April 30, 2012

Toddler Bib & Smock Pattern

I have always loved the idea behind the terry bibs made of hand towels that slip right over the child’s head, much like this one: 

The only problem? My kids all have ginormous heads, so making a neck opening large enough to accommodate their colossal craniums makes it so the bib hangs down too low once it’s on, and food invariably winds up getting on their clothes beneath. That totally defeats the purpose of donning a bib in the first place, don’t you think?
The last time my mom came for a visit, she and I determined ourselves to come up with a pattern for a terry bib that would fasten in such a way that it would keep clothes entirely protected, but would also be cheap, easy and fast to make. Today I’m sharing the bib we came up with, which is actually a perfect hybrid of a bib and a smock. 
Note: This pattern is sized at a 2T (it fits my 28-pound 2-year-old perfectly), so if you are wanting to make a bib for a smaller or larger child, I would recommend printing the pattern pieces off at smaller or larger scales until you achieve a fit that works for your child. If you want to make a bib larger than the size of the original pattern, though, you will either need to use a larger towel or some store-bought terry fabric.
For this project, you will need…

  • PDF Toddler Bib and Smock Pattern (available for download below)
  • Computer and printer
  • A 16×26-inch hand towel
  • 1 package extra-wide double fold bias tape
  • Coordinating thread
  • Washable ink marker
  • Basic sewing supplies: machine, shears, etc.


To begin, print off and assemble the PDF pattern according to the directions on the pattern pieces. When printing, make sure to print with no scaling. The grey box on each printed piece should print out to precisely 1 inch. 
Fold your hand towel in half lengthwise, and place the assembled pattern on the fold to cut out your bib body piece. When cutting, be sure to cut all the way around the shoulder flap portion of the pattern piece (piece 1), even though it might look like it is aligned with the fold. This will form the back opening of your bib.
Apply bias tape to the entire perimeter of your bib body to bind the raw edges. (The way the bib is constructed makes it possible to apply one continuous line of tape to bind the entire bib. So simple!)

Once the bias binding is stitched, transfer the small rectangular markings on the shoulder flap and side of the pattern piece onto the binding portion of the left and right sides of the bib. 
Lay the bib face down on a flat surface, and fold the left shoulder flap of the bib back so that the rectangular mark on the shoulder flap is aligned with the rectangular mark on the left side portion. Pin into place. Stitch together with a .25″ x .5″ rectangle, stitching through the binding, and anchor the rectangle additionally with an “x” stitched at the center to further reinforce this area. Repeat on the right side of the bib.

Use a snap setting tool to apply two snaps to the back flaps of the bib, right at the point where the two flaps overlap. I found it helpful to mark the location with a washable ink marker to ensure I set them in just the right spot. (You can check out my tutorial for setting snaps here.

You are finished!
The end result is perfect for protecting clothes at mealtime, but it makes a terrific art smock, too!

I love the fact that this fastens with snaps in the back, making the task of putting it on and taking it off so easy!
And, in the spirit of keeping it real, even adorable models like Miss Cecily here tire of having their photo taken. 😉
To download the pattern pieces, click on the icon of the arrow with the line below it in the bottom right-hand corner of each box below. If you’re enjoying this post in a reader or via email subscription, you’ll have to visit this post for the download.
**Edited on 1/27/13 – If you are having trouble accessing the download boxes below, you can click on the links below to be taken directly to the download pages:


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31 Responses to Toddler Bib & Smock Pattern

  1. Amanda @ Serenity Now May 1, 2012 at 12:42 am #

    How cool that you can make your own patterns! Your daughter is absolutely adorable, and I love the bib/smock. My kids have big heads too. Natalie is the reason why I have to have C-sections!! 😉

  2. Remodelaholic May 1, 2012 at 2:14 am #

    Amy- I LOVE these, I need to make some and I bought some towels a while ago- that is as far as I got, I can’t wait to try your pattern! Pinning!

  3. kirstin & tricia May 1, 2012 at 6:21 am #

    LOVE LOVE LOVE. Piper Jane needs one immediately. And probably Burke too! 🙂 Way to go!

  4. Kara May 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Oh my gosh, this is just what I needed. Rachel is outgrowing her bibs and I kept meaning to come up with a bigger pattern. Now I can just use yours. You rock Amy!

  5. Jennifer Curtis May 2, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    this is super cute and handy Amy! Love this, and is I were a better sewer I would try it in a heartbeat. 🙂

  6. Meghan Nebeker May 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    I absolutely love this idea and would love to make one but I’m having a hard time finding where I download the pattern. Can you help me with this?

  7. Meghan Nebeker May 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    Nevermind. I was able to figure it out. For some reason it didn’t pull up the download on my iPad. Thanks again for the adorable idea.

