Nursing Cover Tutorial

I made a nursing cover this week. Actually I made two because my friend is having twins.

HAHAHAHAH!!! Just kidding. “I’m going to be an aunt.” “OR an uncle!!” “Pivot! Pivot!”

Okay, so I made two nursing covers out of the same fabric for two different dear friends who picked out the same fabric from links I sent them!!

I’ve made my fair share of nursing covers, and have used them a significant amount myself, so I wanted to share my favorite way to make them. My pattern base is Prudent Baby’s DIY Nursing Cover, but I’ve added some touches that I think make this one extra special. They are an easy sew for yourself or as gifts. I personally love to give these as gifts because they are for the baby, but also for the mother, the fabric can be totally to taste, and they are something useful for many months. Follow the steps below to make your own.

What you need to make your own nursing cover:

  • One yard of quilting weight fabric
  • D-rings
  • 14″-long piece of boning
  • Small piece of terrycloth or cotton chenille

Nursing Cover Tutorial, Step-by-Step

Cut your fabric:

what you need to make a nursing cover

Cut pieces of your main fabric in the following dimensions:

  • One 38″ x26″ (main piece)
  • One 3″x10″ (for one strap)
  • One 3″x30″ (for the other strap)
  • One triangle about 7″ long on each of the square sides

Cut the same size triangle out of your terrycloth or chenille

Sew the straps:

Sew each of the strap pieces in half with right sides together and then turn right side out. Tuck a bit of the raw edge in on one short end of the strap and make it as even as possible.

Iron the straps flap, positioning the seams in the middle of the back side.

Topstitch around both long sides and around the short side that you tucked in. Topstitching wherever possible really gives your pieces a finished, professional look.

Slip the D-rings onto the finished end of the shorter strap, fold over, and sew in place. I like to sew a little rectangle to make sure this stays nice and secure.

Assemble the built-in cloth piece:

What really makes this nursing cover nice is the little cloth on one corner. It’s great for discreetly tucking away that nursing pad and also for wiping any little milk dribbles on baby or… elsewhere.

Take your triangle pieces and lay them together with right sides facing. Sew the hypotenuse together. WOW!!! I used geometry!!!!!

Open up and turn wrong sides to face each other. Iron flat. Clip of the extra little tippies. Topstich.

Extra-fancy tip: Fit your sewing machine with two different color threads if appropriate. I was using black as my main thread color, but I didn’t want black stitching showing on my white cotton chenille. So I adjusted my bobbin and main thread colors so that black thread would be on the houndstooth pattern and white thread would be on the chenille.

Hem the main piece:

Next, take your big piece of fabric, fold in 1/4″ and iron and then another 1/4″ and iron. (You could fold over both times in one step if you can be accurate and careful doing it that way. I’ve burned my fingers a few too many times trying to be accurate.) Do this on both short sides and one long side. (When you get to the corners, you can always fold a little triangle in to keep the edges nice and neat.)

BEFORE YOU SEW, grab your triangle piece and tuck it into one corner. I tuck mine into the left corner, if the main fabric is face down. Pin.

Sew around all three ironed sides.

Finish built-in cloth:

To sew a pocket into your built-in cloth (and also to keep it tacked down nicely), measure three sides of an even square on the chenille and mark with pins. Sew along your markings (of course taking your pins out before you hit them with your needle).  Again, match your top thread and bobbin thread colors to coordinate with your main fabric and your chenille.

Insert boning:

Head back to your iron and iron down an inch of fabric on the remaining long raw edge. Fold down another inch and iron again. Fold the nursing cover in half to mark the middle of this edge and measure 7″ out from the middle on each side. Mark with pins and sew between these two pins along the bottom edge (the one closest to the inside of the fabric).

Get your piece of boning and scoot it into this tube.

Sew perpendicularly at either end of the boning. I recommend catching the edges of the boning with some stitches if it’s sewing machine safe (NOT if it’s metal boning) to keep it from twisting around.

Attach straps:

Tuck the unfinished edges of your straps under the ironed hem, wrong side (the side with the seam showing) down, along each side of the boning. Fold the straps up so that their right sides are against the ironed down hem. Pin in place.

Finish sewing all around four edges of the hem, skipping the bottom 14″ already sewn when you put the boning in. When you’re done, go back and sew a square with an X in it where the straps are attached to the main piece.

This will strengthen this area so it doesn’t come loose even when it’s stressed through yanking and pulling from chubby baby hands and kicking happy little nursing feet. =)




  1. There seems to be a typo. Project says to make two 3×10 straps, which seemed odd to me at first because they weren’t listed in same sentence, like “make two 3×10 straps.” Then later it says to slip D-rings onto the shorter strap. And in the photos one strap is clearly shorter. So are they both 3×10? If not, what size is the other strap? Thanks!

    • Shifrah Combiths says:

      Hi there! I’m so sorry, you’re absolutely right, there’s a typo there. It is corrected now: one strap should be 3″x10″ and the other should be 3″x30″. Good luck with your project!!

  2. Sarah Helene says:

    I’d read this tutorial last spring 2013 & didn’t comment. But recently a friend’s daughter delivered a baby and she asked me if I had seen a pattern for a nursing cover. Then I recalled this & told her the site. So I’m certain she’s using your excellent directions with accompanying photos. TAHNKS. Sarah Helene in Minneapolis

  3. Linn Polydoris says:

    This is SUCH a great tute. Making a couple for my daughter-in-law. I’m gonna be a grandma OR grandpa ;). Thanks so much for writing and posting this. I had no clue what I was supposed to make until I read through your wonderful tutorial.

  4. Janice Jones says:

    I like this but I think I would rather have a divided pocket that runs the entire width of the bottom of the apron. That way not only could it hold nursing pads but a burping cloth and wipes as well.