Easy Appliqued Bib

Way back when, I went through a machine applique phase.  My children were young, and I appliqued simple designs on lots of things.  I think I used some coloring books for designs, and also an applique book or two.  Fusible web, satin stitching, and easy embellishments made for some very quick projects.  I actually burned out the foot control on my Kenmore machine with all that satin stitching!

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I made dozens of bibs for my children, and also as gifts.  These were so easy and soooo practical!  They are great, inexpensive, practical baby gifts.  Some of the bibs I made were used by both of my children, and both of my sister’s boys as well.  Little ones learning to feed themselves need bibs…



Somehow, I don’t seem to have any photos of these bibs that aren’t hidden by the high chair tray!  But after all, that’s what they were for.


This isn’t a great picture of the bib (although it’s a wonderful picture of the face 🙂 !)  But you can see how large and well-used it was.  This one had a turtle with a star on its shell, wearing a ball cap.

Here in a nutshell is how I made them:

  1. Start with a terry cloth hand towel.  New is good, but even used is fine.  The rough, texture-y kind of towel is better than the velvety kind.  Wash it to pre-shrink.  Cut off the hems and fringe.
  2. Choose fabric for the main bib fabric, pre-shrink, and cut to the same size as the  trimmed towel.
  3. Choose your applique shape.  Simpler is better.  Reverse the design, if it matters (monograms matter, turtles do not.)  Trace the shapes individually onto the paper side of lightweight paper-backed fusible web.
  4. Cut the shapes out, leaving 1/4″ or so around the edges.
  5. Iron the paper-backed web to the back of your desired applique fabrics.  Cut out the shapes on the traced lines.
  6. Remove the paper, position the shapes on the main bib fabric, and press to fuse.
  7. Place this upper layer right side up on top of the towel, and pin in place.  Satin stitch around all the applique edges.  Use a width of 2.5 – 3.0.  You want the applique edges to be very secure, because the bib will be washed and washed and washed!  The towel may provide enough stabilization that you don’t need any additional stabilizer.  If your stitches are tunneling, use lightweight stabilizer.  (If I were making these now, I’d use water-soluble stabilizer.  I don’t think there was such a thing when I was making the originals!)
  8. Trace around a bowl or small plate or circle template to round the corners of the bib and make a semi-circle for the neck.  Straight stitch or zigzag on these lines.
  9. Trim the outer and neck edges close to the straight stitching.
  10. Use purchased double-fold bias tape, or make your own, to bind the outer edges of the bib.
  11. Then bind the neck edge, leaving long enough tails of bias on each side to tie the bib around the child’s neck.
  12. Done!  Bring on the food!

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