the pieces. For mine, you need an ovalish body, a smaller oval for the belly, a half-circle for the face, two oval-shaped eyes and the wings. I cut the shapes and then ironed them onto medium-weight interfacing and cut them out. The interfacing makes the applique process a little sturdier and also, I hope, will prevent from fraying of the ends.

First I sewed on the body around the edge with a straight-stitch. You could also use a zig-zag, but I went for straight stitch with everything on my owl. After the body, I sewed the face on top, overlapping the body slightly.

I then placed the wings and sewed them only along the inside edge. You'll sew the outside edge down when you attach the owl to the burp cloth. 


Finally, I sewed on the eyes. The left one looks better because I took it really really slowly, hand-cranking the stitches for the most part and rotating the fabric every two stitches.

Here's how our little owl looks ready to be appliqued on!

Then it's simple. Place Mr. Owl in the middle of the burp cloth and sew around him using an edge stitch. And the top is done!

I backed my cloth with white terry cloth. I used my top as the pattern, placed the two pieces right sides together and sewed, leaving a hole for turning on one end, with a quarter-inch seam. Turn right-side out, iron very well, and then top-stitch around, being sue to close your turning hole. And you're done. One cute owl burp cloth for one, I'm sure, very cute niece.


  1. Super cute! I love burp cloths that get smaller in the middle. She will love that.

  2. Hi Krista! The Owl is super cute. Love the black and white flowered fabric. It matches my nursing blanket and brings back such fond memories :)