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DYI Modern Nursing Shawl (SEW ONE LINE!)

I posted this and it got pinned before I could change the DYI title to DIY! Click HERE for the correct post! Thank you!

I hated nursing in public. It was awkward, and I was always worried I was going to give a peep show to everyone around me. I was going to be traveling on an airplane alone with two small children though, and I had to figure out a solution. The nursing cover I had was your typical piece of fabric to cover your front, with a loop for the neck. It worked okay, but the main problem was that now I was showing everyone behind me how lovely my back fat and love handles were. With some inspiration from my friend Sarah, (thanks Sarah! xoxo) I came up with a solution to all of our nursing on-the-go needs. The Modern Nursing Shawl.


*Hi friends! I wrote this post nearly two years ago. I am not a seamstress or pattern maker. I understand that some of you don’t understand the instructions exactly, for that I am sorry. I simply don’t have the time to edit the instructions or respond to each question. Please read through all of the comments both on this post and HERE. The comments may help you out if you have questions. Thank you so much for doing this tutorial! I hope it works out for you! xo

Here are the reasons why I like it:

- It doesn’t scream “THIS IS A NURSING COVER”
-It’s super soft and has nice weight to it
-It’s stretchy so your baby’s arms have room to wiggle without giving everyone a show
-You can use whichever fabric you want, but I choose black because it’s DARK for the baby. If you’re trying to have your baby fall asleep, it’s pitch black and not distracting
-It’s super easy to throw on and off
-It has a cute boat neck (I love boat necks!) that you can pull out and look down to check on your baby

Sewing honestly doesn’t get easier than this project, I promise! You literally cut one straight line, and sew one straight line, and you’re done.

*these make great baby shower gifts, and are really inexpensive! I made this shawl for just about $7.

*disclaimer: I’m not a seamstress. I enjoy sewing, but I’m not an expert by ANY means! I can sort of “figure things out”, but don’t even think about having me figure out a pattern! So all you crazy seamstresses, don’t judge me for my lack of sewing knowledge, vocabulary, and improper form. I’m breaking it down slowly for all the dummies like me out there!

Here’s how to make your own Modern Nursing Shawl:

1 yard knit fabric
thread to match
measuring tape
The length of my fabric ended up being 30″ (folded), which was perfect, so I didn’t need to cut that side. Cut the width to be 25″. Make sure to match up the edges and corners really well (RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER) and pin the fabric together before cutting!

After you cut along your marks, you’ll basically have a big rectangle folded in half that measures 30″x25″.

Turn right side out and try it on! The seam should go along your shoulder.

*you don’t even need to finish the edges because it’s knit and won’t fray or unravel!

Enjoy your new, hip nursing shawl!

Let me know when you make one! I’d love to hear about it!

A special thanks to Jenna Robert for being the hottest model ever!


  1. Just finished mine! Easiest thing I’ve ever made! Thanks!

    • OK Nicky – how did you do this…I sew but I just can’t figure this out.
      Length: 30″ fold on the left side & the open raw edge on the right side the.
      Width is 25″ – both with “raw Edges”…. I left the opening for the neck along the raw edge of the 30″ raw edge side.
      This did not work out for me – SO what did I do wrong?
      I’ll pull out my stitches and start over again – using the 25″ as the length & open 13″ for the access & the 30″ as the width.
      Any one else with any helpful hints – I’ll take them. My daughter is waiting for a 21st century nursing cover-up!

      • OK I finally figured this out & feel so silly. Fabric – wash after you finish – as it’s easier to work on with the “Sizing from the factory”.
        1. Lay on flat table with the “Fold Side” on your left.
        2. Measure over 13 +/- inches – Starting from the Left Top Fold Side (this will be the “Opening” where your head will go thru).
        3. Pin the remaining top right section (so you can sew it) over to the Right Side “raw edge or open edge”. This is going to be your “Shoulder/Arm” area.
        4. Sew this area & remove your pins. Try it on for size.
        5. Length of “Shaw” (from shoulder to hip) should be at least 25″ – but take the size of the mother into consideration (taller women will want it longer). Measure from the left top fold size – down your 25″ + length. Leave enough for “Shrinkage of the fabric & maybe a hem – depending on the fabric).
        Mark this across the fabric (left fold side to right raw edge/open side).
        6. Cut the “Extra Length off”
        7. You are now finished!
        8. You can use the “Extra Length fabric” you just cut off to make a pocket if you want.
        I hope breaking this down in easier to follow steps will help someone else. This is a great idea – easy to make.

