This baby swaddle pattern and tutorial has been requested by many of our readers over the past few months. I have tried to make the baby swaddle pattern both easy to adjust and to sew. Hope you enjoy it and put it to good use either with your own family or as a gift for a friend.
I credit many more hours of sleep to the baby swaddle, a humble practice dating back to the discovery of linen –I am sure somewhere around 4000 to 4500 years ago. You can read more about why we use the baby swaddle by reviewing the article. Please have a look through and contribute to the many reader comments which are very informative.
My own earliest recollection of the swaddling practice was when I was very young. My mother was swaddling my baby brother using a very thin blanket. It looked to me at the time like she was wrapping up a birthday present. Surprised at what she was doing, I asked if she have had enough of him and was she giving the baby away? She quietly replied, “I'm only doing this so he can stop hitting himself and stop crying.” I could sense the edge in my mom's tone indicating that she was tired and needed to be left alone at that point.
A couple of decades later and I had my own baby. The first one could only be swaddled for about 6 weeks, after that he would become irritated and cry as loud as he could, so I stopped. When the weather got cold I got him to sleep in a sleeping bag with no arms and he loved that.
My second child was swaddled for about four months since she was premature and needed a lot more wrapping. The neonatal nurses at the hospital in Sydney highly recommended swaddling. Also, my mother, who had come to give a hand with the baby, reminded me that this simple practice would give me extra hours of much-needed sleep. Unfortunately, the commercial swaddles available then (15 years ago) were much too big, so I could only use a blanket. It did not help that my daughter was born in Australia and the babies there are usually pretty big. Once she was born, I simply didn't have the time to make a baby swaddle myself, but this is your opportunity to do it now!
In this design, I have tried to take into consideration that most babies roll at different stages and it is hard to make a one-size-fits-all. To try to address this, I have graded the pattern in two sizes. The smallest should fit a newborn and the larger size for bigger babies. You can also adjust the pattern yourself if you want. I hope you enjoy the project.
- Easy to make
- Graded in two sizes for newborns and larger babies
- Optional zippered bottom for easy diaper changing
- 1 yard of the softest Jersey you can possibly find, bamboo fabric or organic cotton combed jersey. I have included some suggested fabrics below.
- Jersey bias tape or make your own with this kit and our tutorial Make continuous bias binding tape.
- thread to match
- 16″ invisible zipper
- ball point needle
Suggested Fabric Options
Download the Free Pattern
Printing the baby swaddle pattern and cutting the fabric
Print the baby swaddle pattern in landscape. Use Adobe Reader and print using actual size. Do not scale.
Mark all the notches on the pouch. You will need them.
Take note: This baby swaddle pattern has the arms of different lengths for better wrapping. The left side is longer than the right.
Baby Swaddle Pattern Finished Measurements
The length measurement is without the head and width is arm span.
- Small: length 19″ x width 25″
- Medium: length 21″x width 27″
Step One: Attaching the invisible zipper to make the gusset
Both sizes use the same size zipper. The gusset size changes to accommodate.
- Two strips of Jersey fabric 15″ x 1 1/2″
- Two rectangles 6 1/2″ x 2″
- Two strips 15″ x 1″ stay knit tape
- Two strips of Jersey fabric 18″ in length and 1 1/2″ width
- Two strips 8″ x and 2″ in width
- Two strips 18″ x 1″ stay knit tape
This is a very easy way to attach the zipper. Just align the edge of the zipper tape with the fabric and use your invisible zipper foot. Just remember to pin the zipper to the sides that have the knit tape.
After you have sewn the zipper, cut the zipper to 15 1/2″. Do include the ends of the zipper.
We will add the rectangles to finish the gusset. Place the gusset (zipper) print side up and pin the rectangles to the gusset (zipper) print side down and sew at 1/2″. The length of your zipper should now be 14 1/2″ after sewing with the two seam allowances.
The length of your gusset with the zipper should be 27″ for medium and 25″ for the small.
