Before we start today I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to one of my favorite readers. Kate works crazy hard, and just bought a house with her hubby, so she might not get this for a few days, but Happy Birthday darlin! Can’t wait to see you guys and the new place soon!
Today’s post is mostly going to appeal to my readers who are pregnant, new moms or friends with the former two. Single guys? If you really want a nursing cover…well…I’m just not entirely sure what to say. Read on I guess?
There are a lot of different options available for purchase if you want to just buy a nursing cover, but they tend to be expensive, and you can’t be guaranteed you’ll find a fabric you like. By making your own you can find the perfect fabric and control your costs. Plus, it’s easy!
Here’s what you need:
3/4 yd 45″ or wider fabric (I recommend cotton)
18″ plastic boning (with casing or without)
First off, I’m recommending cotton because when I made my own (not the one that is shown) I didn’t use cotton. I had a pretty equestrian themed plaid polyester that I hadn’t put to use for anything else and I thought it would be perfect. Well, it would have been perfect, if I hadn’t nursed G through a long, very warm summer. Polyester doesn’t breathe. We were both sweating, and let me say before you even have to ask, if your baby gets too warm under there, they WILL swipe the blanket off from on top of themselves and all the sudden your cover stops doing its job. Do yourself a favor and use something breathable.
The first step to making your cover is to cut the fabric for your neck strap. Ok, wait a minute, we are working with cotton, so the very first step is to wash your fabric. Once it’s washed though, the first step is to cut a strip around 2″ wide (wider is ok, narrower isn’t so hot) from the bottom of your fabric. When I say the bottom, I mean along the 45″ (or wider) edge that they cut at the fabric store, not the selvage. Fold the whole thing in half (hotdog) with right sides together and sew into a long skinny tube. Turn the tube right side out, press it flat and set it aside.
Next, finish 3 of your 4 edges, leaving one of your long (45″ or more) sides unfinished. I typically run mine through the serger, fold them under once and then stitch them down. If you don’t have a serger, fold the edges over on themselves twice before stitching.
Working with our neck strap again, start by cutting around 7 inches off of one end. The exact measurement of this strap doesn’t matter, but if you’re going to fudge it, go longer rather than shorter. You’re going to fold this strap in half and put it into the neckline seam, which means around 2″ of each side of the strap will be used inside of the cover, leaving only around 1.5″ of a 7″ strap above the top edge. I’ll get more into how all the folding in is going to work in a minute, but for now, just cut the strap, fold it in half with the two D-rings in the crease and run a line of stitching as close to the rings as possible. I find that using a zipper foot for this process helps immensely.
Set your strap pieces aside and fold your main piece in half (hamburger). Mark the center point on your unfinished edge. Now fold your boning in half. Don’t crease it, but get a general idea of the middle. Line the middle of your boning up with the center of your unfinished fabric edge, the boning ends should be bowing up towards you with the center down on the wrong side of the fabric. Here comes the only tricky part. Fold your fabric edge down an inch. Flip your boning over with it, so it is now shaped like an arch with the ends on the ground and the center bowing up. Fold the whole thing over another inch. Your boning should be back to arching into the table with the ends in the air and you will have formed a casing around it. Using your fingers, skootch the boning to the top edge line (inside the pocket you just made). Trap it there by pinning the pocket down with your pins going into the fabric on the bottom edge and coming out directly below the boning.
At each end of the boning (approximately 9″ from the center on either side) you are going to attach your straps. Tuck the end of the strap under the folded pocket you created for the boning and pin it into place. Don’t worry that the strap without the D-rings is really long, we’ll adjust it later.
Stitch along the bottom edge of the pocket you’ve created to seal it shut. Make sure when you come to the straps that they are folded up towards the neckline that we are currently finishing. You should be sewing through the straps two times at once (one part folded under the pocket, one on top) while you do this. When your bottom seam is sealed, push your boning as tightly against the line of stitching you just created as possible and repeat the process along the top edge. This makes a narrower pocket for the boning and makes for a more finished look. Finally, stitch vertical lines along the edges of your straps in between the two seams to create a square of stitching securing your strap to the cover. This re-enforces the strap and traps the boning so it can’t shift within the pocket.
Finally, shorten the strap without the D-rings. I’ve found that the best way to determine the appropriate length is to put the cover on, thread the strap through the D-rings and then leave 5-6″ of tail beyond where you have threaded them. You may have to remove almost of foot of extra fabric!
When your cover is on and tightened properly, the straps should pull the boning into an arch that will hold the fabric away from your neck. This will allow you to see your child while you nurse, without other people seeing what’s going on.
If you happen to be making a cover for a shower gift, please keep in mind when you’re making your fabric choices that this is for the mom. Sweet pink pastels and baby blues may be darling for her little bundle of joy, but the idea of a nursing cover is to blend in while taking care of feeding your little one. Unless your mom-to-be is the kind who loves to be the center of attention, stick to neutrals in simple, elegant, scarf-like patterns (geomet
rics are great) and that will work with her normal outfits.
As always, if you have any questions or specific sewing tricks or tips you’d like to have explained, leave me a message or send me an email. And please! Like me on Facebook
to get a sneak-peek of what I’m doing for the next few posts or to chat with me.