Woohoo! It’s February! I have been bubbling over with excitement about today for weeks now! Not only do I have the magnificent privilege of getting to work with Kristy and all of the incredibly giving Hopeful Threads followers this month, but I get to be involved in a project that I know is going to be a huge blessing to everyone involved, from those who contribute their sewing talents to the beautiful children and caregivers who receive these handmade gifts.
I was visiting with my friend, Heather, several weeks ago, and she mentioned that she was getting ready to sew some waterproof bibs to send to China with her daughter, Ransley. Actually, I think she simply asked me if I thought diaper-making PUL would work as a waterproof backing for the bibs that she was making. I thought it would be perfect and offered her some scraps that I had in a box in my garage. A few days later, she texted me about the PUL, and I called her to ask some more questions. The more I heard, the more I was sure that this was a great project for all you sewists who are so kind and generous about offering your time and talents each month to give to those in need! A quick email to Kristy and an even quicker response from her, and I was busy at work putting together everything that you would need to start sewing!
First, though, a little bit about the children who will be receiving your gifts. This is Ransley, above, on her last visit to the Hidden Treasures Home just outside of Fuzhou, China. Ransley is leaving in the next few months to go serve on staff at Hidden Treasures for the next few years. She shared with me that God showed her such peace, love and joy on her last journey there. The home is filled with children, many of whom have special needs, but it’s also filled with love and fun and hope. You can read many of the children’s stories and browse through photos on the homes’ official website right here: Loaves and Fishes International and the Hidden Treasures Foster Home. I urge you to take a few minutes to read about these sweet little ones.
When I asked Heather to tell me about the bibs she was sewing, she shared that she’d been asked to sew some when Ransley last journeyed to China. The older special needs children often need bibs to keep their clothing clean and dry, but larger bibs are harder to come by, especially in China. The staff at Hidden Treasures actually sent her a pattern drawn up on a paper bag and suggested that she sew them with cotton fronts and vinyl shower curtain backing.
Heather sent over about a dozen sewn that way, but she heard they didn’t hold up as well as she’d hoped. I was so excited to jump in and offer suggestions that I hope will produce bibs they will be able to use for years to come! And, after reading this inscription on the original paper bag pattern, I feel so incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to offer my experience!
Are you ready to get sewing?
I have two different bib options for you, but let’s start with a little about fabrics and notions. For the waterproof backing, I highly recommend diaper-making polyurethane laminate. You’ll find it labeled PUL in most fabric shops. (Natures Fabrics is offering a 10% discount on PUL for participants. Just type in the code loavesfishes1 when you checkout. You must only have PUL in your cart to check out with the code.) Rip-stop nylon is an alternative waterproof backing.
These bibs will be packed into spare suitcases for the trip to China, so they need to be absorbent, but not too thick. I’m suggesting sewing them with cotton woven quilting fabric or flannel on the front and a hidden flannel layer for a little extra absorbency without too much thickness. Please pre-wash all cotton fabrics.
One last thing, the staff at Hidden Treasures has specifically asked for bibs with no Velcro (or other hook and loop) because the children tend to rub their heads against it, and it can be irritating.The first bib pattern is a traditional tie bib. These work really well for the needs of the children at Hidden Treasures. (Now that this project has ended, this tie bib tutorial is no longer available, but be sure to grab my tutorial for the snap bib in four sizes here: The Bibs in All Sizes Tutorial.)
The second bib pattern is a snapped bib with a wrap-around back. These are very quick to make and great for both the needs of the children at Hidden Treasures and perfect for your little ones at home, too. (My favorite tool for attaching metal snaps is The Snap Source Snapsetter. It’s what I use for campshirts, pajamas, overalls, anything that needs metal snaps, and at only $9, it’s quite economical, too!) Just click this picture for the Snap Bib PDF pattern download.
Be sure to add pictures of your bibs to the Flickr album: Dinner for 2 Album. Thank you so much for giving your talents, your time, your stash, yourselves for these little ones!