You’ll probably be expecting scrap projects rather than endless thoughts about the perfect bib but a bib is actually a perfect scrap project too. So, lets just quickly look back: in part 1, we have mainly been discussing the different requirements one might have (age, material to be caught by said bib,….). In part 2, we were looking at different shapes and sizes.
Now, it is time to look at different materials.
I am actually fantasizing of a bib with multiple disposable layers of a highly absorbent and waterproof yet thin material. When the top layer is used up, you just tear it away and the next one will be ready for the next gush. Until NASA has developed this for an affordable price I will have to content myself with the fabrics available through regular fabric retailers but I would like to claim here and now that this has been my idea! I guess I should apply for a patent before announcing my brilliant ideas in such a public space. So lets have a look at other ideas for now.
I think I have shown you the farbenmix idea of upcycling old t-shirts. Definitely a great idea for a personalised gift. Just imagine how pleased the father of the child will be when he discovers that his offspring is wearing a bib made of his old Rolling Stones T-Shirt!
However, for our purposes (remember, these posts are about sensitive matters potentially being ejected through a baby’s mouth), thin layers of old T-shirts will just not do.
When I read the suggestion by Hamburger Liebe to use a layer of an old towel I found it a bit excessive but I did give it a try and it is – well – close to perfect for our needs.
You have already seen these twos: a layer of a nice jersey on top with an old towel at the back, both held together with a contrasting binding made of ribbing. The pirate bib is made using the free pattern from Hamburger Liebe, however I quickly made my own pattern to be able to have the button on the side rather than at the back. Much better for tiny babies who lazily lounge around the whole day.
As the width of the ribbing as it comes is almost too short to go around my version, I have to stretch it quite a lot which makes the bib curl up a bit after a couple of washes – I suppose the jerseys are still shrinking unlike the old towel which had been washed over and over again. This effect wasn’t planned but comes in handy when it is about catching material that is thicker than fresh milk. Personally I am really pleased with that but I quickly gave up the idea of making them for others as gifts as they do not look that great after a couple of hot washings and without ironing (lets be realistic here).
My next try was a version with a woven fabric instead of the jersey.
This change of fabric type was a slightly negative experience as the surface of at least this particular woven fabric is surprisingly slippery, so the ejected matter just slides down and lands on the baby’s cloths. Which really isn’t the aim of a bib.To be able to give a proper verdict more extensive studies would be needed. Is it just this particular fabric or a feature of woven fabrics in general? I am not sure. Frequent washing have made things slightly better but according to my bib experience, digested milk adheres better to jersey than woven fabric. Who would have thought this was one of the crucial discoveries in this quest!
I really would like to mention one very interesting version found in a German blog for a triangular scarf with 4 layers, two pretty outer layers, one highly absorbent and one waterproof one. Clearly, this mother has found the perfect and pretty solution for her child. I haven’t actually made this one although it sounds almost perfect and I guess I would have tried it if I had had the two special materials at home. This package sounds very durable but I will actually still have to change our bibs frequently. The main aim of the perfect bib might well be to keep the child underneath dry but unlike saliva, vomit will smell (and yes, baby vomit smells, even if it is only milk – believe me, I know what I am talking about ( as will probably all people who dare to intrude into my personal space :)) I have it constantly in my hair, behind my ears, on my neck, shoulders, often a little puddle in that middle section of my bra, as far down as my trousers, just everywhere. It does smell. Sorry, where were we? Ah, yes, so whilst the main aim of the perfect bib is to keep the child dry, I still tend to change the bibs frequently for air freshening reasons. So, I don’t actually need a bib that can stay on for hours and the old towel at the back soaks up enough and the cloths will still be dry until I change the bib.
I like the look of the contrasting binding but as I mentioned, the ribbing is a tiny bit too short so I did try with normal stretchy jersey.
It does keep the shape better but I still stretched it a bit too much. This bib project is actually the perfect practice for finishing curvy edges (armholes and necklines). It is a bit fiddly and as I am usually in a hurry, the results are not great if you get the chance of a closer look.
The last bib I have made so far has no contrasting binding. I put both fabrics right sides together, stitched around, leaving a little gap to turn the whole thing inside out, trimmed the seam allowance (before turning obviously) and top stitched which closed as well the little gap.
It looks a bit more boring but was definitely even quicker to make. I also underestimated how loose the neckline will suddenly be without the stretchy binding. This bib does not sit very snug around the neck so it is not very efficient (nothing a second button couldn’t fix though).
So, this is where I am now. Did I already settle on the perfect version? Not really, I have to optimise the shape to make sure it sits tightly around the neck (well, without hurting obviously). I also want to make it a tiny bit wider on the sides to cover the shoulders a bit better. Which might then look a little bit silly. Well, because of the stiffness of the whole bib it looks like a cape already as soon as it turns slightly to the side which reminds me a bit of Superman (so we had Shakespeare, John Wayne and Superman – I am one proud mother, aren’t I)
The other thing is, that i haven’t given up the idea of a triangular version yet. The normal bib shape just looks so babyish and uncool. I rather like the bald John Wayne with big round eyes look. So, I guess this will be the next step – a triangle with toweling at the back. We will see if that covers enough or if it will just have to be the classic bib shape.