How to make burp cloths - a DIY project

When my children were babies I used cloth diapers for burp cloths. When they were no longer burping they made excellent dust rags. I am not sure where they all went and why but gone they are. In my head I have always carried this 1970's image of a prefolded diaper which I found on Google images labeled "vintage diaper".
Flash forward to 2012, just a few weeks ago. My daughter comes home with her baby and after feeding plops her on her shoulder to burp. Umm, aren't you going to use a burp cloth? Emily gets a dish cloth. Uh oh, it's time for the Grandma to save the day and quite frankly, my own clothing. My husband and I go to Kohl's where for some reason known only to me I thought I could waltz in and pick up a couple dozen prefolded diapers just like I used some 30 odd years ago. Or not. Hmmm, I remembered a pintinterest link Shelby had sent me on making burp cloths using cloth diapers, it was all beginning to look like not a job for Grandma but for sewing Grandma. I went home and went on the internet and on Amazon found a brand of cloth diapers where a review claimed they were JUST like the fluffy ones she had used to throw over her shoulder some 30 years ago. Eureka, I have found the Holy Grail.
Or not.
This is what I got, the 2012 cloth diaper.
I folded those puppies in thirds and sewed on  6 to 7 inch strips of flannel, flannel quilt blocks from previous quilts etc. until I had no more of those scraps. It was fun, however, to make some burp cloths with squares left over from Christmas flannel quilts. Zara was burping onto holiday themed cloths! Then I remembered a box of flannel squares I cut once upon a time.
Here they are, in fact I had two boxes of these 7 inch squares. I sewed various combinations of 3 squares together. Some were better than others, I found I drifted towards the lighter squares after I made these two strips.
Once I had two or three strips done I would go onto the next stage and press under about a quarter inch.
Once all the raw edges were ironed to the back, I pinned the strip in the middle of the folded diaper. I didn't measure where the middle was, I just eyeballed it.
For the last step, I set my machine to the zig zag stitch, made it a bit wider and quite a bit more dense and I zig zagged it on. Those blocks will not be going anywhere!
I have finished about fourteen of the two dozen I gleefully ordered. I take one over every other day or so when I visit Zara. You can see a finished one but also my pile of not yet finished.  I like using the flannel because it is soft but I think you could use any other cotton you happen to have scraps of.  You could do strips instead of squares.  Be creative!
I originally just wanted to protect our clothes but now it is fun knowing Zara has her face in something I created, and they are soft. They are easy enough to make and recently, I saw a very similar burp cloth for sale in a children's store. Their price? $9.50!
Sewing grandma to the rescue indeed!
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  • All of the burp cloths turned out great.

  • In reply to Kliffjo:

    Thanks, I am working on the rest!

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, biking and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, I prefer not to share that. You can email me at

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