Dimensions of some baby items from Doper parents, please?

Hello all–my husband and I are gearing up to start a family, and since I like to sew and knit, I want to make some things like baby blankets, burp cloths, etc. I know it isn’t economical or practical to be making fancy burp cloths, but you know, babies aren’t economical or practical either…

Anyway, I am wondering what the ideal dimensions are for the blankets and the burp cloths. It seems that a lot of patterns assume blankets will be 36" x 36". The fabric I’ll be making them from comes in 44" widths, though, which tempts me to make them a generous 44" x 44". Would this end up being inconveniently big?

And about burp cloths–is it better to have them bigger or smaller? On the one hand you don’t want to be lugging a big blanket of a thing around on your shoulder, but on the other hand, I’ve heard my cousins with babies rave about the extra-big burp cloths from Target.

Also, changing mats. Like the kind you stick in a diaper bag, so you have something to put between the germy shopping mall bathroom changing station and your precious snoogums’ toocus. What size is good for that? Yes, I’ll be making it from laminated fabric for convenient wiping-clean.

Lastly… what’s with the baby legwarmers? Are they really that great?


A few 44" X 44" blankets would come in handy, the large ones are great for draping over the baby seat/carrier when taking baby into the grocery store on a windy day or to throw down on the floor as a play area when visiting. They wouldn’t be as handy for wrapping a newborn in that papoose style, but a variety of sizes is a good thing in blankets.

I was recommended getting swaddle wraps/bunny rugs as big as possible - so I bought muslin wraps in 120cm squares (I think that’s around 47"?) which has not felt too big. So would think your 44" should be fine.

I crocheted a baby blanket for her cot, which is roughly 33"x42", based on the fairly standard sized cots here in Australia.

In terms of burp cloths, Baby From Mars is only 8 weeks and not really producing huge amounts of stuff, so we are happily using small handtowels (22x15") and face washers (30cm sq ~ 12") from Ikea.

Our changemat came with our Skip Hop nappy bag, and it folds into 3 to fit. It’s 12x23", folding to 12x8". It has a little velcro sewed on to keep it closed when folded, which is a nice touch, if you are looking for design ideas. It’s a good size for changing in bathrooms/on my lap in the car, but you could go a little bigger if you wanted, as she’s still a newborn.

Prefold diapers make great burp cloths. The vinyl mats I had for under the baby, either on my lap or in the crib, were about 12 inches square. I bought a yard or so when I made some for my DIL to use with my grandson. All I had to do with those was cut them. I know you can buy birdseye diaper fabric, but I haven’t priced diapers in a long time, so I don’t know if they would be worth the price to make some, either fitted or standard prefold.

I like a receiving blanket to be about 40" square or so. Easy to use for swaddling and put down on the floor as a play or tummy-time mat.

A 44" square “blanket” made out of the lightest possible cotton is invaluable for swaddling a biggish baby in the summertime. If your child is going to be around 3-6 months old during the summer, I would definitely hem up some cotton squares for this purpose.

I have:
2 large floor blankets (for tummy time, learning to roll, etc)- one crocheted in thick wool, one made from quilted cotton. One is 37’‘x49’’, one 35’‘x40’’.

3 light fleece blankets for the pram and car seat- one tiny (15’‘x20’’) one big (35’‘x35’’) one medium (25’‘x25’’)

2 wipe clean nappy pads- one for home (changes on the living room floor when going up to the bathroom is going to result in too much mess and time) and one for the nappy bag. Both are about 15"x20" and fold up.

20 or so muslins- all 26" square. These are invaluable- bibs, emergency nappies, blankets, emergency clothing (yes… a baby toga has been required when all the spare clothes got dirty), swaddling wraps- you name, it these will do it.

1 small knitted blanket- 15"x20"- just big enough for the moses’ basket, and now sucked on and cuddled for comfort
Bibs aren’t really important until teething and weaning- IME any vomiting that occurs in the early days is so projectile that a bib would be useless- irishbaby frequently managed to puke on her feet. Draping yourself in a muslin during burping and wiping up afterwards is about the best you can do.

