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Monday, February 24, 2014

Ta-Ta Tent Tutorial: A nursing cover for when "hiding the hooters" just isn't enough.

When I was last expecting, I wanted a nice nursing cover but I didn't want one as skimpy as I felt my friends had.  I mean, I didn't just want my "hooters hid," I wanted a flippin' tent to cover up all that!  You know what I mean!  And, I didn't want to buy a whole new wardrobe just to nurse in public.  I wanted to throw something over me and get down to the business of feeding my baby without worrying about what was showing.

That said this has become my favorite baby shower gift to give to a mom who plans to nurse because you can make it to fit her taste and be wonderfully personal without blowing your budget.  It's basically the cost of a yard of fabric and 2 packages of quilting/bias tape.  With coupons it's less than $10!  Now that is a number that makes my husband happy, but you have to do all the work to get it done.  That's where your love for that mama shows and makes her happy.  It's a win-win!  I have made almost 10 in the past 3 years.  This one is for my beautiful friend Ellyn.  She went with me and picked out the material.  We had so much fun, it took us 2 hours!  :o)
Here is the evolution of the Ta-Ta Tent and an explanation for its various elements:
I modeled my first Ta-Ta Tent on the popular brand, but made it bigger because that was important to me.  I put the adjustable rings on the straps, but I didn't like it.  It wasn't as convenient as it looked and was annoying to work with.  So I made a velcro strap that was easy to adjust to longer or shorter and to take off.  I then realized that I wanted it to be stretchy so that I could just pull it over my head to remove it if the baby had fallen asleep without disturbing her so I made an elastic section.  I also hated the boning hoop off the front.  There was no way to put the fabric against my chest and situate myself so that others couldn't end up with an eye full by accident.  So, I removed it and found that the bias provided enough support that I could prop it open to see her or cover her up.  Since I always use a light weight cotton I don't have to worry about it being next to her face or the air flow being restricted.  This is it my final version the Ta-Ta Tent v.3.0!  Stripped down and beefed up in all the right places.

1 yard (36") of 45" or wider cotton fabric
(Pick a light, breathable, 100% cotton material that will keep mama and baby comfortable.)
2 packages of Wright's double fold quilt binding or 17.5' x 1" or wider of bias tape of your choice
11" of  3/4" elastic
7" of Velcro that coordinates with the bias tape or fabric
Thread to match your bias tape

The finished dimensions will be 44" (or wider) x 36."  Keep this in mid when you are choosing a fabric because if it is a one way pattern you want to make sure the pattern goes down the body, not sideways across it.

If you bought packages of bias tape that are not at least 14' long join by sewing them together first.  Start on the end of one edge and sew your bias tape along the edges.  Here is a photo tutorial I made for turning the first 3 corners.

Look over all the instructions before starting, just in case there is something you need to alter.  If you need help, leave a comment and I will try to help you.
When you get 3.5" away from your starting edge stop.  Here is another photo tutorial to finish the last corner.
Now, on to the straps.  
For the long strap:
Cut 32" of bias tape and sew the long edges shut, leaving an opening at each end.  Put a safety pin in your elastic and thread it through to 1.5" past the opening.  Sew the elastic down in that end 1.5" from the edge.  Go back and forth many times to make sure it is permanently secured.  Push 21" of the bias tape down over the 11" of elastic and sew the edge of that down inside of the bias tape.  Again, go back and forth many times to make sure it is permanently secured.  Remove the safety pin.  On the edge farthest from the elastic fold the bias tape up by 1/4" 2x and sew it together.  Put 7" of the soft side of your velcro right above that.  This side will face in towards the skin.
For the short strap:
Cut 5.5" inches of bias tape and sew the edges shut again. Fold the bias tape up by 1/4" 2x and sew it together on one end.  Put 3.5" of the scratchy side of your velcro below that.  This side will face in away from the skin. 
Here is a photo tutorial that should help you with the placement of the straps.  Written instructions are below it.
Pic 1:  Fold your Ta-Ta Tent in half and place 2 pins 6.25" from the center on each side.  That should be basically bra strap to bra strap wide.  If you have a very petite or large mama, you may want to alter that and also make the straps shorter or wider depending on the need.  This is a one size fits most model and is adjustable. However, you know the person you are making it for, so keep them in mind.
Pic 2:  Fold the edge near the elastic up on the long strap and sew it down, with the raw edge facing in, to the bias tape edge.  The soft side of the velcro should be visible from the wrong side (inside) of your fabric if it is laid flat.  This soft velcro will face towards the skin.
Pic 3:  Fold the raw edge up on the short strap and sew it down, with the raw edge facing in, to the bias tape edge.  The scratchy side of the velcro should be visible from the right side (outside/pattern) of your fabric if it is laid flat.  The scratchy velcro will face away from the skin.
Pic 4:  There it is strapped together and you are done!


  1. Super cute project! Lovely fabric too! Thanks for sharing great tutorial! Would love to have you visit me sometime :)
    Have a fabulous week!
    Hugs from Portugal,
    Ana Love Craft

    1. Thank you! I just did and am following you now on G+. :o) Have a wonderful day!

  2. I like all the iterations you went through to find the perfect one for you! Thanks for linking up to the Do Tell Tuesday party. Hope to see you again tonight!

    1. Thanks Lisa! I will be back next week. It's been a buggy week for us!