When I finally began to sew for Baby Sister's new room, crib bumpers were the very first thing on my list. Truthfully, I thought bumpers would be fairly hard to make, and I figured that if I found the project insurmountable, I could still swallow my pride and take my bundle of materials to a seamstress. I was surprised to find that they were totally doable--even when I didn't feel well!
I had our old, boy nursery bumpers and the accompanying pattern (they were made by a seamstress--I didn't know how to sew back then), but after looking at them a bit, I decided the design needed some editing. A quick Google search turned up several tutorials for bumpers, but all of them used pre-made bumper pads instead of batting and required (because of the pads) a six panel design instead of the four piece strategy I'd already used to cut my polka-dotted fabric. And though I'm not a fan of fluffy, pillowy bumpers, I found the pads to be too skinny and to feel sort of like cardboard to the touch. SO, I drew out a design for a piped bumper pad with ties that wraps all the way around the crib's interior (no sections) and was surprised to find that the sewing was fairly simple--kind of like making one long pillow.
Now, having said that, I will admit that there are a lot of pieces to cut and attach, and that can be a bit time consuming. I went the long route, constructing my own piping and ties, because to me, getting the look exactly how I wanted it was worth the extra time. You could, however, dramatically reduce the work by purchasing your own trimming and making the ties from pre-made bias tape. You could probably also reduce your time by not being enormously pregnant and having to take breaks every hour or so:).
I'm glad I invested the extra effort, because I love the way they turned out. The bumpers are soft, but only about an inch thick (so nice and safe, by my standards), and the contrasting piping gives them a clean, tailored look. They also fit the crib tightly, so baby girl won't be able to play with them or pull them away from the rails as she gets older. The best part, though, is that they don't require a pattern. Just a few easy measurements and several rectangles of fabric. Are you convinced? See below for the full how-to. And then check out the crib skirt!
Happy Tuesday, friends!
- 8 pieces of bumper fabric sized 41 x 10 inches (if my calculations are correct, that's about 2 yds of 45 inch wide fabric)
- 28 pieces of trim fabric sized 12 x 2 inches to make the ties. These dimensions result in ties that are a half an inch wide.
- Roughly 10 yds of bias-cut fabric strips in your trim fabric, 1 and 3/4 inches thick. If this confuses you, see below for the directions on making fabric piping. Altogether, I used less than 2 yards of the trim fabric for the piping and the ties.
- 10 yds of piping cord (I bought mine at Hancock's)
- Extra-loft polyester batting. I purchased a queen sized package (batting is typically used for quilt-making, so the packages are designated by bed size) and cut batting into 8 pieces sized 81 x 9 inches. You'll see below that I used these pieces to construct a four-layer stack of batting, which made a bumper approximately 1 inch thick. I'm sure you could accomplish the same thing in a variety of ways--this was just what worked best for me.
- Standard sewing supplies, including a zipper foot for your sewing machine.
- Crib measurements. Draw a picture of your crib and measure/mark the corners as well as the exact places where you want your bumper to tie to the crib slats. Record the distances between the places where you want each tie.
Place strips end to end so that the triangular tips extend just over one another, as pictured below. Pin.
Now, sew a straight line parallel to the ends of your two strips as pictured below, so that you avoid the overhang.
Press open and trim. Repeat this process until you have two long fabric strips at least 160 inches long (each).
Now, fold your fabric strips over the piping cord and pin securely.
Using your zipper foot, sew the piping cord into the fold of your fabric strips. Sew as close to the cord as you possibly can.
And, voila! Yards of beautiful piping--so much prettier than the store-bought variety, don't you think?
2. Make the ties. Begin by folding the two ends of your 12 x 2 inch fabric pieces about 1/2 inch and press (ignore the crease in the photo below).
Now, fold the long edges inward, so that the edges meet in the middle of your fabric. Press.
Fold the whole thing in half lengthwise.
Sew all the way around the open edge of your tie (everywhere except the fold), stitching as close as possible to the edge.
Repeat until you have 28 ties.
3. Make the crazy bumpers already. Begin by sewing your 41 x 10 inch sections of bumper fabric together end to end so that you have 2 long pieces of fabric, each made with four sections. Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Pin one of your piping pieces to the top of the right side of one of your bumper pieces. The raw edge of your piping should line up exactly with the raw edge of the bumper fabric.
Now, go back to those crib measurements. Use a tape measure to place and pin ties in stacked pairs along the top edge of your bumper, remembering to add a half inch for seam allowance at either end of the bumper. For example, the head board of our crib is 28 inches wide, so I placed the first two ties 1/2 inch from the end of the bumper and the second two ties at 28.5 inches. The ends of your stacked ties should line up with the raw edge of your piping.
Using your zipper foot, sew directly over the stitches on your piping all the way along the top of your bumper.
Repeat this process along the bottom edge of the bumper piece.
The front of your bumper will now look like this.
4. Close and stuff the bumpers. Lay the piped bumper piece on top of the un-piped piece, right sides facing.
Using thread that matches your bumper fabric (I used white), sew again over the piping stitches on one of the long edges of the bumper (not both).
Also sew both short edges of the bumper sandwich with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Turn the sandwich inside out and press. We're getting so close!
Now, get out those eight 81 x 9 inch batting pieces you cut. Use a zig zag stitch to sew them together in pairs (1/2 inch seam allowance) so that you have four long batting pieces.
Stack all four batting pieces as precisely as possible and stuff them inside the bumper.
Now use your zipper foot to sew the folded edge to the piping. Stitch as close as possible to the fold.
And can you believe it?? You're done. Go tie that beautiful bumper to your crib and enjoy the results of your hard work! And come back for a tutorial on the crib skirt. You'll be thrilled to hear that it's a MUCH faster process:).