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Stylish Baby Nursery: Crib Bumpers in Two Cool Fabs

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Padded bumper pads for your crib are a nursery must have. Not only are they beautifully decorative, they keep your little darlin' from bonking her pretty little head. We chose a strong, graphic pattern for the inside of the bumpers, because the baby experts say that's what babies love to look at.

These instructions generally follow the instructions that come with the Fairfield Baby Bumper pads recommended below. For more information and where to buy visit poly-fil.com.

Our sample was made for a baby girl's nursery, using the stunning Patty Young Andalucia collection. For information on where to buy, read Stylish Baby Nursery: Designing Bold Colors & Patterns. This article also includes suggestions for creating an alternate fabric palette that would work well for a boy's nursery.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • Fairfield NU Foam® Baby Bumper Pads - package of six measuring 10" x 26" x 1"
  • Fabric for inside of six crib bumpers: 2 yards of 45” wide fabric: we used Patty Young's Andalucia in Petal Jester.
  • Fabric for outside of six crib bumpers: 2 yards of 45" wide fabric: we used Patty Young's Andalucia in Petal Flora
  • Fabric for piping around bumpers AND corner ties: 1½ yards of 45” wide fabric: we used Patty Young's Andalucia in Fire Tiny Dots
  • 6 yards 3/8" diameter cotton cording
  • All-purpose thread in colors to match fabrics
  • Iron and Ironing board
  • See through ruler
  • Fabric marking pen or chalk pencil
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Corner template (see download below)
  • 5" square piece of cardboard or template plastic for template (check your local craft store for stencil material)

Getting Started

Cut your fabric and trims

  1. Download the corner curve template and trace it onto a piece of cardboard or template plastic. Cut out.
  2. Cut six 27" x 11¾" pieces of fabric from both the Petal Jester and the Petal Flora (six pieces from each fabric). (Note: To make this amount of fabric sufficient, cut 11¾" pieces along the 45" edge of the fabric.)
  3. Using the template you made, mark a rounded edge on each corner of each 27" x 11¾" piece of fabric. Cut the rounded corners. Using the original template pattern (the paper), transfer the markings (the dots) onto your fabric using the fabric marking pen. I like to make a tiny hole with a pin right in the middle of the dot, then I line up my pattern on my fabric and make a mark with my pen through that hole.
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  4. For the ties, cut twenty-four 15½" x 2½" pieces from Fire Tiny Dots.
  5. Cut six 30" lengths from cording.
  6. Cut six 2¼" wide bias strips according to the instructions below. Each will need to be about 30" long.

Cut your bias strips

  1. On your cutting surface, lay your fabric out flat, right side up, with the selvage running along one side.
    Diagram
  2. The selvage is the woven edge of your fabric where it was originally attached to the loom. The fabric's pattern does not continue onto the selvage, but there is likely to be some information printed there that identifies the manufacturer or designer.
  3. Fold the fabric back diagonally so a straight edge is parallel to the selvage.
  4. Press the fold and use this crease as a guide to mark your parallel lines.
  5. Use a straight edge to make continuous parallel likes 2¼" apart.
    Diagram
  6. Cut along these lines with good, sharp scissors or a rotary cutter and straight edge.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Join bias strips

  1. You may need to join two strips to make one that is the necessary 30" long. To do this, take two of your strips and place them right sides together at right angels to each other.
  2. Stitch straight across.
    Diagram
  3. Lay flat, press the seam open and trim off the overlapping edges.
    Diagram
  4. Repeat until you have one long fabric strip.

Insert the cord

  1. Place one 30" bias strip right side down on a large flat surface.
  2. Lay a 30" length of cord in the center.
  3. Fold the fabric over the cord, keeping the cord centered and matching the raw edges of the fabric.
    Diagram
  4. Pin to hold in place.
  5. Carefully move to your sewing machine and adjust the piping so the raw edges line up on your seam allowance marking and cord pokes out to the left of your foot.
    Diagram
  6. Using the Zipper Foot, stitch slowly staying close to the cord and keeping your seam allowance consistent. Remember to remove your pins as you go so you don't sew over them.
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Stitch cording to bumper fabric

  1. Pin cording to the right side of a 27" x 11¾" piece of Petal Flora fabric. Using the dots you made with the template, start pinning the cording at the large dot in the center of left curved edge, stretching along the 27" straight side, and ending in the center of the curved edge at the large dot on the right side. Be sure to match the raw edges of the piping insertion fabric and the base fabric. Your cording should be centered between the dots.
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  2. Stitch in place using the zipper foot. You are stitching around a curve so you'll need to gently ease the fabric, which means it might ripple slightly. That's okay.
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  3. Repeat to add cording in this same manner to all six 27" x 11¾" Petal Flora pieces.