You need multiples of everything- as at some point everything will be in the laundry. If I were you I’d concentrate on pretty borders or some embroidered motifs on lots and lots of items, rather than one or two totally elaborate blankets or shawls that might end up in the laundry basket 30seconds into their first outing.

I don’t know if this is helpful or not, but baby sick is white and baby poop is a lovely yellow/orange colour…you might want to think of colour schemes that will cope with those stains!

Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

Yes, I am just putting quilt-binding type borders on pieces of cotton flannel, right now. Most of it is then a nice big open space, ready for aggressive laundering. My mother says that she kept my cloth diapers un-stained by soaking them in borax before washing them, so I’m counting on that still working now, thirty years later.

I had seen burp cloths made from prefold diapers, before. I’ll do some of those next.

I actually have some burp cloths made from prefolds that a Doper sent me after my first kid was born, and we’re still using them all the time for post-meal cleanup (he’s two now). I made lots and lots of two-layer cotton jersey burp cloths, not fancy, but very absorbent and didn’t need hemming.

I made two biggish changing pads, about forty inches by forty-five, and bound them with bias tape. They served as waterproof sheets in the bassinet and we still use them for changing. And they’re very washable.

If you like to sew, and after you’re pregnant, I recommend looking up tutorials on altering clothing, particularly pants and jeans, to make your own maternity clothes. I’m currently seven and a half month pregnant, and wearing a top I made and a pair of jeans I altered after the damn maternity pants fell down too many times. Also maternity clothes are insultingly expensive for the amount of time you spend wearing them.

I’m cloth nappying BFM, and while the wash will leave traces of baby poop, a couple of hours on the line in sunlight bleaches them right out. No need to use much detergent or any napisan/bleach/other. I know line drying is not as common in the US, but it’s well worth it for stains if you get them.

Will do. I’ve bought a couple of cardigan sweaters lately, rather than pullovers, with that in mind. Also, I saw someone extending the button of her jeans with a hair elastic. That seemed clever. And the fold-over yoga pants, I have determined, are actually second-trimester maternity pants.

Hanging clothes out to dry is indeed not the norm in the US and in a lot of neighborhoods, neighbors would complain. Ours is a Wild West kind of neighborhood, though, so it might be worth trying to swing that, just for diapers. I could hide a line behind the next-door neighbor’s ginormous camper, for instance.

I was in Joanne Fabrics when I was pregnant, bored out of my mind waiting waiting waiting. (Cashier - When’s the baby due? Me - Last week!) I bought pieces of pretty 45" flannel and took them home and made big squares. I must say, they were invaluable for swaddling the little bundle of joy like an (open ended!) burrito, as a light blanket on a cool summer day, as a ground covering - many uses for a long time! (We got loads of little blankies, burp cloths, etc. but the big squares were really useful). If I’d known I needed so many bibs, I think I might have spent some time making them, not that bibs are expensive! but it would have killed some of the waiting time.

44" length on a blanket would be nice, however I’d stick to a 36" width since a crib mattress is about 36" wide.

Me- I spent most of my second and third trimester in empire-line tunic tops and dresses over tights or leggings and bought very little “maternity” wear other than 2 pairs of jeans and 1 smart dress.

You could totally adapt patterns for flowy tunics and kaftans- they’re actually quite flattering to pregnant ladies if belted under the boobs (my arms and legs were the bits I still liked when I was heavily pregnant).

If you get around to bibs, the best ones I ever had were made from some hand towels. A friend cut neck holes at about the 3/4 mark in the length and sewed knit ribbing around it. They were big enough, easy to use, and sooo easy to wash. Now, she made them cute, with appliques and such, but you wouldn’t really need to do that. I suppose you could do the same thing with terry cloth fabric, but then you’d have to hem. Or at least finish the edges. I’m trying to remember (it’s been a while) but I’d guess they were about 9 by 14 or thereabouts.