I won't lie. My day to day life is now a bit more damp than I would like to admit to or think about. One baby drools a lot. Three babies combined, drool a ridiculous amount. We already have a lot of laundry, and with the beginning of the drooling age, my laundry numbers have the chance to go way up. Bibs are a reasonable solution, but I can never find ones that I like. I spend all of this time picking out their outfits and getting them dressed, to cover them up with a bib feels wrong. For a long time, there was no solution. Bibs were my fate.
Cue my friend Anne. She is mom to two lovely littles. I ran into her at the Somerville Fluff Festival and noticed that her kids had these REALLY cute little bandanas on. When I commented on them, she told me about the magic of the drooldana. She mentioned that she'd gotten them at Buy Buy Baby. They were damn cute, but taking the number of babies I have hanging around into considerations, I'd have to buy a million of them to make a dent. In situations like these, my first thought is almost always "I bet I could make that".
I considered the function on them.. two layers of fabric that will be absorbent enough to catch their drool, but not thick enough to strangle them or make them look like they're wearing turtlenecks. I went to a local craft store and picked up a few regular cotton bandanas. At first, they can be a little stiff, but after a few washes, they become nice and soft. I picked 2 for each baby. One in the traditional bandana design, and one in what looked to be a mock Batik print. I looked at a few fabric stores, and the terry cloth they sold by the yard was too thick. T-shirt material seemed too thin.. What I ended up settling on was some receiving blankets they came home from the hospital with. I grabbed the ones they were swaddled in on the morning of their release, the hospital put some in bags for us to take, and they also had them rolled up to put into their carseats. The trio was so tiny when they came home, that they practically swam in their carseats. Rolled up receiving blankets helped give them some padding, and now I have a million of them hanging around.
I gathered all my supplies and started cutting. One half of a bandana is too large. I ended up cutting them in half while they were folded the triangle way. I figure the middle part could possibly be used later for a baby headband or a quilting project of some sort? To make sure it is the right length, you can fold the edges down and kind of hold it up to your baby's neck to get an idea of what would be too short, and what would be too long. Some babies, like my second baby, have chunky little necks. It would have been a bummer and a waste of time to make them too short.
Another tip for making your cutting easier is to trim the sewed edges off of the receiving blankets and iron all of the fabric you are using. I am usually pretty lazy about some steps, but ironing always seems to pay for itself in terms of making sewing projects more simple. The other thing that I can recommend is pinning the fabrics you are going to sew together.
Once everything is cut, place the two pieces of fabric that you are going to sew together face to face. There is a definite front and back to the bandanas, and you want to make sure that whatever you are using is face to face. When you sew them together, you also don't want to completely close everything off. Leave one corner open, in this case one of the tails that will be at the back of the drooldana. You will want to do this so they can be turned inside out and get the faces of the fabric to where they are supposed to be.
Once you've got them all turned right-side out, you're going to need to do two things. This is probably the trickiest part of these super simple creations. You'll have to sew up the corners and then add a strait stitch all the way around the edge to both help seal the corner and give these things a bit of stability. Again, using pins to help hold those edges together while you tuck the corner in a bit will help make them look more polished and save yourself a bit of headache in terms of not having enough fingers to hold it all together.
There are many ways you could finish these off with a closure. I would not recommend using the tie method because, if your baby is choking, undoing a tie could take too much effort and time. You could also use snaps. While I like this idea, I'm not sure it would have worked for me mostly because I've never done it before and I don't have the time to dedicate that much time to this project. I ended up choosing good ol' velcro. I did not have time to make it to the fabric store to get the type that you sew on, and the craft store didn't carry it. I'm trying something new with this velcro that advertises itself as "no sew". These things are going to go through the wash a million times, and while the package says that it'll stand up to washing, I'm not entirely convinced. I'll give it a try for now, and if it does come unattached, I'll just run over it with my sewing machine. I will say, this velcro was very sticky to start with so try not to get it stuck to your fingers, and maybe also use a crummy pair of scissors that you aren't overly in love with.
Attach the velcro, give it a good press, and ta-DA!!! You've got your very own drooldanas. I thought my trio couldn't be cuter in them, and I can't wait to make more with some scrap pieces of printed jersey.