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Much to my husband's chagrin, I love recycling.  The problem with it comes when I save an excess amount of items that just end up taking space because they go on my "Someday" to-do list, and sit in containers in my home and garage.

One of my saving 'graces' is that I save an item knowing EXACTLY what I am going to do with it, and that was the case with my children's 3T sized shirts, left over jeans, and a few of the husband's T-shirts.

I found a tutorial (off of Pinterest of course) that showed how to make a baby bib using old T-shirts.  The writer of that particular tutorial used size 3T to 4T shirts and mens t-shirts to create the "front" of the bib, and minky fabric for the back.  The downside to that tutorial was that she specifically requests that the bibs not be sold and are used for personal use only.

Well, not meaning any disrespect, AND not knocking anyone's opinion of that concept, I disagree with that, so I knew I had to make my own bib pattern and tutorial and give a full declaration:
If you want to make these and sell them, more power to you!

I mean, how much money can you make selling bibs anyway?  I would love to make these and sell them, but I don't have the time for that so I'm glad there are people out there that want to.

I made these particular bibs shown in the photos for gifts for family and friends, and donated a couple to my son's school fundraiser that went along with other handmade baby items.

You can get a baby bib pattern virtually anywhere on the net, and here on Instructables, they can be found here:

jessyratfink'sHow to sew a baby bib + pattern Tutorial - This one I found particularly useful, and followed almost all of the steps to the letter.

jessimata's Re-Purposed Reversible Baby Bib

I call it a 'versatile pattern' because I wanted to be able to make a one-page pattern that had an option for a pocket and could be used for multiple sizes for different kinds of printing on old shirts.
If you came here to get the pattern, jump to Step 3.

Read on to see how I made them, and I hope you'll decide to make these cool looking bibs for your personal use, as gifts, or heck, sell them to make some money while saving the planet with recycling!

Step 1: Using Recycled Clothing

Materials & Tools:
  • 3T to 4T clothes - I used all T-shirts or long-sleeved shirts and one pair of girls shorts for the bibs in this tutorial
  • Optional: Old 18-month to 2T footed pajamas
  • Optional: Men's printed T-shirts, not used here
  • Optional: Pair(s) of old Jeans
  • A sewing machine (you could hand stitch it, but it would take a lot longer)
  • Coordinating thread
  • pins
  • Scissors and/or a rotary cutter with a cutting board (I don't know what I would do without my rotary cutter)
  • One to four printed copies of the pattern (See Step 3)
  • Tape (to tape copies of the cut pattern)
  • Metal Snaps or velcro - I use snaps because in my experience, babies pull off velcro bibs WHILE eating.

Notes on Using Recycled Clothing:
  • The biggest challenge is the existing sewn edges on the clothes. 
  • I use a jean-type needle on my sewing machine so that it goes through many layers of fabric.
  • When you cut the clothes up, try to use as much material as possible.  You can use recycled clothes for headbands, cloth flowers, and other fun little imaginable projects that would use scrap material.
  • Don't be afraid to throw stuff away.  Unfortunately, not all the material will be used.  I feel comfortable that the clothing is being re-used at all and not all of it is going to the landfill.
  • Imagine the possibilities! Perhaps there are "saved" shirts in your home when your children were young and are now grown with their own babies.  Wouldn't it be cool to give them a bib with their old shirts?  How about those T-shirts you just can't make yourself throw away?  There are so many things that could be made into these functional bibs, and in so many different ways....

Notes on Recycling:
As I write this (not published though) it is April 22, Celebrated as Earth Day in America.  I am using recycled materials to make the bibs, and I specifically read up on what "Sustainable Materials" are just for my personal knowledge.

www.sustainableconcrete.org had a great description of the concept of "Sustainable Materials" and asks several questions that I wanted to pose to you all and gave my answers here.

A good first question: Do we need it?

My answer for this project: Any mother knows you need a baby bib for a baby, even if it used for maybe a year and half to two years.  And, you know you need A LOT of them. 
When my first child was born, I probably got about ten new bibs as gifts, and many (maybe ten more) hand-me-downs from friends.  I remember using every single one, so much that they were stained with food, throw-up, drool, you have the idea, and many of them did not make it to being used by the other two children I had.

Ask yourself: Does it suit the purpose to which it is applied?

My answer for this project: Yes, and the design of the bib gives it a double duty for the phase the baby is in.  I included a crumb catcher (a pocket) on at least one side, so that the little hands that cannot quite grasp the food that slips through their fingers or misses the mouth gets caught in the pocket.  (I remember cheerios well.)

My favorite question: How far did it come?

My answer for this project: The clothes you are looking at here are as follows -
A pair of maternity jeans: A hand-me-down to me, previously used by two other women.  (Two different friends.)  I used them while pregnant with three children, over the course of five-and-a-half years.  I did not want to give them to a charity, because they had a hole in the belly pocket and were quite stretched out.  I couldn't throw them away either because I have several "jean" themed projects planned.

Three-T (3T) shirts, one pair of 3T girls shorts and a footed pajama with broken snaps: These clothes I identified as not-suitable as hand-me-downs to cousins, and again, too stained or worn to give to charity in my opinion.  Many of the clothes my children wear were (or are) hand-me-downs.  My oldest son's clothes were saved for my youngest son to wear so many of those clothes have been through at least two boys (and probably more.)

Lastly, I had an option to use my husband's T-shirts: Unfortunately, I have to say that my husband was the first and last occupant of these T's.  The reason for not giving them to charity is the underarm stain that inevitably becomes a topic my husband and I argue over.  I am ready to give those shirts away before the stain is too set in, and he says he loves them and wants to keep them, until I can't stand him wearing them any more.  "Painting and work shirts" he calls them. Right. 
But in his defense, he does wear all his T-shirts until they become not wearable by others.  That counts for something right?

More Useless Information:
All of my materials are cotton and because they have been worn so much, I know they have been pre-shrunk.  I could iron them, but I don't, mostly in an effort to save time, and after they were laundered, I stored them folded in a box until I have the time to work on them.

My motivation for completing this project was two-fold: I wanted to make these bibs for upcoming functions and I wanted to enter the Dream-It, Draw-It, Wear-It contest.

{Here is where I give myself a shameless plug: Please vote for me if you enjoy this Instructable!}

Lastly, I would appreciate if you would give me credit for the pattern with a link to Step 3 or this Instructable.  Use it freely to make great bibs though, please!
<p>Thanks for providing a step by step bib tutorial with pictures. It's very comprehensive and detail oriented. Beginners like me won't find difficulty making a bib.</p>
<p>Thank you for your kind words! I love to post projects just exactly to help other people and it's great to hear that it helps! =)</p>
<p>You're welcome and please find time to check out http://ghcbibs.com.</p>
So cute. I love the tutorial. I also like the way he is modeling the bib with such a casual look. great.
Thank you so much! It's funny you say that because when this one looks into the camera, he squints when he smiles! He's got a great profile in my opinion and even though he's over two, he's still willing to pose for mommy! =)
So adorable - I voted!!!
Thank you! I want to win one of the copies of SketchBook Pro! =)

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