Make the ties

  1. With right sides together, fold a 15½" x 2½" Fire Tiny Dots fabric strip in half lengthwise.
  2. Stitch ¼" in from the edge along the long edge and across one end. Stop with your needle down at the corner, lift your presser foot, and pivot 90˚ to make a nice clean angle.
    Diagram
  3. Trim the corners, being careful not to clip into your seam.
    Diagram
  4. Press the long seam open.
  5. Turn the strip right side out. You've made a fairly narrow little tube, so you'll need a little help turning it. My favorite way is to use a large safety pin. Attach the safety pin to the seamed end and make sure the pin is securely closed. Then, pushing the pin backwards, wiggle it in on itself. It will take just a second to get this going, then you can keep wiggling the pin backwards until it comes out the other end. It's just like a snake shedding its skin, but not as creepy. Finally, slip a small knitting needle or other slim, dull pointy object up inside the tube and poke out the corners so they are nice and sharp. Janome machines come with a cool little lint brush, the other end of which is perfect for this task.
  6. Press the tie so the seam runs nice and straight along one long edge. We can leave other short edge unsewn, because this will not be seen – it will be sewn into the bumper.
  7. Repeat to finish all twenty-four ties in the same manner.

Finish the bumpers

  1. Pin a tie to the side of a Petal Flora piece, with the right side of the fabric facing up. Use the template to determine where to put them - you will pin them just below the small dot on the upper corners and just above the small dot on the lower corners. Pin them so the unfinished edge is matched along the edge of the Petal Flora Fabric.
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  2. Stitch the ties in place.
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  3. Repeat on all six pieces of Petal Flora.
  4. With right sides together, and ties and cording on the inside, pin a Petal Jester piece to a Petal Flora piece. It's very important that you make sure your ties are all facing in and free of the seams.
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  5. Stitch along THREE sides using the zipper foot. On the top edge, stitch slowly and as close to the cording as possible. On the edges without cording stitch using a standard ½" seam. You may change to a regular foot if you are more comfortable sewing with this on these edges. Leave one short edge open for turning and inserting the bumper pads.
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  6. Turn the cover right side out so the cording and ties pop out... ta-da!
  7. Insert bumper pads into the cover.
    NOTE: It will help give you a nice snug fit if you use the corner template to round the corners of the foam just as you did with the fabric panels.
  8. Turn under the seam allowance so your seam edges are flush to one another, and slip stitch the opening closed.
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Hints and Tips

You may find it easier to insert the bumper pads if you place them in a plastic bag before doing so. This will allow them to slip more easily into the covers. Be sure to do this so that the bag can be removed after the pads are in the covers.

Contributors
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Aimee McGaffey
Instructional Editing: Alison Newman

Other machines suitable for this project include the Pfaff Select 4.0 and the Bernina Bernette 92c.


Results From Our Readers

Submitted by Rachel in Idaho
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Submitted by Veronica in Hayden, AL
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Comments (171)

bertrem said:
bertrem's picture

do you have patterns and instructions for an oval crib (stokke) for bumper pads, sheets, dust ruffle, ect

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ bertrem - I'm sorry, we don't have any tutorials featuring an oval crib.

vmatyga said:
vmatyga's picture

I am planning on making two sets of the crib bumpers for my Grandchildren who will be here in November/December.  The fabric I chose comes in 44 and 60 inch width.  Your instructions call for 45 inch width, will the 44 inch fabric work, or should I move up to the 60 inch fabric?  I have never made anything before this project and am very excited to make this.  Any recommendations?  Thank you!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ vmatyga - 45" is kind of code for 44-45" which is the standard width for most quilting weight cottons. You should be fine with your 44" option. 

