baby in diy blw bib looking up

T-Shirt Coverall Bib Tutorial for BLW

You can sew your own DIY T-shirt Coverall Bibs for Baby Led Weaning! These coverall tshirt bibs are super easy to make, virtually no-sew, and can be made in just minutes. BLW is messy, sooo messy and the clean-up can get intense. These bibs not only protect clothes (tops, bottoms, sleeves- the whole shebang) but also- wait for it- keep most of the food off the floor! They are catch-all bibs that attach to the edge of the highchair tray with elastic and catch the food before it falls down baby’s front onto the floor. If you have a smaller IKEA-style highchair it even fits over the back of the chair too and keeps it clean. Even if you’ve NEVER SEWN anything before and don’t have a sewing machine, you’ll be able to make this DIY BLW bib!

Materials Needed

  • A large T-shirt
  • ¼” elastic
  • 1” or ¾” elastic
  • Velcro or snaps or omit and use elastic in the neck instead

Take Measurements

  • Measure the circumference of your baby’s bicep
  • Measure neck circumference
  • Measure the edge of the highchair tray

Step One: Add Elastic To the Bib Sleeves

Take your bicep measurement and add 1.5” for ease of wear and seam allowance. Cut two lengths of ¼” elastic that length. My final number was 8” for an almost 1 year-old.

We will be using the sleeve hem as a ready-made casing! Simply snip two small holes on just the inside edges of the sleeve hem, to either side of the bottom side seam. Now, pin a safety pin to one edge of the elastic (or use an elastic threader) and thread it through the hole, through the “casing” and out the other little hole. Make sure to hold on to the other end of the elastic while you do this so it doesn’t get pulled through as well!

Now, pull the two ends out, overlap them ½” and sew them together. You can use your sewing machine or hand-sew them together. Go back and forth with your stitches to secure on the machine. Backstitch and knot off if hand-sewing. Snip the threads and pull the elastic to hide the seam inside the sleeve casing so it’s more comfortable for baby.
Repeat this on the other sleeve. There is no need to finish the raw edges of the little holes since t-shirt material doesn’t unravel.

No-Sew Option
Simply Increase the length of the elastic so that you can double knot the ends together securely. Snip the excess and hide the knot in the casing.

Step Two: Finish the Neck Opening

Option 1:
Cut the Neck Opening on the Bib and attach the Velcro.
Fold the back of the t-shirt in half and cut a triangle wedge out of the back of the shirt about, 2” wide and 5” long. Cut a generous bit of velcro (2”) and pin it on the edges of the neckline so that they overlap correctly. Make sure the soft half of the velcro is on the top overlapping part of the neck opening since this one might touch baby’s skin. Before sewing measure the neck opening to make sure it will fit baby nicely. You want it to be snug, and the neckline is a bit stretchy so I only included about ½” extra ease in my version. (My final measurement was 12”, but my neckline has stretched since then in the wash, so I would probably go down to 11” next time.) UPDATE- My new 1 year old has become an expert at yanking off bibs so I have switched from velcro to plastic snaps.

Pro Tip: You can draw all over your sewing projects with Crayola Ultra Washable markers!

No-Sew Option 2:
Fold the back in half and cut a simple line down the back on the fold, about 6” down. Then, make 1” horizontal snips on both ends of the vertical cut. From there, cut back up, parallel to the original cut up the back until you reach the neckline. DO NOT CUT through the neckline, instead, curve around and cut by the seam for 2”. Repeat for the other side. Stretch the straps and use them to tie in the back.

No-Sew Option 3:
My baby HATES anything pulled over their head so I chose to cut the back, but if your little doesn’t mind pull-over styles so much, just skip cutting the back entirely! For the no-sew option, just mark the neckline + 1” ease (it will stretch less if uncut, so I added a little more ease than above) and install snaps at the marks. Or…

Option 4:
Using the neckline + 1.5” as your measurement cut a length of ¼” elastic and thread it through and sew in the same manner as the sleeves. Since your neckline is unlikely to have a seam like the sleeves you can just snip one hole.

Step 3: Tray Attachment

Take the tray measurement and include what’s called “negative ease” in the sewing world- basically make the elastic a little shorter than the measurement to account for stretching.
For example, for my IKEA highchair tray the measurement under and over the sides is 20” so I cut the elastic 15 ½” and I will also lose another inch when I sew the elastic down. For the IKEA tray this works out since the sides are not so deep and the elastic stretches over it nicely. If you have another type of tray you’ll just want to take the 1” elastic over to the tray and stretch it so that it sits snug and taut under the tray, accounting for the length needed to sew it down as well and cut to size there. You can also stretch your shirt against the top edge of the tray there and mark where to sew down the elastic. Depending on the type of elastic you are using you may have a different degree of stretch so double check before cutting and sewing.

For my IKEA highchair, should you have the same, I sewed the elastic down at 7” from the center front (CF) point, leaving 14” of t-shirt edge to stretch against the 16” edge and it’s worked well. I zig-zagged back and forth several times to really secure the elastic down here since there will be a bit of tension there. If hand-sewing, please backstitch back and forth several times as well.

If you need a no-sew version, then you could try to cut a 14” slit to slide the tray onto by cutting right above the hemline on the front. It wouldn’t be snug against the tray, but might make enough of a pocket to catch the food and protect the clothes.

Now you are ready to use this DIY BLW Bib you made yourself! Take care when lifting baby out of the chair so that you don’t accidentally knock all the food caught in the bib onto the floor. I like to take the bib off of the baby while she is still sitting and fold it over onto the tray to deal with after I take the baby out. Otherwise, you’re one baby kick away from spilling food all over the place. Don’t ask me how I know. >_<

Care For Your Bib

The beauty of this bib is it can be thrown in the hot cycle and dried on hot, unlike some waterproof bibs made from PUL. Of course, the downside is that it’s not waterproof so if you’re dealing with some very saucy, wet foods you’ll want to use another bib. That said, I used it with pasta and had no seep through. Make sure to shake off any stuck-on foods into the sink or trash right away and hang to dry with the rest of your wet dirty laundry to prevent any mildewing that can happen on cotton fabrics left wet too long. If you throw it into the hamper and forget about it for a few days wash it with bleach and it should be good to go again!

These t-shirt coverall bibs are also great for keeping your baby clean when eating out. The large t-shirt edge can fit around the edge of the sticky, gross restaurant highchair and prevent your little from say, chewing the dirty edge of the chair (only my child?). You’ll also feel great about yourself for keeping the chair clean along with the baby! (As clean as you found it, anyway).

Now, go and raid the closet for some large t-shirts no one will miss, and make some of these right now! Be sure to subscribe and check out my blog for more fun projects for baby, home, and mom!

Prefer to watch a video tutorial? Check out my youtube video here:

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