Directions for making adult bibs

Written by annmarie keller
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Directions for making adult bibs
Adult bibs make caring for ageing or ailing loved ones easier. (old woman image by Alexander Raths from

Caring for an elderly, ailing or physically handicapped adult loved one can be a daunting task. It is hard work emotionally, physically and at times financially. It would be nearly impossible to care properly for a person without access to necessary items, such as bibs that make mealtime less stressful by making cleanup a lot easier for the caregiver and the patient. A regular terry cloth towel with a little modification makes an inexpensive, washable and functional adult bib that protects even the legs of the wearer.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Bath towel
  • Large plastic coffee can lid
  • Marking pen
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Seam binding or bias tape, comes pre-folded in packages
  • Ball end straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Velcro

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  1. 1

    Lay out the towel lengthwise on a table or work surface.

  2. 2

    Center the lid of the coffee can 2 to 4 inches from the edge of one of the narrower ends of the towel.

  3. 3

    Use the marking pen to trace around the entire lid of the coffee can, onto the towel. After outlining the lid, use the ruler to trace two straight lines from the centre of the circle out to the outside edge on the narrow end of the towel, making the lines 2 to 3 inches apart.

  4. 4

    Cut out the circle marked by the coffee can lid by starting and ending with the outside lines traced to the end of the towel. This will create a full circle with a gap, which will accommodate the bib being put around the neck.,

  5. 5

    Measure and cut the appropriate length of seam binding or bias tape to line all cut edges of the towel. This length is usually 14 to 16 inches. The seam binding or bias tape gives the bib a more finished look and prevents the towel from fraying over time.

  6. 6

    Slide the cut edges of the towel between the pre-made folds in the seam binding or bias tape. Pin the seam binding or bias tape along the edges, ensuring that the pin goes through the tape on one side, the towel in between and the tape on the underside, and back up through to secure. Make sure the ball heads of the pins are toward the outside for ease in removal while sewing. Pins should be placed approximately 1 inch apart.

  7. 7

    Sew the seam binding or bias tape onto the bib with the sewing machine. Be sure to adjust the tension to accommodate the bulkier towel fabric. Remove the pins as you sew, being careful not to run them over with the needle of the sewing machine.

  8. 8

    Cut a 12-inch length of thread and then thread the needle by putting the thread through the eye and pulling it through until both ends of thread are even in length. Make a large knot at the end of the thread,

  9. 9

    Cut a piece of Velcro in the desired length. At least 1 inch is necessary, but it can be up to 4 inches if you would like the closure of the bib to be adjustable.

  10. 10

    Separate the two halves of the Velcro tab and sew one half onto the outside edge of the left side of the bib opening. Use a basting stitch because it is the easiest to use with the Velcro. This is done by inserting the needle through the bib and the Velcro, pulling the thread through all the way until the knot stops it, and then putting the needle back through again to the other side every 1/4 inch or so. Do this around all edges of the Velcro with a few stitches in the centre.

  11. 11

    Sew the other half of the Velcro to the inside of the right bib edge, using a basting stitch as you did on the first piece of Velcro. The finished bib will have one edge of the opening that will have to be laid over the other end of the opening in order for the Velcro to connect.

Tips and warnings

  • Use heavy towels for bibs, because they will last the longest and be the most versatile. Choose colours that are bright, not dark. This could help with the mood of the person being cared for. Buy full-size towels for the best coverage. If a bib is needed for a larger adult, a beach towel will work if a bath towel is too small.

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