Teething Crib Rail Covers - Sewing Tutorial

Baby M is dropping his second nap most days, but his first nap is usually only a couple hours after he wakes up and by the time mid-afternoon rolls around I'm ready for a break. Baby needs to nap! So on Saturday I put him down in his crib, gave him his lovey, L.E., said goodnight, shut the door and hoped he'd fall asleep. When I peered at him on the video monitor ten minutes later he was quietly standing at the side of the crib, facing the door. Quiet is never good.

When it dawned on me what he was doing, I bolted up the stairs to find my baby, with his one tiny, just-popped-through tooth, gnawing away at the side of his crib. Complete with white paint in his mouth. Bugger!

I used half a roll of masking tape to secure a towel to the side of the crib for the night and on Sunday sewed a set of crib rail covers to match the rest of his nursery. I made a set of four and in total spent about 5 hours on them, including time spent hunting around for what I could use for ties. It was a fairly straight-forward project and because I was able to space the ties out to fit our specific crib, the fit is much better than the covers available in stores.

Crib Rail Covers - Sewing Tutorial

1. Measure each of the four rails of your crib from the inside - if you measure the outer dimension the rail covers you make will be too long. On my crib I made two matching short covers and two matching long covers.

The inside edges of our short and long crib rails are 27.5" and 51.25" respectively

2. Measure height of rail - our rail is just over 4" high, double this number so the guards wrap around the entire rail. If the top of your rail is quite wide, add this measurement in too. (I ended up making them a touch shorter just so I could use fabric I had on hand.)

3. Measure for placement of ties - with your tape measure at the inside edge, measure to the first or second opening between crib slats - you'll put the first tie at the very edge, so depending on the spacing of your slats, you may need a tie at the first one like I did, or farther down.

The edge of my first slat opening on the short rail is 3.5" from the edge.

Continue measuring to the edge of every other slat (I put ties at nearly every slat on the short ends where he stands to watch the door). On the short end I measured 3.5", 8.5", 15.5" and 24". On the long end I measured 9.5", 17.25", 25.25", 32.5" and 40.25".

4. Count and cut ribbon/ties - I used double faced satin ribbon leftover from our wedding for the ties. Count one piece of ribbon for each tie (you'll cut them later.) I needed 28 ties for all four rail covers.

Cut each of your ties 24" long with an angle cut (this edge will be hanging down on the finished bow)

Fold and cut each of the ties in half with a straight cut (this cut will be on the inside of the bumper.)

5. Cut fabrics - I used a cotton quilting fabric for the outside and a quilted/pique fabric with a little padding for the inside. You could add a layer of waterproof PUL to the inside, using this technique from the baby bibs I made last spring.

Take your measurements from above and add 1" all around for seam allowances and cut matching sized pieces of facing and lining fabric for each rail cover
  • My short rail cut fabric was 28" x 9" 
  • My long rail cut fabric was 52" x 9"

6. Pin ribbons to lining fabric - the most important thing to remember when pinning your ribbons down is the 1/2" seam allowance at each end of your fabric! Add 1/2" to all of your measurements and then pin your ribbons down on the RIGHT side and facing into the CENTER of the backing fabric.

Given the placement measurements above I pinned my ribbons at .5", 4", 9", 16", 24.5" and 28" on the short side covers and .5", 10", 17.75", 25.75", 33", 40.75" and 51.75" on the long side covers. 

7. Stitch down ribbons - using a 1/4" seam allowance, stitch down pinned ribbons

8. Pin ribbons to right side of backing fabric - sewing your facing fabric to the backing, pin the ribbons in two or three places to the center of the backing fabric so that you don't catch them when sewing the fabrics together.

9. Pin fabrics together, right sides facing - be careful not to snag the ribbons that you've pinned out of the way.

See, the ribbons are tucked inside:

10. Stitch around all four sides with a 1/2" seam allowance - leave a 3" opening on one short edge for turning. Be careful that you don't catch the first ribbon that you placed 1/2" from the edge.

11. Clip corners

12. Turn right side out and press

13. Top-stitch around edges & burn ribbon edges to keep from fraying - I used the gas stove top to ever so slightly melt the edges of the ribbons to keep them from fraying.

14. Tie to crib - tie to the crib so that the bows are on the outside of the crib. First tie in a double knot, then tie a bow, if desired

15. Toss a teething toy or two or twelve to keep your baby's teeth razor sharp.

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  1. Anonymous2/19/2013

    I'm so impressed with this! And you'd never know that it has a purpose other than looking cute. Love it when practical and cute merge.

    Though I don't have kids yet, I can see myself referring to this tute in the future. So, guess what time it is? Pin time!

    The Thinking Closet

  2. Excellent! Thank you so much for posting this! I just had a similar experience with my son. I've been thinking he's just happy standing at the end of his crib until I actually looked and see all his lovely little teeth gouges in the end of the crib. Tomorrow I'm off to buy me some fabric; so glad I found your blog! And yup, I pinned it too. :-)

  3. Can you do a more detailed tutorial I am trying to do this project right now and am still a little confused email me Raina.fernandez0124@yahoo.com

    1. Raina, which step are you having trouble with?

    2. Never mind is actually just finished mine tonight and it came out great for my first one!! I was really pleased and it was a fun project I just need thicker ribbons for the next one! What size ribbons did you use?


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