Burp Cloths DIY Sewing Tutorial

This isn’t some ingenious idea or anything super fancy to make. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s cheap, but it makes a really great baby gift and they are very handy to have around. Especially if you have a very spitty baby like I do. It’s Burp Cloths DIY Sewing Tutorial made from Diapers!

how to make burp cloths from cloth diapers

It’s a burp cloth made simply by sewing fabric onto a cloth diaper. Like I said, very easy to make, but look how cute that looks all packaged up and ready to give as a gift!


Burp Cloths DIY Sewing Tutorial:

Supplies Needed:

  • Cloth Diaper (the thick, smaller kind. I think they are called prefolds?) I get mine at Target and they come in a pack of 12 for about $11.
  • Fabric to sew onto the diapers
  • Embellishments like ric rac or ribbon.

Important: Prewash the diaper first because they will shrink. Then iron them nice and flat again.


I usually leave about 3 or 4 inches of the white diaper showing on either side of the fabric with the fabric centered down the middle of the diaper. Like this:

how to make burp cloths from cloth diapers

Now you need a piece of cute fabric to fit the diaper. Make it about an inch longer than the diaper and about an inch wider than you want it to be when you are done. Measurements of your fabric should be about 19″ x 8″ but it varies a little depending on the diapers you buy.

Fold under the top and side edges of your fabric about 1/2 inch and iron them to make a clean edge.

Pin the fabric to the diaper so that it is centered from side to side and matches up with the end of the diaper the long way. Then, start in one corner and sew a basic rectangle all the way around.

You can also add some ribbon or ric-rac embellishment to make it extra fun:

Embellished burp cloths

I like to do 2-3 in a matching set. Tie it with a cute ribbon and bam! You have an adorable baby gift.

Cloth diaper burp cloths

Or, I am thinking of pairing these with my new Diaper and Wipe Carrier and making it a set. That would be cute wouldn’t it?

Each one costs just a little over $1, so a set of 3 will cost less than $5.

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Hey there! I'm Amber, mom of 4 crazy boys, wife of 1 and non-stop, always busy, crazy project doer. (There's a reason why we call it *Crazy* Little Projects.) I love chocolate, reading, sewing and being with people!

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  1. says

    Super cute idea! I agree – would make a really cute (and practical) baby gift! Thanks for sharing!
    Hugs –
    Carol @ arewethereyet

    P.S. – “Hopped” over from Chic on a Shoestring linky party – would love it if you could hop over and see me! Thanks!

  2. Kim H says

    I’m so excited to start! Quick question: Did you used colored thread on the top and white thread in the bobbin so that the top thread matches your fabric and your bobbin thread matches your diapers? Or do the white and color show through the other side so it would just be better to use all colored?

    • says

      Good question! And the answer is really-either way you prefer. I usually use the same color bobbin as the thread I am sewing with but if you use white bobbin you won’t see the seam on the bottom so that could be nice too.

  3. says

    I have a question… first you sewed on a small piece of fabric down the center and then you covered it with the larger cute fabric? Or is one small one sewn on the front and the lager one on the back of the diaper.

    thanks for your help and the tutorial!

  4. says

    I am confused. You mentioned leaving about 3 or 4 inches of white diaper showing so I am assuming the fabric is sewn onto the middle part of the diaper leaving the white showing when finished. ( Photo 1 ) When I see the last photo, it looks like the fabric is the same size of the diaper and sewn around the diaper without any white showing on the sides. I have never made a burp cloth before.

    • says

      Sorry to confuse you. The last picture I have it all folded up to look cute when I gave it as a gift. Yes, you should leave a little white showing around the edges.

    • Amber says

      See my answer to her, but basically I just folded those ones up to package them nice to give as a gift. So the white is just hiding. Sorry to confuse you!

  5. Vicki says

    I feel really silly saying this…but i think that in the US cloth diapers are a bigger thing than in the UK. I would have no idea where to get some from here relatively cheaply. Could I use flannels/face cloths? Is that not what a cloth diaper essentially is ( but obviously bigger)?

  6. Angie says

    I read through the comments and I’m still confused. I think I understand but the white edges are really throwing me off. Do you have any photos of the finished burp cloth not folded so I can see what my edges should look like? P.S.- I’m rocking on those straight lines! Thanks for the first lesson and all the great tips!

    • Amber says

      There is a picture on the post showing the white diaper. I will try to get a good picture of the whole thing tomorrow though and add it.

  7. vicki7_1999@yahoo.co.uk says


    I can’t get hold of these cloth diapers in the UK very easily ( or cheaply) – is there an alternative that you can recommend to me please?

  8. Nancy G says

    Did you sew on the ric rac? I can’t see a stitch in it. Sorry it seems as though I am one of the only true beginners in this course!

    • Amber says

      Yes, you just run one straight line right down the middle of the ric rac. And no, you are FAR from the only true beginner.

  9. Linda says

    I think I’m being difficult. I’ve read these instructions about 5 times and I still don’t understand. Ok I get that the fabric is a strip down the middle of the diaper and the the white ends of the diaper show.

    My first question is : Is the fabric only on one side? Is the back of the diaper totally white or do you lay out the diaper, put the fabric over top of it (as a strip down the middle), pin it and then fold the diaper in half sewing all the way around?

    Next question if you do fold the diaper in half – do you sew the fabric on first then fold the diaper in half and sew around the edge of the diaper? Or do you sew the fabric first then pin it to the diaper and sew again?