Jamelle said:
Jamelle's picture

love the mobile hanging over the crib. Is it made or bought? If it is made, can I get the pattern? if it is bought, where can I purchase? I am planning to make these bumper pads for our grandaughter.

Thanks

 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Jamelle - that is not a mobile; it is just a grouping of simple paper lanterns. I don't even remember where exactly we got them - as this project is from quite a while ago. However, paper lanterns are available many places - especially this time of year - from party to variety to garden stores. 

Erinb24 said:
Erinb24's picture

It is completely irresponsible to have this tutorial.  Bumpers are a SIDS risk and the American Academy of Pediatrics has completely advised against using them.  I can't believe they are still in stores.

Jenn Espinal said:
Jenn Espinal's picture

To say that is its irresponsible is basically your opinion. I am sure the risk of SIDS is likely when your baby is not able to roll from side to side or sit up. My son is 1 and is constantly banging his head against the rails and I want some cushioning in his crib and I don't see anything wrong with having bumpers. I don't understand why some parents are quick to judge other parents. To each its own.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

For the recent commentor @Kate

Thanks for this get tutorial, I tried to make the bumpers with my first baby and hated the way the seam showed on the top of the bumper so opted to make them the old fashioned way with regular batting, lets just say I wanted to kill myself. I love the idea of the piping to cover the seam and add a finished look. I am going to attempt to use ruffled fabric on the top instead to make it more feminine; I will let you know how they turn out

Do you also cut the bumper padding to make the rounded corners?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

Sorry - we had to delete your original comment due to all the strange formatting that posted with it. Good luck on your bumpers. And, yes, if you read through our instructions, you'll see that we use the corner template to round the corners of the foam inserts.

Stephanie P. said:
Stephanie P.'s picture

Hi there!  I was wondering if you had an updated version or a new link for the pdf. file for the rounded corners?  I clicked on the link but nothing showed up.  :)  Thanks!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Stephanie P - I just tested the .PDF link for the rounded template and all works great from this end. So... that means it's something on your end. Make sure you have the latest version of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, that your browser is set to allow downloads from a website and to open a new window. And, sometimes it takes a little patience. Depending on traffic, the PDF can take a bit to load. If all else fails, you can do what I always do, close and restart my browser... and sometimes restart my entire computer. Happy New Year.

Cherri said:
Cherri's picture

Hello.  I just saw my daughter's crib for the first time and the back is solid.  No place to tie the bumpers.  I can tie them together in the middle, and of course at the ends,  but somewhat concerned about doing it that way.  Any suggestions for this?  Or I am being over cautious?

Amy Cranford said:
Amy Cranford's picture

Hello Cherri, You can tie them in the middle where it would look the same as in the tutorial. And you can also by Velcro. They have ones with the sticky side. You can put that onto the headboard and then sew the other side onto the back of your bumper. That way they don't fall over when you have them tied together in the middle.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Cherri - Sorry to be dullwitted, but I don't think I'm visualizing this correctly. Is it the headboard and footboard that are solid? If so, you should be fine as they are designed to have just one pad across the head and foot and then tie in the corners. Along the sides, the two pads tie in the middle. I apoligize for perhaps not understanding the question.

Cherri said:
Cherri's picture

Hi Liz,

No the front, and headboard, footboard, have slats.  It is the back of the crib that is solid.  Or maybe I am not describing it right.  When you stand in front of the crib, like you were going to pick the baby up, and face the back, the back is solid.  Or maybe I should say, the front side has slats and the back side is solid.  That may make more sense.  So is it safe enough to just tie the two side pieces together in the middle?  I was envisioning tying each pad separately to the posts.  I also remember, back in the day, that the whole thing was sewn together!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Cherri - ah ha! I think I get it - you could certainly make one or both side pieces as one unit. In fact, if you scroll through the many, many ... many comments on this particular tutorial, you will find some folks toward the beginning who talk about how to do these as continuous panels. If you're experienced, I'm sure you could also figure it out yourself ;-) - it's just making one piped sleeve rather than two.

