Friday, August 16, 2013

Nursing Cover Tutorial (the most useful and easiest sewing project EVER!!!)

I have gotten countless questions about my favorite nursing cover and the original instructions I followed were pretty confusing.  I had to read through maybe 50 comments before I found clarity... so I'm hoping to improve upon that a little bit right here.

The thing that makes this cover so glorious is how it covers Mama on all sides (a lot like a poncho).  I have seriously been able to feed my baby in all kinds of settings thanks to this wonderful cover and the way it covers my back, sides, and front so well.  It's made of jersey or another similar knit material that has plenty of stretch and doesn't fray, so it doesn't need to be hemmed on all sides either.  It's so simple, I'm positive you could sew it without a sewing machine.

Most jersey material is 60 inches wide on the bolt, so you just have it cut anywhere from 30-36 inches. *  As long as it was cut fairly straight, you don't even need to cut it at home, unless the selvage is really noticeable.  If it is, I'd trim that off.  I've found maybe half of the fabrics I have used for this need the selvage trimmed off and the others were completely unnoticeable.  

Here is the entire piece of fabric laid out on the floor.

Now fold it in half "hamburger style" placing right sides together* creating more of a square of fabric.  (The fold is along the bottom of the fabric in the photo below and no, I did not smooth it all out to make it look nice and square.  Whoops. :) )

Starting at the fold (on either side) measure along the unfolded side towards the open corner anywhere between 13-15 inches and pin the two layers together right there.*  (Fold is on the left and my pin is barely visible right there barely to the left of center.)

Now that you have the magic spot pinned, you are ready to start sewing.  You are going to sew ONLY ONE LINE between the pin and the corner that is not the fold.  I start from the outside (the not folded corner) moving toward the pin so the edges line up exactly with less effort.  You can see in the picture below that the fabric where I am beginning to sew is two loose corners NOT folded on either side.

And just sew a straight line until you reach your pin, using about a half inch seam allowance.  Make sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of your seam so nothing comes unravelled with use.

This next step is totally optional.  I do a little zig zag stitch to finish it off but have also just sewn one straight line and left it like that.  Both ways totally work.  You could also use a serger for this and only have to sew one time and it would be all "finished off" but I don't have one of those!!

And seriously, you're done!  
Just flip it right side out and put it on like a poncho.  
The sewn seam will lay along one arm and the fold will lay along the other.  
And you're done.  :)

This picture is showing you the seam is, in fact, laying along my right arm.


I'm 5'3" with a moderate frame and I feel like 30" was plenty big for me.  Some of my friends that are rather busty or taller than me have appreciated it cut closer to 36".  I'm sure if you were really wanting to you could cut it even wider, but it would be less square and I don't know if I would love that.

"Right sides together" means the printed or pretty side of the fabric will be touching each other once it is folded.

If your fabric has a print that would make your cover appear to be worn upside down, BEFORE YOU PIN you will need to pay closer attention to which side will be "up" while worn.  The side with the pin is the top of the nursing cover.

I prefer my neck opening at 14" although I never would have differed from 13" had someone not mentioned they felt a little constricted with such a small neck hole.  The more this cover gets used the fabric will stretch out a little bit more, so the hole could feel a little wide after a while, but that's totally easy to adjust down the road.  You just sew the hole closed another inch or so.

An additional note about fabric choice:
There are so many options out there for darling jersey fabric, but I've found I get a little gun shy about buying material for this nursing cover without feeling it with my own two hands.  If it's too thick, poor baby will just sweat like crazy under that little layer of fabric.  I've decided my favorite is one that is somewhat sheer when held up to light, but when it is right against your hand nothing is really visible.  That way I know it will breathe a little better and let air flow easily past baby's cute little face without being revealing. (Hello!!! We don't want anyone to see what is going on under there... hence, the nursing cover.)  The first time I made one I ordered four different fabrics.  One for me and the others for gifts.  Two of the four were pretty thick and one was super sheer... now whenever I'm at a fabric store, I check out the aisle for jersey and similar "spandex-y" fabric to keep in my stash for new baby gifts.  I've learned the hard way that I can't always find the perfect fabric and was very sad to have to give another type of gift when the big fabric store in my area was overwhelmed by thick, warm jersey.

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