best ever burp cloths

These are the absolute best ever burp cloths.  That’s a mighty statement, but I have the credentials to prove it.  I’ve had two kids that spit up.  Not just a little bit.  And not just a little while.  They both have gone through enough bibs and burp cloths that I do a load of them in the laundry once a week.  (It’s only once a week because we have so many.  Like dozens.  Probably 3 or 4 dozen.  No joke.)  My son spit up so much that my niece used to call him “Alex BLECH!”  Really.  I have experience with burp cloths.

IMG_6281If you’ve never had to think much about what constitutes a fantastic burp cloth, consider yourself lucky.  Also, I’ve done it for you.  Basically, you just want something really absorbent, reasonably large (but not cumbersome), something soft, and in a perfect world, something cute.

These deliver on all 4 counts.  And they’re the fastest baby gift you can make for someone.

Being a scientist, I approached the burp cloth issue with a hypothesis.  I predicted that the best burp cloths would be made from the most absorbent material, which was probably the cloth diaper.  Then I tested out my prediction.  Because these are the completely normal things that I choose to do with what little spare time I have.

I’ve tried other types of backing before that I do not prefer.  Thick cloth diapers are too cumbersome.  Layers and layers of muslin are too expensive.  One day, while strolling through Target (not an unusual occurrence) I spotted some flour sack dishtowels.  Ah-ha!  They were cheap and absorbent.  I brought them home with me.  And I used them on some burp cloths I made as a gift.  My co-worker said that these were her favorite burp cloths that she owned.  So I tracked them down again and decided to test it out.

Her accolades inspired me to try another kitchen-inspired material.  The bar mop dishtowel.  Crazy absorbent.  Why not?

I had my 3 top contenders.   The flour sack.  The cloth diaper.  The bar map.

IMG_6258I made them all and tested them for you!  
IMG_6273Results:  The bar mop was not as soft as I wished.  The cloth diaper was soft, and absorbent.  A very close second.  Given the price difference between the cheap flour sacks and the more expensive cloth diapers and very little difference in how they functioned, the flour sack came out on top.  Overall, the flour sack was my favorite.  We have a winner!

The front of these were made with Naomi Ito “Colorful Poncho”, a lovely double gauze (muslin). Gauze or muslin (the same stuff that Aden & Anais use for their fabulous swaddles) is an expensive choice, but such a luxurious one.  It is highly absorbent as well, so it works well.  My normal “everyday” choice for burp cloths though, is just quilting cotton.  burp clothsThese were a lovely little choice for the impending spring.  My Mind’s Eye “Unforgettable” in Blue.

best ever burp cloths

While there are numerous tutorials on burp cloth making out on the web, everyone makes their own a bit differently.  Here’s my quick and easy method.

Iron your fabrics.  (Honestly, Mom.  Pick your jaw up off the floor.  I really do iron before I sew.  It’s one of the few times in life that I feel an iron is necessary.)

Cut a 10.5″ x 16.5″ rectangle of cute fabric (quilting cotton or muslin)
Cut 2 –  10.5″ x 16.5″ rectangles of backing fabric (Room Essentials flour sack towels, from Target;  or Gerber flat fold birdseye cloth diapers, do not get the prefold variety)

Place fabric and backing fabric right sides together.  (There is no “right side” for the backing fabrics.  Essentially just put the cute stuff “face down” over top the flour sack.)


Sew around the perimeter, leaving an opening on one side.  IMG_6268

Snip your corners.


Pull the right sides of the fabric through the opening to turn correct side out.  Poke the corners (carefully, so you don’t poke a hole in the corner) with a chop stick.  Or don’t and let the corners be a bit rounded.


Tuck in the unfinished edge.  I actually iron again at this step as well.  Topstich around the perimeter.

That’s it!  Not so bad.

IMG_6265 A nice little stack of these is such a useful gift.  And with all of the adorable fabrics available, it’s a surprising cute one.  IMG_6270



12 thoughts on “best ever burp cloths

    1. oopiebelle Post author

      The flour sacks can be found on Target’s website through the link in the post above. The first set of fabric is the Bluebird Park line from Kate & Birdie Paper Co for moda. The double gauze is Naomi Ito for Nani Iro in colorful poncho blush. Hope that helps!


  1. Diane

    What are you going to do with the left over backing, since i see the towels are 30″ X 30″? Just wondering thinking i would cut the backing in half, but maybe not a good size burp cloth. I’ll measure it out and see. I was going to make a stack of burp clothes for two baby showers this weekend. A mixture of terry cloth and cloth diapers, but i may have a use for my Target gift card now and get those towels.


  2. Tracy

    Would a cute flannel work as the “cute” part of the burp cloth? I have lots of the flour sack towels & some cute flannel I was thinking of using … would be really soft & I think it would be absorbent??


  3. Pingback: New and Improved burp cloth DIY tutorial | the2bedroomblues

  4. jeanne

    Thank you for the post! I have been looking for a diy burp cloth for a while. I would like to mention that the flannel burp cloths are not absorbent at all and just smear the liquid around. I was given some for my baby shower a few months ago and they just don’t work. They are super cute though!! 🙂


  5. Sara

    You say to cut two of the pieces in the flour sack. Does this mean there will be two layers of the flour sack per burp cloth or is this so you can make two burp cloths?


  6. Stacey Deel

    I am making my own swaddle blankets and am wondering if the extra muslin I have will work for burp rags? It’s not big enough to do anything else with. Thanks


    1. oopiebelle Post author

      Yes, muslin (double gauze) works quite well. I’ve used some Japanese prints several times for the “decorative side” of these, but I’m sure plain would be fine as well for the more absorbent side.



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