Handmade Dish Towel Bibs

by Kelsey Norwood

in Crafts,Sewing

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handmade baby bib pattern

I really do love the tablecloth bib from a few months ago, but I only made one and bias tape isn’t my favorite thing so I wasn’t real keen on making a whole handful of them. But a bib made from a dish towel is something I can really put into production! Except I didn’t have any old dish towels so I bought 5/8 yard of terry cloth in two colors each at JoAnn and made 6 bibs. Cheap and easy, my two favorite things!

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  • terry cloth or dish towel
  • cotton ribbing


  • marking pencil/chalk
  • CD (as in compact disc…) or other round object for template
  • pins
  • scissors
  • rotary mat and cutter

hand towel bib

Cut strips of ribbing 2.5″ x 12″. (The piece in the picture is just under 14″ which turned out to be too big.) This size will fit babies and toddlers.

Cut rectangles from terry cloth 14″ x 22-25″ depending on how long you want the bib. If you’re using a premade towel, preserve the original dimensions.

Sew the ribbing in a tube by opening it up flat and sewing a seam, right sides together. After it’s in a tube, fold it in half so the seam is completely on the inside.

bibs towels

I found a CD to be the perfect size circle for the towel neck hole – trace in the center of the width and about 1/3 down from the top and cut out.

hand towel bib pattern

Divide both circles into fourths with pins or by some very shallow clipping. Clipping is my preferred method, just be careful!

towel baby bib pattern

Match up the seam in the ribbing with the center back of the towel. Match up the other 3 marks and pin it to death in between.

Stretching the ribbing as you go, serge the towel to the ribbing.

That’s it!

sew baby bib

I made 6 bibs and I love them! They fit both Elliot and Gus and I can use them as a real towel in a pinch. Gus can’t rip it off by yanking down and they’re going to be super easy to launder and care for.

If I were feeling completely suicidal (which I’m not) I’d applique something cute on the front. Maybe for my grand kids…

handmade dish towel bib

Isn’t he adorable? Under bite/chocolate face and all?!? And what a bib…


1 Melinda Wilson July 28, 2010 at 8:13 am

Thanks for posting! These would be great as baby shower gifts and so would the car seat harness protectors from a few days ago. I just completed a baby blanket to give this weekend and have leftovers so I might go and make some of these little pillows to go with the gift.

2 Michelle July 28, 2010 at 10:51 am

I absolutely loved the one I was given when Rebecca was a baby. Went through two kiddos, and if my sister hadn’t gone and had a boy, I’d have passed my pink girly handtowel bib on to her, too. Now I can make her a nice boyish one with this tute. Thanks!

3 Kelsey July 28, 2010 at 10:58 am

I love handmade baby gifts (well, handmade anything really…). Anyone can make these and they’re so useful!

4 Sue D July 28, 2010 at 11:55 am

Very cute! Thanks for the instructions. One grandbaby was just born and another is on its way.

5 Elizabeth G July 28, 2010 at 10:00 pm

I was really excited about this post, because I’ve been wanting to make one of these, but had no idea how. Then I saw that you need to serge….would it still be doable without the serger?

6 Kelsey July 29, 2010 at 7:53 am

I don’t see why not – there are lots of options. You could sew the ribbing on with a sewing machine and then to finish the edge using

1. zigzag stitch
2. bias tape
3. pinking shears

Ribbing doesn’t unravel, it’s the terry cloth that really needs the finished edge. Pinking shears would be the easiest (and cute too). If you’re going to use pinking shears, I would sew a line all the way around the border of the bib at about 1/4″ and then cut off outside that line. Same with the neck band.

Or do whatever you want!

7 Megan July 29, 2010 at 9:14 pm

I’ve made these several times out of cute patterned ‘fingertip’ towels {I watch for them in the clearance section!}, but cutting the neck circle has always been so tricky for me — never knowing if the hole would be too big or too small. Thank you so much for the CD tip — what a perfect solution!

8 Paula August 3, 2010 at 1:57 am

My mother-in-law made this type of bib for my kids when they were little (my dd is 16-1/2 now so it’s been a good long while!). We loved these bibs! She used a regular hand towel, or a kitchen towel (the patterned kind). They lasted forever and were just great. I may still have them around somewhere … (pack rat issues) …

9 Plain White Baby Bibs September 2, 2010 at 12:54 pm

LOL. Seems like the adorable one in the picture got his face and the bib involved.

What a cute bib! Thanks for sharing.

10 Alysun February 14, 2011 at 11:08 am

Thank you for a great tutorial. Very simple to make and in my opinion, the perfect bib for little eaters.

11 Alice December 10, 2011 at 4:26 pm

I made this type of bib for my sister (now 60 yrs old) as a joke a few years ago using a small bath towel. She LOVES it and uses it all the time. She often ends up eating dinner in her recliner while watching the news and finds the bib works great. I am now going to make her new one for Christmas and one for a friend who often dines with her and had forgotten how I made the original. All I have to figure out is the size of the cutout but that shouldn’t be too difficult.

Thanks again for the tutorial.

12 Darlene April 11, 2012 at 8:53 pm

I bought 2 huge bath towels at a thrift store instead of buying terry cloth for $6 total. I got 4 bibs out of each towel. They turned really cute!!

13 Janet Crosby August 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Just what I was looking for! The toughest part was finding ribbing to match (no luck). A complementary color worked fine. I would suggest that if anyone has trouble finding ribbing, use an older T-shirt or a similar knit. It will work well. Just don’t forget to divide the insert equally around the collar and stretch as you sew. These are much better than plastic bibs for the toddler age. Makes a great face and hand wipe after a meal, as I explained to my daughter. Thanks so much!

14 Felicia October 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Oh my gosh, thank you so much for posting this!!! I work with 1yr old children and they are constantly ripping their velcro bibs off and their clothes gets so messy. I love these bibs!

15 Patti November 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm

If you still see this posting as its 2012 now, I would like to know what serge stitch you used going around the bib? I have been trying but get the little pokies sticking out between the stitches. I have only had my serger for a few weeks and I am sure I have a lot to learn yet. I have two little grandkids with another coming ( my 13 year old grandson out grew the need Ha Ha) and I sell items at a race track and would love to make these.
Thanks for the directions using the terry cloth its much cheaper than towels.

16 Kelsey Norwood December 3, 2012 at 10:03 pm

I use a regular 4 thread stitch, maybe try switching to 3 threads and making the stitch length smaller? Your manual should have instructions on how to do both. Good luck!

17 D January 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm

A good quality ribbed shirt or tank from the thrift store could be repurposed for the ribbing. Would a cd sized hole fit a preschooler?

18 Kelsey Norwood January 7, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Yes, I usually use a CD for my 3 and 5 year olds.

19 grace September 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm

You made a strip of “ribbing” to put around the hole in the bib?? I am not familiar with that type of fabric. It must be something stretchy to go around the neck. Did you use a strip of different color terry cloth?? The strip on the bib in the pic looks like black on the green bib.

20 Kelsey Norwood September 9, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Ribbing is a kind of knit fabric, it’s very stretchy and what most T-shirt neck bands are made out of. If you go to your local fabric store, they should be able to show it to you. It works well because it retains its shape but stretches to make room for a head to pass through.

21 Rob O'Neill June 9, 2014 at 10:55 pm

What a very cute bib and awesome tutorial! Moms with messy eaters will definitely desire to have one of this too or maybe more. Well, you have done a very great job! Thank you for this one.

22 Gloria April 4, 2015 at 6:23 am

OMG This is great! I have a home daycare and have been look for a pattern for bibs like this. Thank you for posting this!

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