  2. I made one, I didn’t really understand your directions. I don’t sew much :) But I folded a yard of knit fabric in half and cut it, pinned it and sewed it on the edge that I had cut, leaving 13 inches in the center for the neck. It looks pretty similar and it’s for a plus size woman, so I think it needed to be bigger. Thanks for sharing, love it! I wish I had one when I was nursing my babies :)

  3. I might be a little bit of a newbie to sewing, but I can’t wait to make one of these for myself….but by knit fabric do you just mean the jersey knit, or is there something else I should be scouting out?

    Thank you! This is the best looking cover-up BY FAR!

  4. The best nursing cover I’ve seen. Going to have sew me up one! Makes perfect baby shower gifts too! Thank you!

  5. I am new to sewing so I really need a dumb-ed down version. I am confused at which side the neck hole is sewn on. Is it the 25″ side (which I did and it didn’t quite come out right) or the 30″ side? Its so darn cute though!! So I really want to make on for myself and my little girl.

    • Angelique,

      You actually do the neckhole on the 30″ side. If you’re looking at the picture that says “mark 13″ and pin, you’ll be sewing all along where those pins are. I hope this helps!

    • same here I know nothing about sewing. I didn’t get the instructions to complicated. I want to make one for my friend

      • Ana, I did post this already but here is an easy NO-SEW version of these nursing shawls.

        I think the easiest way to explain this is by using an example of what we all did as kids. Remember folding paper to cut out a perfect circle, heart or snowflake? Well that is how you are going to cut this fabric – two folds & one cut. All done. Here goes:

        - Hit up your local fabric store & pick out some JERSEY KNIT or if it’s winter you can use FLEECE for added warmth for the baby. When you buy your fabric it will already have the first fold done for you (picture your 8×11 piece of paper folded top to bottom – it will now be 4×11 – this is how your fabric will be when you buy it).

        - Buy 1 or more yards depending on how far down your arms you would like the fabric to hang.

        * Both fabrics will cut easily – you may leave the edges raw as there will be No problems with fraying.

        - To prepare for cutting the neckhole you need to make the second fold. You will take the left open side & fold it over to the right open side leaving the closed edge at the top (your paper would now be 4″x5.5″).

        - To cut a BOATneck start at the lefthanded top side of the fabric. Go down the left side about 2″ & begin cutting towards the righthanded open side. You will cut for about 3 1/2″ angling up towards the closed top edge of the fabric as you cut ( this will look like an elongated triangle).

        - To make a CREWneck start at the lefthanded top side of the fabric. Go down the left side about 3″ & begin cutting towards the righthanded open side of fabric. Stay consistent cutting at about a 3″ depth for 2″ and then start to curve your cut up towards the closed top of your fabric for the last inch of cutting ( this will look like a 1/4 circle).

        Viola! Open up the fabric & you are now done.

        -If you would like to have your edges look more finished just tug sections of the fabric between your hands and the edges will curl giving it a more intentional, expensive look.

        - You can use fabric paints, iron-ons, ribbons or jewels if you would like to Fancy it up a bit.

        I hope this helps & is a bit easier to understand.

  6. To check – cloth size is 60 inch x25inch. Fold it into half and it becomes 30 inch x 25 inch.

    Then pin left side straight down. Pin right side 13 inch from the top. Sew both sides that has pins. Is that correct?

    • Ling,

      Almost! Only sew the right side that 13″ from the top. The Left side is pinned only so the fabric doesn’t shift. Don’t sew that side! Make sense?

  7. I did this, or something similar, with a decorative scarf I had, just draped it over one shoulder and pinned the other side so I knew where neck opening was, then sewed one seam and was done- works great and looks just like a scarf/ shawl.

    • Cassandra, brilliant! I love the idea of using a scarf! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for the idea of using a decorative scarf. I was able to make this in about 20 minutes using an old pashmina-(ish) scarf I had hiding in the closet. It looks beautiful, super soft for baby and I didn’t spend a dime!
      Once folded, my scarf was 30×35 inches. I left an 18″ neck opening.

