Friday, September 2, 2011

How To Sew Your Own Nursing Cover

Ok, I know I'm going total DIY crazy this month, but I'm having a blast with it!!!  I've got to get all these projects done before Lincoln arrives and that means only two more months.  Ack!!!  I probably would have put this project off a bit longer, but my sister was out visiting recently and we got to talking about nursing covers and how expensive they are in the stores.  Ding! Ding!  Off to the store we went.  No, not the baby store.  We headed out to the fabric store to pick out what fabrics we wanted to use for our nursing covers.  I was determined to make our covers for way less than the store brand ones and just as cute and functional.

As soon as my sister left for home I got to work on our nursing covers.  I chose a modern neutral looking print of black, brown, and white, in a light cotton fabric.  I thought it fit my personality the best and would casually fit in while nursing in public.  My sister picked out a fun owl print in a light corduroy fabric.  I ended up sewing mine first so that if I made any mistakes on the test run then I would have them all figured out by the time I got to her cover.  I did find one flaw in the pattern I was using regarding placement of the neck straps, but I've made those changes on the tutorial listed below.  Are you excited?!?!  I am!  Let's get started.

What You Will Need:
(Qty: 1) Yard of Fabric (I like to use a light airy fabric so that baby can breath and won't get too hot and stuffy while nursing.
(Qty: 2) D-Rings (1-1/4")
14" of Boning (This comes in white or black.  Get the stiffest boning they have)
Thread in a Coordinating or Contrasting Color
Sewing Machine
Washable Fabric Pen

Step By Step Instructions:
- Wash and Iron your fabric.
- Cut your fabric into three different pieces.
     * 26"H x 38"L (This is for the main body of the cover.  Think about the direction of your print)
     * 30"L x 3"W (This is the long side of the strap)
     * 10"L x 3"W (This is the short side of the strap)
- Take both strap pieces and fold them in half length wise with the wrong sides facing out.  Iron the straps flat.
- Mark on one end of the longer strap a slight curve.
- Sew a 1/4" in along the open edge of each strap.  Make sure to follow the curve on the end on the longer strap.  Make sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end of each stitch so that your stitching will not pull out.
- Turn both straps right side out.
- Iron both straps so that the seam is in the middle of the strap.
- Place both D-Rings on the shorter strap.  Fold the end of the strap over the D-Rings and then back under itself to hide the raw edges.  Pin the strap closed close to the D-Ring.
- Sew the fold closed with a zig zag stitch.  Be sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end of your stitch.  Set the straps aside.
- Now grab the main cover fabric.  Fold the bottom edge of the cover over 1/2" and then iron.  Fold the bottom edge another 1/2" and iron again.  Now sew a straight stitch along the bottom edge of the cover a 1/4" in.
- Repeat this sequence with each of the two sides (the short sides) of the nursing cover fabric.
- Now fold the top edge of the nursing cover down 1/2" and iron.  Then fold it down 1" and iron.
- Find the center of the top edge of the cover by folding the whole cover in half.  Mark this point at the top of the cover with a pin.  Now measure 6" out from that pin on both sides and mark those two points with pins.
- Sew a straight stitch with a 3/4" seam allowance, between the two pins.  This will be 12" long.  Make sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end of your stitch.
- Feed your boning in through the 12" pocket that you just created at the center of the top of your cover.  Make sure it is centered.  Make sure that the curve of the boning is curving outward towards the front of your cover.  Pin the boning in place if it helps you to keep it from shifting.
- Now it's time to add the straps to your nursing cover.  First add the short strap.  Slide the end of the strap under the top fold of the nursing cover so that it overlaps the end of the boning.  It does not need to fully overlap the boning, but about halfway is good.  Just overlap as much as you can.  Make sure that the seam of the strap is facing away from you.  (Note: My photo shows this incorrectly.  My seam should not be showing).
- Now while keeping the end of the strap tucked under the top fold, flip the strap up over the fold so that the rings are now above the nursing cover.  Pin your strap in place.
- Repeat the last two steps with the longer strap on the other side of your boning.
- Using a straight stitch sew a box over the portion of the strap that is under the fold.  Your stitch will go over the boning but don't worry.  It's fine to sew over boning.  It will be a bit tough on your sewing machine though so take this step slow.  Make sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end of your stitch so that it does not pull out.  It will also be easier to go around the corners of your box if you stop at each corner, lower your needle into the fabric, lift your sewing machine foot, rotate your fabric, lower the foot again, and then continue sewing.  This will give you a clean corner turn.  Repeat this step with the second strap.
- Your final step is to sew the two sides of the top hem closed using a straight stitch.  Try to line up your stitch with the one you did in the center for the boning.

Voila!!!!  You have a nursing cover that looks awesome and cost you less than half of what you would have paid for one in a retail store.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and it inspires you to make your own nursing cover.  If you do sew your own cover, be sure to post a picture of it on my Facebook Page so I can see how great it came out.  Thanks for sticking with me through my journey and I hope you'll continue to stick with me through more of my Adventures In Fluff.


  1. I bought some of that corduoroy owl fabric from the fabric store the other day. I planned to use it to make a travel wet bag. It looks awfully cute as a nursing cover too...Good thing I bought lots of it.

  2. Hi, I just want to say THANKS for sharing your wonderful ideas! Something I will add to my own DIY nursing cover is a piece of terry cloth or flanel on the inner side so that I have a burp cloth integrated. :)

  3. I did see that a women like to add the pockets to their covers as well. I should have mentioned this in the post. I was going to put one on mine to hold my breast pads, but then decided not to at the last minute. Might add one next time. Thanks for reminding me. : )

  4. wow. thanks for this! very indepth and informative. i'll have to try it.

  5. I've thought about making nursing covers, too, and I keep wondering if a strip of plastic cut from a 2- or 3-liter soda bottle would work instead of boning. Any thoughts?

    1. That's a great idea! I've never tried it myself, but I'd be interested in hearing how it works out. I wonder if it would curl too much? Not sure.


Thanks so much for taking the time to show your support with a comment! I LOVE reading all of them and will try and answer any questions that you might have. :)