J's old bathrobe was replaced this Christmas (thanks Mum and Dad!) which is a good thing. It was getting pretty ratty and I may have washed it with something red at one point, leaving a few pink splotches. It was made of a pretty sturdy white 100% cotton terry-cloth-type-stuff with loops on one side and a velvety reverse. I decided it was too good to waste, so I stuck it in a corner of the bedroom floor (naturally, a fantastic place to store potentially recyclable clothing) and waited. When I was in my nesting frenzy before R arrived I realized I had no burp cloths! The horror! I was really pleased with the transformation.

You will need:

  • Fabric. An old terry bathrobe will yield loads of cute cloths. Old towels (provided they aren't super scratchy) would be great as well. Anything soft and absorbent with large flat areas will serve you well. I really recommend making this a recycling project - cloths like these get a lot of use and won't stay pristine for long. It's really satisfying to get so much mileage out of fabric you would otherwise throw out.
  • Sewing machine with fun stitch patterns. If you are lucky enough to have a serger, give it to me! I mean... crack it out. It's worth the threading time to avoid fraying later.
  • Fun thread colours. You will go through lots of thread on this project, so it's a great way to use up those half spools that build up over the years.
  • Lint roller for cleanup. Terry cloth makes a mess. Velvety terry cloth is even worse, as it makes little fluffy bits that stick to you.

Start by tearing your fabric into rectangles. I tore the large panels of the robe into wide strips and then divided those strips into smaller sections. I didn't bother making all the rectangles the same size, preferring to get more out of my robe rather than go for uniformity. If I was making these as a gift I would have been more diligent on that front.

Cut off all the frayed bits. Now you have loads of fluffies to pick up with your lint roller.

If you have the tools, serge the edges. If you don't, join the club.

If your fabric has a soft side, turn that side down and use a wide stitch (like the diamond one I used) to sew a 1/2 inch hem the whole way round. Turn it up as you go, and don't sew right on the edge. You needn't be too precise, they'll look great no matter what. When you get to the corners clip a bit off at a 45 degree angle and overlap the two sides, sewing them down. Make sure the corners are sewn well down or they will fray with frequent washing. Like so:

Use the same stitch to sew down the loose edge. Centre the needle over the edge completely covering it with stitching. This locks it down nicely and keeps it from fraying. I used two different colours of thread, one for each line of stitching. I really like how it looks - just ornamental enough, but not too frilly.

You're done! Snip your thread tails and go :) Take a pretty picture first though, because from this point on your pretty project will be covered in spit-up and drool.

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