Hide the zipper seam allowance with bias tape. Fold the other end of the gusset 1/2″ then another 1/2″and iron. There is no need to sew because the edge will be hidden.
This is how it will look from the inside.
Step Two: Attaching the gusset to the pouch
Lay the pouch piece print facing up. With wrong side together, align the center of the gusset with the lower center notch of the main body. Refer to the pattern.
Pin all around and sew at 3/8″. The seams will show on the right side, this is correct.
Apply bias tape so the seam edges will not be shown. Start on the side by pinning your bias tape on the front side of the pouch to 3/8″.Trim the seam allowance without the bias tape by half to reduce the bulk when sewing the bias tape the second time. Catch the back of the bias tape very close to the edge for best results.
Step Three: Applying bias tape before assembly
Apply bias tape to the arms and the neck. We will start with the arms. If you need a review on applying bias tape around curves, please review our tutorial called Use bias tape for a neckline or armhole facing, which illustrates the same process.
Place the arm wrap print side up.
Open the tape and pin the short side of the tape. Start on the left-hand side corner. Pin the tape all around it and sew at 3/8″. Remember: Right side of the fabric, place the tape facing down. Do not stretch the tape, it will cause the fabric to roll. Before you fold the tape to sew again, make a few nicks about every inch apart. This will help both the fabric and the tape lay flat. Fold the tape and sew.
Pin the tape on the right side of the fabric of the neck and sew. Fold the tape and sew again very close to the edge. Be careful your stitch will show on both sides, but the most important one is one the outside.
This baby swaddle pattern has a back seam for the shoulders. We can either apply bias tape there or use the serger to make the seam look good. For those of you without a serger, use zigzag.
Step Four: Sewing the arms and pouch to the body
In order to have a clean finish, it is important to pin both arms and pouch before sewing. Place the body of the baby swaddle print side down
Start with the arms and pin the longer arm to the left. This is the one that will wrap the baby first and have the Velcro outside. The shorter arm goes on the right and is the arm that wraps on top and closes the swaddle. Do not sew yet.
Pin the pouch to the main body, print side out. We will attach bias tape from the shoulder seams around the end of the pouch back up to the shoulder. Pin the tape right side down on the left side of the seam allowance. Continue around and to the other shoulder pinning continuous bias tape.
We still are not sewing as we're going to be joining the four pieces (two arms, pouch, and body) all at once. Now that everything is pinned together, sew the three layers together at 3/8″. Trim the seam allowance by half. Fold the tape back and sew from the front making sure you catch the other side.
Step Five: Adding the velcro referring to the baby swaddle pattern
We're going to be sewing Velcro in three places as shown on the pattern.
(As an alternative, if you could get hoop and loop fabric –it is a knitted fabric, rather hard to find and a bit expensive– you will be able to give this swaddle a softer look. It works well with the Velcro and I would use the hook and loop fabric instead of the loop part of the Velcro.)
Use a medium zigzag to sew the velcro.
This is the hook side of the Velcro is the scratchy side.
This is the loop side or soft side of the Velcro.
This baby swaddle pattern can be easily adjusted to the size of your bundle of joy. You may even choose not to use the zipper option if you want to make the project simpler. However, I found with my experience of two kids, that newborns hate diaper changes because of the drastic change in temperature on their body. Completely un-swaddling them to do the diaper change makes the already cumbersome task into an unpleasant one.
No one can tell you to use a swaddle. Only you can make that decision. For my experience, less crying and more uninterrupted sleep was enough to make me listen to my mother and nurse and use the swaddle.
I do not know if I ever said thank you to the Australian nurse that taught me how to swaddle my son, but I will now. If you, worked at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney in February 1999 and gave a hand with my baby, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I had a great time working on this baby swaddle pattern. As usual, I will look forward to your comments and ideas. That is what makes the pattern better and gives other points of view to the project. The hardest bit about it was to do the photoshoot with the baby…
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