  8. Amy July 21, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    I really love these! I so badly want to make one for my daughter, but can’t get the pattern to show up!!! Ugh! Any tips? I’ve tried several different computers and it’s not working. Can you email it to me?

    I also didn’t find the second post about the bias tape tips you referenced. Do you have a link to that as well?

    Thanks so much for an adorable idea!

    gabrielsgoodtidings AT gmail DOT com

  9. Lauren November 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    I am SO thrilled to have found this!! My children also have ginormous heads, and the other tutorials out there just don’t enable me to make bibs that work for my kiddos. Looking forward to trying this out!! Thanks so much 🙂

    • Amy @ Positively Splendid November 6, 2012 at 8:20 am #

      You are so welcome, Lauren!

  10. Grandma Deb November 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    Absolutely love these bibs for my grandchildren!

  11. Grammy C November 30, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    Thank you for the pattern – I love it – and just made one for my dear 2 1/2 year old granddaughter. I chose a Christmas patterned cloth and lined it with a solid rather than a towel with bias tape. I had blue velcro which matches the cloth so used it instead of snaps (although I do love snaps). I also made mine a little longer just to cover more since she is such a great little helper in the kitchen!! Thank you so much for sharing your talent with all of us.

    • Amy @ Positively Splendid December 1, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

      Hooray! I am so glad to hear you could put this pattern to good use. I love the idea of using Christmas fabric! What a fun gift idea for little ones. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience with me. 🙂

  12. Joan December 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    I would love to make your bib for my twin great grandchildren. But don’t know how to download the pattern please help me

  13. Loretta December 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    I love this bib, but cannot down load the pattern. Could you help me with this please?

  14. Emily J. January 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    I’m also having trouble with finding the pattern download. I would love to make one of these for my little one’s first birthday this weekend. I’m a little worried about the smash cake! Can you help?

    • Amy @ Positively Splendid January 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

      Hi, Emily! Are you by chance using Firefox as your internet browser? I know of a few folks who are having issues seeing the download box (it is a large box that should appear at the bottom of the post). If you can, try using a different browser (I use Google Chrome), and if you can’t get it to work that way, I’ll be happy to email it to you. 🙂 This would be perfect for a first birthday!

      • Emily J. January 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

        If you could email it to me that would be great. I’m using IE8, so maybe that’s the problem. Can you email it to emilybreedingjones AT gmail DOT com? Thanks so much!

  15. Barbara January 24, 2013 at 3:56 am #

    I would also love to have the bib pattern, but cannot download it. Would you please e-mail it to me? Thank you.

    • Amy @ Positively Splendid January 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      Hi, Barbara! I just emailed a copy of the pattern pieces to you. Thanks so much!

  16. Nita January 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    I am fairly computer savy, but no matter what I have tried, I cannot download this pattern. I did print it with not problems but cannot get it to download no matter what I try. I have IE 7 as well as Google Chrome.

    Love the pattern. Thanks.

    • Amy @ Positively Splendid January 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

      I am so sorry for the issues some of your are experiecing with this download! Does the download box not appear on your screen at all, or will it just not respond when you attempt to click the arrow button with the line below it in the bottom right-hand side of the box. I use Chrome as my browser, and I just was able to grab the download successfully. I don’t know if this will help, but here are the direct links to the pages where the pattern pieces are located: https://www.box.com/s/45e4c247bf5b793d6a26 and https://www.box.com/s/f0e59671a696db29904a Thanks for your patience!

  17. Aimée March 8, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    Love these! I made two…one exactly from your pattern for my 14 month old, and enlarged it for my 4.5 year old! My 14 mo old likes to wear it for dressing up, so cute!

    I blogged about it (and linked to your tutorial!)


    • Amy @ Positively Splendid March 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

      Your smocks turned out fabulous! So glad you could put this pattern to good use. Thanks so much for sharing!

  18. Gina March 9, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    I will be making them for my infant classroom in the child care center where I work …bib’s are so expensive and too small for learning self-feeding 🙂

  19. Gina March 9, 2013 at 4:24 pm #


  20. JAN April 2, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    I do lots of sewing raising money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and am always looking for new ideas. This looks a great, and easy, pattern so will certainly be trying this one. I have also printed a reduced size as I only have patterns to make small bibs or childrens aprons, this is a great one for the ‘inbetween sizes’. Many thanks for this.

  21. Kate May 4, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    absolutely perfect! I work with a special needs little boy who at 6 still requires a bib for eating, this was just what I was looking for….time to grab a couple hand towels and get to work!!!! Thank you!

    • Amy @ Positively Splendid May 8, 2013 at 6:33 am #

      Kate, I am so glad to hear you will be able to put this pattern to good use! It makes my heart happy! Thank you so much for the comment.

  22. JAN January 29, 2014 at 5:41 am #

    I have now been making these for a year now and can’t make them fast enough. They are one of my best sellers on my craft stalls and get lots of great comments about the style.

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