Our Son, the Woodchuck

The other morning, J woke up and went into Jaxson’s room to get him up for the day. When she entered, she found our son standing in his crib chewing the rail, covered in wood pieces and paint. Literally covered – it was all over his arms and hands, in his eyes, around his mouth, all over his neck. Gross. Now we have quite a few sets of matching teeth marks where he’s chewed the paint off to expose the wood underneath. Thankfully this is not 1960 and lead paint is no longer the norm on children’s furniture.

So began our search for a crib rail cover. We’d seen the plastic ones that stick on to the top of the rail, but knowing how insane determined our son is, we knew he’d peel/chew it off in no time.

They had canvas ones that tied on, but they weren’t fitted to the crib (they were made to accommodate rail sizes from 8-18 inches) and were super expensive for all 4 sides ($25 each for the front and back and then another $25 for the pair of sides). We have a baby, not a Swiss bank account, so that option was out.

Besides, nothing we found was carried in our local stores and would have to be ordered online which could take days. Or weeks. Ugh. So in a last-ditch effort to find a solution, I Googled “crib rail covers” and found a plethora of DIY sewn and not-sewn rail covers! Voila! We had our answer.

“I’m crafty,” I said to myself, “I should just MAKE them myself.”

I was raised by my grandmother and she had a close friend when I was growing up (Miss Penny) who taught me how to sew by hand and on a sewing machine, and we used to make Barbie clothes together when I’d spend time at her house. I learned more in Home Ec in high school and made my own Renaissance prom dress, too. Aside from being taught, I have a natural talent for crafting. I can see something and figure out how to make it without even needing a pattern.

So that night, we went to Wal-Mart (yikes) and picked up the supplies I’d need for the rail covers for all sides. All in all it only cost about $25 for fabric, padding, ribbon, and thread. There isn’t a pattern per se, and it didn’t require any “mad skills” at sewing to get it done. Without interruptions, I could have gotten all 4 covers done in about two hours. Anyone with a sewing machine could make them so I’m putting up the instructions in case anyone out there feels inclined to DIY for their little woodchucks.

Materials Needed (for two long and two side rail covers):

  • 3 yards of fabric (we got a pre-made 3 yard pack at Wal-Mart for $14)
  • quilter’s batting (we used Morning Glory low-loft batting – 81″ x 96″ package and had enough to double up)
  • 12 yards of ribbon (you may need more if you wish to tie bows along the middle and not just the ends)
  • thread

Instructions:

  • Measure your crib rails. You have two measurements you’ll need here – the length of the rail from side to side and the length around the rail. Our long rails measured 52″ x 7″ and our side rails measured 27″ x 14″.
  • Cut your fabric, batting, and ribbon. Cut your batting to the actual measurements of your rails. Add two inches to your measurements and cut your fabric to that size, 2 pieces for each cover. So for our crib, we cut four pieces at 54″ x 9″ and four pieces at 29″ x 16″. As for the ribbon, I used 10″ pieces for the end ties (around the part where the crib sides join) and 6″ ribbons for the middle ties (between the slats) since we only tied the ends in bows and knotted the middle ones. You can adjust this as needed for a thicker/thinner rail or if you wish to tie bows instead of knots in the middle section.
  • Pin your hem. Lay one piece of fabric pattern-side down and then center your batting on top. Go ahead and fold the bottom piece of fabric up and pin it in place to the batting. Next take another piece of fabric pattern-side up and place on top of the batting. Fold your edges under and use the pins you already had in place to pin it all together.
  • Check your measurements. Measure the cover you just pinned to see if it matches the actual crib rail measurements and adjust as needed. Take your pinned rail cover, hold it along your crib rail, and make sure it reaches to the edges and around the sides and top of the railing. Adjust as needed. Take this time to place a pin where your ribbons will need to go so they line up between the slats, or you could go ahead and sandwich your ribbons between the fabric and pin them in place.
  • Insert ribbons into hem. If you haven’t already done so, place the ribbons where they need to be and secure with a pin. The ribbons should be sandwiched between the two pieces of fabric to give it a cleaner look when finished. For the end ribbons, place them at a 45 degree angle so they will tie neatly.
  • Sew! Stitch a small hem (about 1/4″ from the edge) all the way around your rail cover. Back-stitch at the end to secure, trim any loose thread ends, and voila! You now have a custom crib rail cover that will protect your crib from your baby and vice versa.

Our crib rail covers are working out great so far! Jaxson has already tested them out and I’m glad we doubled up on the padding inside of each cover to keep his little teeth safe. I’m also glad that we chose a mellow pattern so that it would blend in instead of demanding your focus when you walk into Jaxson’s room.

J was pretty impressed with me and I’m proud of my craftiness and the money we saved! It would have cost us $75 to buy the one-size-fits-all crib covers and I made all 4 for the price of ONE store-bought one. J kept asking questions about what I was doing and saying how amazed she was that I could do this. After almost 6 years together, I guess there are still some things to learn about each other. She had no idea I could sew “for real”, just because the opportunity has never presented itself. Now, we’ve started a laundry list of sewing projects for the house…decorative couch pillows, patio chair cushions, you name it. And I’ve now been elected the Kids’ Halloween Costume Creator. I wonder if I could put that on my résumé?

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Billie-Greatgrandma
    Jan 13, 2014 @ 23:01:22

    What a smart idea. You did a great job. Proud of you. Do you still have your sewing machine?

    Reply

  2. Denise Dorris
    Jan 14, 2014 @ 16:35:09

    They turned out awesome! Nice job

    Reply

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