    • Thanks for adding the “Upcycle” using the scarf-it’s a great idea especially for those that are not big on sewing or using sewing machines. Perfection!

  8. Heather! I have been searching online for a tutorial like this, then go figure I find it on your blog!! Thanks, I’m going to order some fabric now ( :

  9. I just got my fabric and can’t wait to make mine! A little confusion (due to my own ignorance!) – I understand sewing the 30″ side, but what about the 25″ sides? One of them is your folded edge…did you cut that open? Or does the other one get sewn up?

    • Mary, good question. The 25″ sides- one is the folded edge, the other you just leave open. So the only part you’re sewing is where the pins are on the 30″ side. Good luck! So glad you’re making one!

  10. Just a little offering…I made one for a gift and one for myself out of different material…for a shawl…not a nursing cover…LOVE.
    So…when you are cutting., pinning., sewing…think of this…the fold will be on one shoulder when worn, the sewn seam will be on the other. SO. The neck opening will start at the corner of the fold and end at your stitched seam. Hope that helps and doesn’t confuse!
    About to make the third for another sweet Mama having baby number 6! Ahhh!

    • Thank you Cindi! I’m so glad you like the tutorial and I appreciate your comments! xoxo

  11. I made one! Thanks so much for sharing these instructions – I really appreciate it. I am new to sewing but was able to pull this off. The pictures were crucial to me figuring it out so thanks for being so detailed with them. The shawl is so much more practical and looks better than the nursing covers sold in stores.

  12. I really love how this looks and am very excited to make one for myself. I think I keep confusing myself by reading other people’s comments or maybe it’s late… So you sew the 30 inch side all the way and on the other 30 inch side you only sew to the 13 inch mark, right? Then you leave the 25 inch sides alone? Both the folded edge and the open one? Is that right, I’m just having a hard time! So when you put it on, the 25 inch side is at your waist and the part you left open at the 30 inch side is the neck hole? When you sew the neck hole do you measure 13 inches from the folded edge or from the open side of the 25 inch edge? So is the neck hole itself 13 inches or you only sew 13 inches? Bah… see how lost I am!

  13. Hi Amanda!

    So the ONLY thing you’ll be sewing is one line- where the pins are on the side where you measure 13″ and pin (the side on the right of the photo). I think my pictures are confusing because I pinned the left side just to keep the fabric from moving- so sorry. Anyway, You basically just fold a big rectangle and sew that one line on the right (where the pins are). When you wear it, the seam lays along your shoulder. Does this make sense? Hope it helps!

  14. So, am I right in figuring that one shoulder is longer than the other? So you probably want the longer side over the side you’re nursing, yes? And when worn, this come to a point in front and back at the bottom, sort if like a poncho-shawl-thing.
    I totally want to make one, but am debating on rounding out the bottom hemline a little, like those circle shirts

  15. i just did it!! it turn out great, thanks for the tutorial!!!

  16. I’m confused. I made one, but misunderstood the directions and it turned out awful. Reading over it again, I understand it differently but don’t want to start cutting and sewing until I’m sure I’ve got it right. So you leave 13″ for the neckhole on the side next to the folded edge, and then when you are finished and put it on, the seam goes on the shoulder. But then why does it look even on her when technically one shoulder is 17″ and the other is 25″? Please explain?

  17. Hi, guys, this is great idea & I have being making quite a few versions of this for several years & to be honest if you are using Jersey Knit you can do this with NO sewing all. Buy your fabric and fold it in half ( pretend it is like the letter “T” the top of the “T” is the folded edge and the bottom line of the “T” is the rest if your material) – cut it to whatever width you are comfortable with – fold the fabric in half side to side (You can now envision this ad the letter “L” The bottom line of the “L” is now the original folded side & the upper line of the “L” is the rest of your fabric) – this will center the fabric for you so that you can cut the neckhole – cut the neckhole from the centered fold outwords ( this cut when envisioning the “L” would be cutting from the left right angled side of the “L” going towards the right side of the bottom line of the “L”) – when you unfold the fabric you will have the perfectt “Shawl” to use for Nursing, going out or anything else you would like. This is the starter cut for making cocoon jackets, kimono style jackets and many different ponchos styles. Jersey knit will not fray – however, if you want to give the edges a bit more style just tug on the fabric and the edges will roll giving the appearance it was intentional & make it look a bit more expensive as opposed to “Crafty”. I have always gotten complimented on mine & they sell out at every show I have. Good Luck & enjoy – I learned a long time ago that there truly is no “Right” or “Wrong” when crafting – even when there has been a pattern I’ve adjusted it to my taste. This will also work with Fleece & several other materials just ask someone at the fabric for something that won’t fray because you are leaving raw edges. Enjoy & design away – it’s easier than you think ;)

