Bandana bib tutorial

Make your own bandana bibs

DIY bandana bibs

I don’t really like bibs, in fact covering up a lovingly hand-knitted jumper with a soggy bit of cloth feels a little counterintuitive. But on dribbly days (S’s not mine!) they’re an essential for keeping her chest dry and preventing endless hand-washing of aforementioned jumper. These bibs are microfleece backed with cotton or cotton jersey on top to absorb all that dribble whilst keeping the clothes (and baby) underneath dry. They’re quick and easy to make up so can be made in as many fabrics and colours as you want – the photographed bibs are made in cotton – Michael Miller’s Vikings in Turquoise and a pretty grey floral fabric bought in the amazing Simply Fabrics in Brixton Market. I also made some in material cut up from outgrown babygrows and old t-shirts. Cotton jersey would be the best material to use but there’s a much smaller choice of affordable prints around and cotton works pretty well too though it has less absorbency. For more information about fabric choices see this post from the Plush Addict blog.

Bandana bib instructions and pattern

1) Print out the pattern pieces. They are to scale on A4 so don’t resize them to fit on a printer page. Print at actual size and fill in the gaps that the printer misses in the margin by hand. Pattern piece B is on two pieces A4 that will need to be taped together and cut out.

Bandana Bib Pattern


2) Cut 1 of pattern piece A on the fold in microfleece. You could use another fabric but microfleece is ideal as it wicks moisture away from the body. Cut 1 of pattern piece B on the fold in cotton or cotton jersey. Mark where the fold lines are (in dressmakers chalk or with nicks in the hemline.



3) Place pieces right side together and sew along stitching line folding fabric piece B along pleat lines and leaving a 5cm gap along one of the straight edges to turn the bib inside out. The edge of pattern piece B with the pleats needs to match with the curved neck edge of pattern piece A.

n.b. The pleat lines are a rough guide only and should be adjusted so the edges fit together depending on the stretch of the materials used.


4) Inside out the bib (so the right sides are now facing out) and stitch aprox 4-5mm from the edge all the way round the bib making sure the seam allowance is tucked in where the gap was.


5) I used KAM snaps with pliers to create an adjustable closure for the bib (the snap placements are marked on pattern piece) but you could also use sew in poppers or velcro.

DIY Bandana bib

62 thoughts on “Bandana bib tutorial

      1. The b pieces should be taped together by butting the two pieces of printed A4 together along the vertical edge when they are placed next to each other portrait way up. If your printer doesn’t print right up to the edge you will have to draw in the line in the gap that hasn’t printed to make the pattern meet up. Then you should end up with a right angled triangle with one curve corner. Pattern piece B is written the same way up on both pieces of A4. Hope this helps and isn’t more confusing!

  1. What a very brilliant idea as brilliant as the color of these bibs in this post! The fabric that you have used is so nice and it is very pretty. I couldn’t say anything else except for this one thing, you really did a very great job. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  2. I also hate the look of bibs, but my 9 week old is needing them. I love how you designed the top piece to be bigger, so that when sewn it actually looks like a tied bandanna as oppose to me just cutting out two triangles and sewing them together. Did you prewash your cotton fabric? I’m wondering if it will shrink weird, but I can get exactly two of your top pieces on the fold of my fabric so I’m shared to wash it? Also, do you find them absorbant enough? I am considering trying to add a middle layer of flannel or something, or possibly just back them in terry? Fleece is semi stay dry though. Your clearly a great sewer, I am VERY new, don’t really know what I am doing.

    1. It’s a great time to start sewing (if you can find the time!). When they’re small you don’t use too much fabric and they’re too young to object to a wonky seam! I’m self-taught so everything I learnt is through mistakes, and I’m definitely still learning with every project. In answer to your questions..
      1) Really you should always prewash your fabric as it will very likely shrink and if the top fabric shrinks but not the backing you may find it curling up at the bottom edge and showing the underside which might be a bit annoying. Obviously it’s frustrating if you wash and then you can’t cut the pieces out, but maybe less annoying than seeing your newly made creation spoil in the wash. Maybe if it shrinks a bit too small you could try printing out both pieces at 95% or even 90% on your printer until they fit. As your baby is still quite little the bibs will probably still end up being big enough? Or just cut one and use the leftover fabric for something else.
      2) My daughter wasn’t a huge dribbler so I found that apart from on a terrible teething day quilt weight cotton was enough. A cotton knit fabric or flannel would be a better choice if you want more absorbency. Certainly inserting a middle layer of flannel would work well. I know that some bibs are towelling backed but I don’t think they are nearly as effective as fleece backed ones as while they absorb moisture it ends up sitting on the baby’s chest. The idea of the fleece backing is to wick moisture away from the baby. The moisture will be soaked up completely by the top layer before it starts soaking through to the baby. If you put in a middle layer, just make sure when you layer them in the right order when sewing it all together, ie the fleece and top layer of cotton will still be right sides together.
      I hope this helps a bit, the best way to learn is to give it a go and not be disheartened if you make mistakes. And please ask if you think I can help again.

