Saturday, February 4, 2012

DIY Crib Rail Teething Guard

{Leave me a note you stopped by! Or let me know if you use the tutorial & send me a pic!}

Well, my little J-man has started pulling himself up to his knees in his crib... so since I had the material to make teething guards for his crib, I thought I had better get them done sooner rather than later! 

I decided to make my own because the cheap plastic ones don't fit the rails on my convertible crib and buying a cloth one is ridiculously expensive. I am oh, so very, pleased that I made the choice... even though it did take me a little more time than I initially thought it would! :-)

So, there are multiple tutorials for this online, but I didn't find any that included pictures and details for the way I wanted to make mine (specifically, with a layer to make it waterproof), so I took some pictures as I went so I could post a tutorial, too! (Here is the tutorial I kind-of went by when I made mine, FYI!)

I am extremely novice. In fact, this is the first thing I've actually made on my sewing machine! It took me quite some time to finish, and the first side is pretty messy, the other side quite decent, and the front quite amazing! I am very satisfied with the finished product.

I used: 
  • 2 yards cotton fabric of choice (2 yards of the polka dots was enough for the whole project, but I got 1 additional yard of another pattern, to make the side rails different and add a little fun :))
  • 1 yard quilted fabric (I chose double-faced for extra softness)
  • 1 yard PUL (to protect crib from moisture!)
  • Universal sewing needle and white multipurpose sewing thread.

1. Measure each crib rail from inside edge to inside edge and note these lengths. For the width, use your tape to wrap around your crib rail from bottom edge up and over to bottom edge, and note. I ended with 50.5" x 12.75" for the front rail and 27" x 7.75" for the side rails.
Add two inches to each measurement for the final dimensions, and cut your decorative fabric and PUL to these dimensions.

2. Cut quilted fabric to either the exact dimensions you want to end with, or just under. I cut mine exact, but decided by the end that the way I decided to sew my project, it was easier to have it just under, so I trimmed it for the remaining panels. (Explained further below).
To save money, I used only 1 yard of quilted fabric, so I had to sew together two pieces for my front rail - remember to account for this seam when cutting out your fabric.

3. Make your ties. Fold in half lengthwise, stitch along the long side and one short side, turn right side out, and press. (You can also press before stitching to make stitching easier.)
I made enough for 4 bows for each rail, one for each end and two for in-between. Each bow/knot will need two ties, so I made (12) 3" x 20", and (12) 3" x 10". I followed the dimensions of the blog linked above, and in the end I wish I would've either made my in-between ties longer or shorter. (Longer to make a better bow or shorter to just leave ends hanging from knot.) 
Also, I made the end ties to tie around my posts, that's why they are so long. You can make all the ties the same length and tie them all down under the rail, if you'd prefer! I saw some pictures of them this way, and really like the clean look this gives.

Here's my little man enjoying my ties I left neatly pressed and piled on the couch. He was sitting in my lap eyeing them, so I stood him at the couch to go at 'em.

4. Sew quilted fabric to PUL (sew to shiny side, so that dull side will lay against crib rails). I did it this way so that this inner layer would be held in place, but I wouldn't have to sew through it the entire time as I sewed each edge, and I wouldn't have to sew through all the layers at the end and have the reinforcement lines showing through the top pretty layer! 
Cutting it to exact dimensions was my first choice, but I ended up sewing on it a bunch that way, so I trimmed it for my remaining pieces, so that it would end up just inside my one-inch hem stitch all the way around.
I initially sewed through it with 4 lines the width of the fabric, but realized that was not ideal, so the rest were done with 2 simple lines the length of the fabric. Much better.

5. Baste ties in place according to where you want them to fall when you tie them on your crib. (Don't forget to account for the extra inch on the end of your fabric when measuring in!) I actually did a full stitch across each tie and didn't remove it, for extra strength. Make sure you put the ties in the correct direction on the correct side. I did it wrong the first time & stupidly didn't realize til I was ready to pull my project right-side out... and had to rip a lot of seams! :-)
Here are my ties, basted to the dull side of the PUL (opposite the batting). Again, I made my end ties so that they would stick out of the end to tie around my posts.

6. Place the right side of your pretty fabric against the right (dull) side of the PUL, (also hiding your ties). Pin fabrics together and sew, leaving the one inch hem allowance all the way around. Make sure to leave a gap to turn it all right-side out! Be careful not to catch any ties! I pinned my ties down at first to avoid this, but found those quite pokey when turning the thing right-side out, so I didn't do that again :-)

7. Turn right-side out. Pulling on the ties makes this easier, I found.

8. Close your allowance. You can do a topstitch to do this, which will show, or an invisible stitch - I found this great tutorial here that I used on my front rail guard. You could also topstitch all the way around for added durability and cuteness. I'm not that great at sewing straight, so I opted not to do that :-) 

On the first one, I forgot to put the end ties inside, so I zigzagged them to the outside, so those stitches plus the closing stitch showed. On the second, I stitched the allowance closed with a topstitch because the material was so light and the thread barely showed anyway. On the front one, I quite successfully did the invisible stitch. You can see one little thread showing, but that's it! Yay, me?!

Here's another picture of the finished product! Lil' man loves it. I'll add a picture of him putting it to the test sometime. In this picture if you look close you can see some untied bows... he likes to chew on the ties, too :-)

Now to complete the crib skirt!

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