    • I’m interested in making this no-sew shawl you are talking about. Though I kinda got lost when trying to visualize a “T” and then an “L”. I’m a visual person, any chance you have a tutorial on this with pics?


      • Suzy, I am so sorry – I just saw your email. If you have not been able to get this done I will gladly do all I can to help you. Just let me know what you need & I will keep my eyes open for your email. I am so sorry…Assunta

        • It’s ok Assunta, I got it done. :) And it looks great! Thanks again.

          • Suzy, That’s great. The truth is as long as you got help from someone/anyone or just fiddled around, added your own twist to it & got it together all on your own all that matters is you made something you are happy with to keep you & your little one comfy cozy. If there is ever something else you would like to try your hand at making just let me know. I try to do all I can either no sew or with the most minimal hand sewing possible. Baby/Adult clothes & accessories. God bless your tiny Angel…

    • I am more of a visual person and I’m lost on the folding, ( T & L)and want to get this right before I cut. Can you help?

    • Heather and Assunta- do yal think yal could do a you tube video of yals nursing shawl and T shawl? That would be great if you could

  18. Just made four of these, for myself and some momma to be friends and family. Love the idea! Wish I’d had one with my first kiddo! Thanks :)

  19. I LOVE this idea!! I did modify it a little for my use, I like being completely covered & secure that there is no way I’m showing skin, I just added one more seam on the side opposite of the fold. I left an opening for my arm & finished sewing down that side, so it pretty much creates a loose top that kind of resembles a poncho with a more stylish neck (asymetrical boat neck). Thank you for the inspiration, I really needed a more budget friendly nursing cover, I made mine for $6!! :D

  20. I tried out this poncho for my sister, and it’s awesome. Pictures on my blog:

  21. I just bought my fabric to make 2 nursing ponchos- one to use when i go out with baby & one for when i pump at work. i cant wait to make it!!!

  22. Can you do this with cotton material? Or will it sit funny? Its pretty windy here and I also wanted to make one for a friend, and its windy there too, so I thought knitted material would just fly away with all the wind. So just curious as to if the cotton would be to “stiff”??? Anyone use cotton?

    • Hi,Sarah, as for the cotton – it’s just like the thread count in sheets – higher thread count, softer cotton – in the end it may be just as flyaway/lightweight as the Jersey knit. You can always try fleece, flannel or a medium weight microfiber. Be creative once you are around all the fabrics I’m sure you will find the perfect one. Also bring a picture of the shawl with you when you shop this way if you are uncertain about a particular fabric you can show what it is you would like to make to a clerk at the store & they will be able to find you exactly what will work for both the project & your Windy weather conditions.
      Have Fun…

  23. I figure with baby #4 it might be nice to have something besides a blanket :)
    My Walmart had knit for $1/yr. Perhaps not the perfect colors I’d choose, but might be helpful to practice on.

  24. I totally made this today and I LOVE IT!!! My measurements weren’t even exact (I seriously hate measuring and cutting- especially jersey knit bc it rolls and moves no matter how much I pin). Mine was like a big grey square (around 30×30). I wanted it longer anyway because I have a longer than average torso. It still looks great!!! Thank you for giving me direction with this!! I can wait until August when I can use this (my baby will be here). It will be SOO light and comfy. Shoot. I’d make a black one next just to wear over a tank in the fall!!! It looks really cute!!!

