It never takes a new parent long to discover that, second only to diapers, the most indispensable item of clothing in a baby's wardrobe is the bib. With a protective dickey safely in place at feeding time, the great cleanup battle is half won . . . and a busy adult can save a whole lot of precious time.
Of course, most department stores offer good selections of baby bibs, but they're often skimpy and/or expensive. Moms and dads can improve on the design and give a personal touch to their young one's clothing by combining an old-timey recycling trick with a little imagination. When my son Keith began to get messy at meals, his grandmother made him a delightful, very usable bib . . . and I wasted no time in picking up on the idea!
Grandma's baby-protector was made from a terry-cloth fingertip towel, so it's not only soft and pretty, but much larger than the average baby bib. You can find fingertip towels (the size is somewhere between that of a washcloth and a hand towel) in most bath and linen departments for as low as 89¢. Or you can simply cut the appropriate size from an old kitchen or bath towel.
To make the tot napkin, cut a hole a bit larger in diameter than the baby's head that starts about 2-1/2 inches from one end of the towel. Rim the opening with a piece of stretchy rib knit (purchased at factory outlets or flea markets or cut some off an old turtleneck) that's just slightly shorter than the circumference of the hole. Then fold the knit band back over the terry and stitch it down.
When pulled on over a baby's head, the handmade bib will completely cover endangered clothing and protect the tot's lap and shoulders . . . and you can wash the tiny apron over and over again.
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