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Tutorial: Upcycled wash clothes and burp rags.

Wash Cloths

At top of the list of things I needed to make for Pen was burp cloths. When Seb was a baby we had been given a bunch of paper thin flannel burp cloths. While they were nice to look at and I suppose they were better than using tissue paper, eventually we resorted to using receiving blankets folded over several times for baby burping. This time around I wanted something that could handle bodily fluids, looked attractive and did not require any folding. I loved the idea of making terry cloth back burp cloths because terry cloth was MADE to absorb things.

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Burp Cloths

You can easily find terry cloth by the yard online or at your local big name fabric store but I went the cheap green route and decided to see if I had any towels already at home that could use a new life. I’m not talking about threadbare towels that are barely clinging on. Towels do occasionally end up snagging on something or you may unfortunately ended up with a bleach spot or two on a colored towel.

Wash Cloths

Wash Cloths

After finishing the burp cloths I had a pile of left over terry cloth scraps. Not big enough for more burp cloths or any large project but I thought they were the perfect size for wash cloths. Not only was our house in needed of some upgraded wash cloths (ours had seen better days and were not particularly “high quality” to begin with) but it seemed to be a great use for scraps that a lot of people could find handy.


For both projects I used terry cloth for the backing and cotton fabric for the front. For the cotton fabric I used fat quarters for the burp cloths and vintage sheet scraps for the wash cloths. I also made use of a roll of 1/2″ natural colored cotton twill tape to make the loops with which to hang the wash cloths.

I also made use of my serger to finish the seams but you could just as well use a zigzag stitch on a regular machine. Cutting and then handling the raw terry cloth edges made a giant mess so I feel better about the durability of the cloths with a finished seam.

Depending on the thickness of the terry cloth that you are using you may want to use a heavy-duty needle and adjust your stitch length.  My terry cloth was not super bulky so after a test swatch I saw that I could get away with my regular setup.

 

Fabric Cut

Fabric Cut

 

The fun part about both projects is that you can easily size either to your own personal preferences or fudge the dimensions a bit to suit the fabric pieces you have on hand. For the burp cloths I pretty much cut the fat quarter in half after pre-washing and cleaning up the edges. After cutting I had rectangles approximately 9″x17″. The wash cloths I used similar “when in Rome” methods and ended up salvaging 6″x6″ squares from the scraps. Once your cotton fabric is cut you can cut the terry cloth pieces to whatever dimensions that were settled on for the cotton fabric.

 

Facing

Facing Pin

 

Lay down your terry cloth piece right side facing up and place on top one of your cotton fabric pieces right side facing down. At this point if you wish to add a little loop for hanging purposes fold back one of the corners and position the loop similar to what is in the photo. Keep in mind that you want it far enough away from the side seam where you do not accidentally get part of the loop trapped in the seam.

Amazingly enough I did NOT have that issue this time around but I’m no stranger to putting things too close to the edge…

 

Loops

 

For the loops I cut 4″ pieces from the twill tape. It seemed to give me enough of a loop that I could hang it from a variety of hook sizes. You could make it bigger if you wanted to be able to hang the wash cloth around something like the shower head.

 

Rounded Corners

 

If you want your cloths to have rounded corners you can use a round object to trace the shape and trim the edges accordingly.

 

Gap

 

Once you have your pieces pinned together sew around the edges with a 1/4″ seam leaving a 2″ or so piece not sewed. If you are a speed demon with the sewing pedal like me you may want to use pins to mark your stop point lest you sew the entire thing.

After finishing your edges, use the small gap that you left to flip your cloth right side out. Use some sort of object (I used a pair of scissors) to make sure that your corners are not tucked in.

 

Iron

 

Fold in the open seam and press the entire cloth with an iron.

 

Top Stitching

Top Stitching

 

After pressing, top stitch around the cloth. Making sure that the top stitching closes the open seam. You are now finished. Hooray!

 

Burp Cloth Stack

 

 

3 comments

      You are welcome! I hope you enjoy sewing up some burp cloths. Such a quick and fun project. 🙂

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