Sydney said:
Sydney's picture

Hi! I am getting ready to make these for a friend of mine, who is having twin GIRLS! Only issue is, the cribs are mini-cribs. Do you have any advice onto how to amend this tutorial and the cuts of fabric to fit in them? The dimensions for the mini crib are 38.13 " H x 28.63 " W x 40.0 " D. Any advice you happen to have would be FABULOUS! :)

1hotsoccermom@gmail.com 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Sydney - You best bet would be to do exactly what I'd do in this situation, take my trusty tape measurer to my friend's house and measure the sides and ends for myself... or ask her to do that. Then, using the dimensions shown above for each of the pads, reduce the width and height to match your friend's cribs. There isn't any magic formula unfortunately :-)... it's just math and working with those dang fractions. The only additional thing I'd suggest is to try to keep all the sections the same size if possible as it is above - so divide your total perimeter by 6 and see if that works as a starting point. And for the fabric, remember to account for your seam allowances and the piping... although the piping is "smush-able" and the ties help with final little adjustments.

Sydney said:
Sydney's picture

Hi! I am getting ready to make these for a friend of mine, who is having twin GIRLS! Only issue is, the cribs are mini-cribs. Do you have any advice onto how to amend this tutorial and the cuts of fabric to fit in them? The dimensions for the mini crib are 38.13 " H x 28.63 " W x 40.0 " D. Any advice you happen to have would be FABULOUS! :)

1hotsoccermom@gmail.com 

Melinda said:
Melinda's picture

I'm going to be making this without the piping for a friend of mine.  Is there a difference with the seam allowance on the top for this?  I hope that made sense.  :)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Melinda - The piping adds to the outside rather than the inside, so the seam allowance can remain the same. Have fun!

Colynn said:
Colynn's picture

Great tutorial!! I am a beginner for sewing and I was able to follow this without any problems. I am totally in love with my finished project and so glad I could make a bumper out of materials that I liked! Thank you!!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ S Smith -- so glad your daughter is happy. Thanks for sharing your picture... it's just fine!

S. Smith said:
S. Smith's picture

I will send additional once I get all the pieces finished for it...next the crib skirt and the end of the month the quilt.

S. Smith said:
S. Smith's picture

I would like to post the finished product in a couple of weeks. Does anyone know how that might be done?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ S. Smith - our comment fields are not set up to accept photos. We are working on options to add a visitor photo gallery in the future. In the meantime, many folks put a link in a comment that goes back to a blog or a photo bucket of some sort, which allows us (and other visitors) to click on the link and view your finished project. Have fun!

sorry to say said:
sorry to say's picture

these are very cute, Understanding that it is NOT recomended to put ANYTHING in babies bed including bumper pads :( Babies can get face burried in pads and suffocate. I DO LOVE THE DUST RUFFLE THOUGH.

pediatric nurse said:
pediatric nurse's picture

This is so gorgeous, but remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against bumpers because they have been shown to greatly increase the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

RebeccaW said:
RebeccaW's picture

Actually I've looked into the study that led to the APA "ruling" and it is due to 12 or something infant deaths in a 20 year period. Don't get me wrong, that's terrible, but I consider it more of a fluke for those poor families than a dangerous bumper pads. I think as long a s moms use their best judgement in the first days of rolling over. Be not able to roll back, the bumpers are perfectly safe. 

Also, I think that the long strings on mini blinds are terribly dangerous, but you don't see those being categorically blacklisted. Just resist the temptation to add pretty ribbons to your bumper pads! :)

Grandma Susan said:
Grandma Susan's picture

I'm a Grandma preparing my shopping list for supplies to sew these bumpers for my daughter in law.  I mentioned that I made them for my babies years ago. She wants me to make them, and has told my son whom is serving in Afghanistan that as well.  Pressure!   I do confess, the fabric choices now are amazing!  A far cry from the chambrey blue calico of the 80's.  I will post the requested Zebra print pads upon completion!  Wish me luck

S. Smith said:
S. Smith's picture

I have one question: How does the front part of the crib go up and down with two of the bumpers meeting and tying at the middle of the slats. When my girls were babies (over 20 years ago), bumper pads were straight across.

