I decided it was time to write a Nursing Cover Tutorial. This way everyone can create a lovely handmade baby-gift trifecta (along with the burp cloths and diaper clutch). Just think how impressive you will be at all those baby showers. This version isn't the snazziest, but it's fast, efficient, and let's face it: the baby is not going to care and the mom is probably sleep-deprived enough to just be grateful for something she doesn't have to hold up with her chin and keeps her baby from looking he/she's been in a sauna for an hour.
3/4 yard of pre-washed fabric. You could go longer if you're making this for a taller person. (Keep in mind that this baby accessory is actually for the mom. As cute as fire trucks and smiling, rubber ducks are for the little munchkins, mom would probably feel a whole lot more chic in a swanky, designer print. Whenever I see great designer fabric on sale, I always snatch some up and keep it handy for nursing covers.)
12" of Boning. This stuff is found at JoAnn's or any other store that carries a lot of notions. It can be found in the Notions aisle and is purchased by the yard. (I know this sounds kind of tricky and requiring extra effort. I felt this way myself at first, but seriously, it is SO EASY. The easy-effort : impress-your-friends ratio is amazing.) The first nursing cover I made I used 18" of boning and when I tried it out, I felt like I was sitting under a covered wagon. I found that 12" provides enough length to make the cover bow out so you can peek at your adorable little one, but not feel too big. This is all personal preference though. If you are making it for someone a little more well endowed, maybe you want to use a longer piece. By all means, use as much or as little as you desire. (One of the great parts of making something yourself! You can change things up when you want!)
A package of 3/4" D-rings. These are also found in the Notions aisle. I tried the 1" D-rings and felt like the neck strap got too loose and didn't stay in place, but again - go with what makes you happiest. The D-rings come 4 to a package and you will only need two per cover.
After you have washed and ironed your pretty fabric fold it in half length-wise (i.e. label-side selvage folded on top of itself) so that you can easily cut a strip off one side.
Cut a strip 3.5" wide off the selvage side for your neck-strap. (Trim selvage first.)
Put that strip in a safe place because you will need it again shortly.
You will now have a giant rectangle measuring roughly 27" x 39".
Get out your favorite slidy-ruler-thingy and turn the short sides of your rectangle under 1/4". Press. (Again, steam and a little spray starch will help a ton.)
Turn pressed edges over another 1/4". Press and I like to then pin.
Sew the hemmed sides down.
Repeat the process with the bottom hem, only turn it under 1/2" the second time and don't forget to back stitch at the beginning and end of your seam. (I know the slidy-ruler is kind of tedious. If you'd rather eye-ball it, go for it. I do. I've made so many that I'm getting pretty good at those hems.)
For the top seam, turn down 1/4", press, and then turn down again 5/8" or just wider than your boning.
Sew that hem in place, leaving the sides open so you can insert the boning.
Now pat your self on the back, because you are half-way done.
Now, take your 3.5" strip and fold it in half length-wise, sewing the edges together with a 1/4" seam.
Take your strap piece to the ironing board.
Roll the seam so that it's centered and press the seam open.
Now cut a 9" piece off one end of your strip.
Cut one end of the long strip on a diagonal.
Close the end with the diagonal cut with a 1/4" seam.
Carefully turn both strap pieces right side out.
Tuck all raw edges under about 1/2" and press.
Slide D-rings on the shorter strap piece and fold in half.
(I forgot to picture this part, but you can sew a seam right
underneath the D-rings to hold them in place.)
Now, slide the boning piece into the place you made for it in the top hem and center it.
Pin the two strap pieces your made on either side of the inserted boning.
These are going to hold the boning in place.
Put the shorter D-ring strap on the left.
Keep the seam on the longer strap facing the back of the cover.
Carefully sew the straps in place with a nice rectangle.
Don't forget to back stitch.
Clip your threads and you're done!
That's really all there is to it.
Please feel free to email me with questions or where the instructions need clarification. I want this tutorial to be around for a while, so anything I can do to improve it will be much appreciated.