  25. I made one of these today and it was so easy and great. I have to admit I am tall and plus size so it is a little short but it is so much nice and cheaper than other options. It only cost me $8 to make! I was a bit confused by the directions and had to read them a few times to figure out were to pin and cut. Maybe if you labeled the fold in each picture it would be easier. I love this, thanks!

    • I got a 50% off one reg. priced item at Joann’s, and I am going to make a second one–for $5! I love how inexpensive they can be to make!

  26. I don’t really understand the instructions.

    I fold it in half, then sew three sides (leaving a neck hole opening of 13″ on the middle edge), right?

  27. so you really need more than 1 yard of fabric then? 60 inches by 25 inches? or fabric that’s 60 inches wide?

  28. I made this today and it feels like my sides/hips are still really exposed. Maybe I need to make it longer?

    • I made one today too and at first I thought the sides might have been short, but then I realized that’s how it is. If you notice the first picture of the model sitting on the steps (without baby), her side shows quite a bit, that’s actually exactly how mine fits. It’s not as noticeable in her case, because she’s sitting in all of the pictures. The cover is supposed to cover your breasts, and when you’re sitting down and feeding your baby, your sides will probably also be covered. The really important thing (in my humble opinion) is that the length feels right on your arms (whether you’re standing or sitting). You want the cover to go past below your elbows a bit, otherwise it will just look like a bib (eeek).


  30. I made it and I love it! So simple. Make sure you only saw the side that has 13″ measurement.

  31. I made two of these for my sister today out of a lightweight jersey knit and they turned out fabulously. The only change I made was that I used my serger to finish the edges and made it look more finished. It’s lovely! Thanks for the tutorial!

  32. Easiest ever, had never thought of it. Tried it, using it, loving it! :-)
    All the way from India.

  33. I made the measurement 40″ x 32″ to make it bigger and cover more

  34. Just made this!! Turned out awesome and SO easy!! Wish my 13 day old would wake up so we can try this baby out! $5 awesone nursing cover…yes please!!!!

    Thank you!!!!!

  35. I love this shawl. Thanks so much for posting. I am new to sewing to I also hemmed the ends with the twin need in a contrasting color for practice. I used a navy jersey knit with white thread. It is supper easy to follow and looks very nice. I am giving them as gifts for a baby shower. THANKS!!

  36. Daughter 34 weeks with twins and this is the one item she made me promise to make—so will let you know. Thank you for this excellent tutorial

  37. After sewing, one side of the neck hole will have a 13″ seam, and one side will have a 25″ fold, right? The other sides of the rectangle will be open (the sides/bottom), and the point will face down. I’m having trouble telling whether the fact that one side is 12″ longer than the other will make this look cute or if it will make one arm feel way longer than the other.

    Do you have pictures of the finished product laid out flat with the head opening at the top, and the arm seams coming off of it, but without someone wearing it? Or with your “model” wearing it while standing, arms extended?

    I’m planning on making these or something similar as gifts, and I’m having trouble visualizing how the finished poncho will look sans baby.

  38. ok, I must be the dumbest person ever! This seems so easy so how can I be struggling so much? I bought jersey knit so I wouldn’t have to sew the edges, I washed the material before I began and then I could not fold it to get it even the jersey ended up so lop-sided I really don’t know where to go from here. I knew the fabric would roll on the edges a little but it ended up so diagonal I couldn’t do any folding to follow the instructions at all. I ended up just cutting a 13″ neck hole in the middle and it works but my poncho does not look near as cute as the one on the blog. Any help or suggestions? THANKS

    • try a heavier weight knit & don’t wash it until after you finish – the fabric from the store has “stabilizer” on it – making it easier to handle.

  39. I read the instructions several times because i cant believe it was that easy…. Ended in 15 mins ADN lobee it!!!

    • I’ve struggled with this for 2 days wondering what part of the directions, I did not understand. Can you tell me what you did.
      I’m thinking that I cut my opening in the top folded section ~ 25″ from the one side/edge, Cutting 13″ across the “Fold” for the neck opening. WALA – finished product!! The top folded “width” of the fabric is ~60″ to across over our shoulders & arms. The finished “Length” ~ 25″ from shoulders to hips. OMG this would be so simple. Holding the fabric with the fold/width. Ladies this can be so very simple. Fabric needs to have so “Weight” to it , so it will “Hang” properly over our shoulders. Cotton fabric might require more sewing to finish off the raw edges.