I wrote the question as best as I could but it might still be confusing. Sorry.

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

The side rails of the crib, no longer go up and down.  Regulations now require that the side remain fixed in place so the babies do not get their head stuck, if the side were to slide down unexpectedly.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ S. Smith - the other commentor is correct, the cribs with the moveable sides aren't readily available. In addition, bumpers are traditionally used with the mattress in the highest position - when it is the easiest to simply lift the baby out of the crib. Most of the time it is recommended that bumpers be removed when the babies become more mobile (and larger, therefore, requiring the mattress be moved lower) so they are not used for climbing or pulling.

S. Smith said:
S. Smith's picture

Thanks everyone. I feel so old. I didn't even know that the crib sides no longer went up and down LOL. That solves my problem with worrying about that. If the concern is that babies can get stuck, then these types of bumpers would be better than the ones I used with my daughters because they are not one solid piece going all the way across. I got the pads in the mail today. These are very sturdy. I think everything will be fine with the baby until she is old enough to begin chewing, which is when I took my daughters' pads out.

Grandma Susan said:
Grandma Susan's picture

In June 2011 drop side cribs were declared unsafe. (all my children survived!).  I believe the additional sections allow for ties to keep the pads from collapsing on the baby.

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

Ok this may sound dumb but I am assmbling the bumper sections and ties now and if I'm reading this right each section is seperate and only attached by the ties is that correct? I made a bumper before and simply attaced each section so that all 6 sections were attached but there were also the ties to attach to the crib would I be reading the instructions wrong or in this tutorial would the ties be the only thing attaching the  sections?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

Yes, each section is separate and the ties are used both to tie the sections together and tie them to the crib.

NancyCM said:
NancyCM's picture

I have a question regarding the amount of fabric needed if we choose a pattern that has a design theme that runs horizontally meaning it would fit perfectly in the bumper sections and run perpendicular to the crib slats - just like the bumpers.  Your directions are very clear and easy to understand but this reference "cut 11¾" pieces along the 45" edge of the fabric" -  has me questioning how much fabric to purchase.  Does this mean that when the fabric is layed out to be cut that the six sections for the inside and outside pieces would be cut perpendicular to the selvage or parallel to the selvage?  We are purchasing fabric online so I cannot physically see it to ensure that we will have enough.

Thanks!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ NancyCM -- cutting the panels parallel to the selvedge gives you the most flexibility, however, you can also cut the perpendicular to the selvedge to accomodate a directional print, but you have less than 2" of leeway - you'd have to cut one right on top of the other and be super exact. If that is what you feel you'll need to do for your print, you should probably try to get 1/8 to 1/4 yard extra.

Emily Morris said:
Emily Morris's picture

Someone may have already asked this, but I didn't see it. Once you turn the ties right side out, how do you get the safety pin out??? I can't get to mine. :( Did I do it wrong?

JulieG said:
JulieG's picture

I had trouble with the safety pin too, so I ended up turning mine right-side-out using the handle of a long thin wooden spoon...... I just pushed the tie onto the handle and pulled it right side out. It maybe took 10 seconds per tie, and then I used a knitting needle to make the corners nice. Much easier for me than the safety pin!

Megan Shears said:
Megan Shears's picture

Does the batting inside the bumper pads turn when washing them since there is no stitch to hold them in place? 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Megan Shears - the bumpers are designed so the pads are a very snug fit inside - so there really shouldn't be any twisting in the laundry. As with all pillow type products, you wouldn't want to wash them on ultra-high spin cycle.

Megan Shears said:
Megan Shears's picture

I am probably just over thinking this too much, but I have cut and now sewn the piping. I am pinning it to the other fabric and it is much longer than where the directions say it should be. The directions say it should lie between the two large dots and itgoes wellthat that. Does it matter if it does go past? Should I trim them to fit between the dots? 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Megan Shears - the side of the fabric should be 27" and your length of cording should be 30" - so it may extend a little bit past the dots, but it shouldn't be a lot. 30" is just enough to go along the top with about 1-1/2" to round the corner on each side. Make sure your sizes are right. And, yes, you can trim your cording if need be. 

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