    Sorry I’m being so difficult. I’m just so confused. :(

    • says

      If I understand correctly you do not fold the diaper in half. Lay it out flat, cut the fabric to the length of the diaper. She said the measurement is roughly 19″x 8″. Center the fabric on the diaper and sew around the fabric. The fabric will only be on one side of the diaper.

    • Amber says

      I am sorry to confuse you. It’s really very simple. Grab your diaper, grab you fabric. Cut your fabric to be just a little bigger than your diaper length and just a little wider than you want it on the diaper. (Leaving a few inches of white showing on either side.) Fold the edges of your fabric under and iron them. Pin it to the top of your diaper and sew around it in one big rectangle. That’s it. No folding, no fabric on the other side, etc.

  10. says

    If you’re looking for cloth diapers don’t buy them at Target. They’re $17 where I live in Idaho for a 10 pack or 5 pack for $12.99!! You can buy a 10 pack at Walmart for $13.50. Just thought I’d share that.

    • Linda says

      I went to the paint section at Walmart and purchased 6 terry towels for $3.88. I figure with the fabric on them they will work just great. I’m going to use mine as kitchen hand towels.

  11. becky says

    Hey Amber, You are the very first blogger I am following. I am finding it a bit overwhelming w all the links you can continuously click on ;) although like I said I have never looked at a blog in my life. I am very interested in learning to sew, I just got a machine from my mother in law, and have no idea how to start…so I was excited when I found your blog. So I just have a question. You said earlier that they only cut yard in a min of 1/8th of a yard. do I only need 1/8th of yard of each cloth design I pick (for burp clothes)? does it matter what time of fabric I choose? I saw your “types of fabrics” part too…I’m overwhelmed. but I plan on going out to get the things I need soon. I probably will behind on the lessons but I will do them :) Thanks

    • Amber says

      You’ll need more than that for your burp cloths. At least a quarter yard of each fabric. You can use a regular cotton or get something soft like flannel. Ask any questions you need. :)

  12. says

    I wish I would not get so frustrated, but my diapers have fuzz balls all over them, they were stretchy and wavy all along the edges so they were hard to keep straight, and I used a zigzag stitch to sew on the fabric only to remember I was suppose to use a straight stitch (Sewing a Straight Line Lesson!). ha Grrr! Oh, and I somehow sewed up a straight pin on the inside between the diaper and the fabric! Well, I worked the pin out through the back side of the diaper, and guess I will pick off the fuzz balls tomorrow. My set is for a gift. On a positive note, I know which diapers NOT to buy next time. :) Yours in your picture look like a better quality of diapers than what I got. I’ll go to Target next time.

    One question though, how do you knot when you use a zigzag stitch? I just put my stitch length on 0 and stitched about 6-8 times in one spot, then started sewing. Not sure if that’s right. ??

    • Amber says

      Don’t get too frustrated. Sewing takes time and practice. You will get better and better and better. And the baby’s not going to care if your lines aren’t perfect. :) As for the zigzag, this will be in Lesson 2, but you do it the same as with the straight-just go forward an inch, back an inch and then forward again.

  13. maresa says

    hi Amber

    I have a question I bought Terry cloth (cheaper than nappies where I live)

    do I cut my Terry cloth the same size as the fabric and hem this and then sew on the fabric

    thanks for all your help

    • Amber says

      It’s up to you really. You could cut two larger rectangles, put right sides together and sew all the way around them but leave about 4 inches open so you can turn it right side out. Then turn right side out and sew that opening closed. Then do everything else just like the tutorial. That’s just one idea though. :)

  14. becky says

    YAY!!! I finished my first burp cloth. I extended the sides because I wasn’t a big fan of having just a strip of the decorative cloth in the middle…I think it turned out great if I do say so myself. This is really my first project… Thanks for all the help :D

  15. Dixie says

    I just finished my VERY FIRST sewing project!! The burp cloth came out so much better than I expected :) Excited for next weeks project!

  16. Patty says

    Thank you so much this was a very easy project and will make a great gift. Didn’t notice till after I bought the diapers that you used the prefolded for the thickness in the center, so I just folded the ends and sides in about three inches all the way around and then sewed on the center fabric. So my first one was cute but not thick enough in the center. Will let you know my solution on the next one. Have a couple of ideas so I don’t have to buy more diapers. Again thank you can’t wait to make the next project with you.

  17. Kristina Fast says

    Just completed my burn cloths…just used a cute fabric and a soft fabric for mine since I wasn’t able to get out to purchase the cloth diapers but it was fun! Can’t wait for this weeks lesson and project!

  18. Peggy says

    I cannot, for the life of me, draw a straight line — you would think I could sew a straight line……but, no, I just keep drifting sideways. Gonna keep working on this, these are so cute & should be so easy. Thanks so much for helping us newbies get started!

    • Leigh says

      @Peggy, when I first learned to sew, a friend told me to take a long piece of painters tape and tape it as the seam line I was sewing. It helped me a lot to learn to sew straight lines. The painters tape doesn’t leave a sticky residue, and can be reused by just moving it to the seam you are focused on. I hope this helps!

  19. Lisette says

    Hi Amber,

    You said to wash the burp cloth. Do you put it in the dryer and also do you wash the fabric you will sew on it as well?

    Thank you,

  20. Virginia Owensby says

    Thank you for sharing. They are adorable i have a grandbaby on the way, and my pseudo adopted daughter is expecting, so i will get lots of practoce. Lol. Please post the diaper and wipe carrier. You are such a doll, i can just tell that you have a good heart.

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