  40. I am about to make one and a bit confused by the directions as well. I can’t tell exactly where you are sewing and where the neck hole is.

  41. I did it today. Bought a meter of lightweight cotton knit. Easiest! Now looking at how to beautify it since its too plain

  42. 1. You are beautiful.

    2. This is a great tutorial. I actually own a etsy store that makes nursing ponchos just like these

    I also make mine at 25 x 30 and I have received a few emails that people think they are too small? Have you heard anything on your end about this?

  43. I have read every comment and every instruction and I just don’t understand. You are making the instructions too complicated can you please tell me how to make this as if you were talking to a three year old??? or maybe post a video or more pics. I know this isn’t as hard as I’m making it,but it just does NOT make sense to me. Thanks.

    • Lauren I was like you I didn’t get it until I read the comments.
      So you fold the fabric in half. Let’s think of it like a book. So picture the fabric as a big book.
      Measure the bottom of the book (fabric) starting from the binding (the fold part). Measure out 13 inches and place a pin there.. After you pin there pin all the way to the opening of the book (fabric). BUT only pin the bottom don’t pin up the opening of the book (fabric). Where you have pinned… Is all you sew… Literally. You are just sewing that little part and you’re done.

  44. LOVE THIS LOOK. I will be making this very soon! Thanks for the great idea!!

  45. So after reading most of the comments I think you should redo this post slightly Heather. I was confused at first as most here. My confusion came from not really getting why your head sits off to the side of the cover vs. the center. After reading enough comments a ohhhhhhh duh moment came were I realized you want one side longer than the other. Felt kind of stupid haha. Maybe if you just worded it differently and even highlighted the only part that needs to be sewed in the picture I think people would get it. You could even explain why your head sits to the side vs. the dead center of the cover. Now understanding it all I get it but it took some reading of comments to understand it. I love this cover and it really is super easy once I got it haha. Just some thoughts. :)

    • I think the confusion lies in the pins along the left side of her picture that are only for stabilizing the fabric and just removed once the cutting is done. I didn’t see in the tute that they were just for that. Also, it would be nice to say that the fabric is 60 inches wide and folded in half as it would be on the bolt to 30 inches.

  46. Jessica, what about cutting the fabric? If you only sew the bottom after the 13″ mark then are you saying you don’t need to cut anything?

    • Hi Chris. I made one a long time ago & it’s absolutely perfect!!! The TOTAL LENGTH of your fabric should be 60 inches. TOTAL WIDTH of your fabric should be 25 inches. So yes. You may need to cut your fabric to get close to these measurements.

      You will then FOLD your fabric in half to see a new length of 30 inches, while the width is still 25.

      Next you will choose one side to sew up (starting at the side opposite of the fold, sewing towards the fold).

      Stop sewing when you get 18″ or so away from the fold (that’s the opening for your head). And you’re done.

      Hope this helps somebody.

      • Jessica, Thank you so much! This really clarifies things. I look forward to makeing one for my daughter who is expecting her first & sent me this tutorial :)

      • ** correction: 18″ should read 13″.

        • Thanks Brandy! THis was very helpful. Did you use a knit fabric? I have never used this and am a bit nervous about it. Any tips?

          • Well…the jersey knit is definitely what you want for this because it Ives the cover good breathabity (which is important since baby will be completely covered all around) and a good stretch (which I find VERY useful now that my little one is 8 months old and wiggly as all get out. His feet stick out now too…which is fine. I just stretch the fabric as far as I can over his legs. lol

            Knitting with jersey fabric I will admit, is tricky because it’s so soft and doesn’t lije to stay put. Don’t be nervous about it though. Just use a lot of pins to keep it held in place. The best part about jersey is that the ends don’t fray- and you don’t have to see much. Just one line. So use a lot of pins and you should be fine. :-) I also used a rotary cutter and cutting board with this which probably made my cuts a lot smoother than scissors would have. Goodluck!!! You’ll do great!

  47. I’m so sorry about the typos in my last response! I’m getting my 3 kids ready for school & did not proof read before submitting (so embarrassed!). lol!!

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