  3. I stumbled across you blog while looking for bandana bib patterns. I love it and the all the other gorgeous things you have made! Thanks for sharing a great pattern. I just made one of these bibs this morning in a christmas print fabric for a christmas party we have just been too. It was really easy and quick to make and everyone commented on how cute it looked, plus it catches all the dribbles.

  4. love love this cute little pattern. One question, maybe it’s just my printer but I printed “actual size” , page 2 it printed with the line ‘cut on fold’ cut off, or just the very tips of the words are printed. Can you tell me if it’s just a 1/4″ more at the bottom there, measuring from the top of the words?

    1. I was less experienced at laying out patterns for printing when I made this so sorry about the cut off. On A4 paper the pattern piece goes right down to the bottom of the paper (so about 3/8″ from the top of the writing). To be honest as the top is slightly gathered and the sides are cut on the bias the pieces should work even if there is a little variation, but let me know if you have any trouble and I’ll try and help.

  5. I don’t have a baby to put this lovely project on, but I do have a fur baby that would look great wearing one of these around his neck! Thanks for the idea! 🙂

  6. I’ve stumbled across your site (vis a pinterest link). LOVE your tutorial and pattern. Can you please advise me as to how much material I’ll need to purchase to make a bib. Cheers Vic

    1. Hi VIctoria – For the top fabric you will need a piece of fabric that is 50cm by 30cm. The backing piece will need a piece approximately 30 x 40 cm. Hope this helps!

  7. I think im hooked on making these. I just cut 2 more pieces hehe. Im expecting in december and im new at sewing, you really helped me a lot. The style really make sense because the bunching in front will catch the dribble better than ordinary flat bibs.

  8. Please make a video for making your bandana bibs!! I love the look, but do not understand how to place pattern B with the pleat. Where? How?

    1. Sorry – i’ve been away for a week! The pleated edge should be sewn to the concave curved edge of the other pattern piece. I hope that makes sense! Depending on your fabric choices you may have to make the pleats a little smaller or larger.

  9. I’m feeling extremely stupid at the moment. Could you please update this pattern to show how to put the pattern pieces together? I’ve been sitting here for an hour trying to work out how to put the pieces together. I’ve tried doing it like you’ve written but it honestly confused me more. If you could pleas do this soon I’d be very appreciative as bubba is due in 5 weeks and I’ve finished all my other sewing.

    1. Hi Sarah, I can’t really take more photos of this step as my bib making days are now behind me and it is quite time consuming taking tutorial photos, however I have added some symbols to the first image marking roughly the points on the two pieces that need to match up, hopefully this will make it clear for your. Oh and congratulations!

      1. Hi
        That’s okay. I worked it out after a long time and with playing around with it. I didn’t understand in the instructions that piece A and piece B weren’t to be put together. Maybe in your instructions clearly say that piece A and B are not to be placed together. That piece A is the polar fleece/backing and piece B is the “pretty” cotton material. Once I worked it out they’re extremely easy to make even for myself who has never sewn anything but a straight line. I even managed to ace the pleats! Thanks for the quick reply, your the first blogger that has replied to me even if my question is stupid. Thank you!!

  10. Glad you worked it out – it is so satisfying making things for babies. Hopefully the extra image will be helpful to others too.

  11. Hello!

    I must say that I got so excited about this bibs that I went and bought a sewing machine and some fabric :D. I made like 8 of them, but I must say that though I find the pattern No.1 on the web and the top layer being bigger is the best part, I’m a bit unhappy cause I need to wrinkle (fold) the cotton on upper neck line and sew it like that to get it nice all around. Still I’m happy with the result, although I would be ivn happier if I wouldn’t need to do that. And yes yes… I’m a dad.

    1. The design of these bibs is to have pleats (or big wrinkles) on the top part as it means there is even more fabric on top. That said the best thing about sewing has to be making things exactly how you like them so I would suggest you change the pattern to make it work for you. It would be an easy fix to trim of the edges of the top piece so that the triangle becomes more equilateral in shape (you would need to measure it along the top edge to get the perfect fit. Happy sewing.

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