Sunday, December 30, 2012

Better Nursing Home Bibs

Have you seen the bibs used in nursing homes?  All the ones I've seen are giant imitations of baby bibs of white terry cloth.  Serviceable?  Yes, but many people find them demeaning.  It's hard enough to be ill or disabled (or ill AND disabled) without being made to feel a bit foolish three times a day.  I made these for my mother as an alternative. 

Actually I made quite a few of these so there would be enough for at least 3 meals a day for a week.  If you're lucky enough to have your relative at home, you would not need so many.  Rather than looking like bibs, they look like aprons.  I used a basic apron design with slight modifications.  There is no need for waist ties which would be a pain to tie anyway.  It just needs to fit the neck area, wide enough to cover the chest and lap area, and long enough to cover the lap when seated. 

The neck area is adjustable with D-rings on mine so that can easily be slipped over the head and tightened up to fit when needed.
I put up a hook so that all the aprons could hung by this neck strap--easy way to keep them together and handy. 

These pics are to give an idea of how they fit.  (Since I'm the model and the photographer, I finally have an excuse for my amateur quality shots.)


You get the idea, right?

This is a pic of the basic design I used.
I cut out a pattern from the purple paper.  I used cotton early on but think that synthetics are more effective for easy washing and no ironing.  (Yes, I still use an iron for things other than sewing.  Am I alone in that?)  I have napkins from a synthetic blend I've been using for at least three years now that I love.  While they may not be quite as absorbent as cotton or terry, they work more than well enough, don't hold stains, and come out of the dryer wrinkle free.

I made mine from two pieces of fabric sewn right sides together leaving an opening for turning.  Don't forget to pin the straps in place!  If spilling liquids are a bigger issue, you might want to use a terry on one side or as a lining down the center. 

Some things I learned along the way:
  • Use busy prints so that possible stains are not as much of an issue.
  • Use two different fabrics on each side.  It's reversible!
  • In addition to top stitching about a quarter of an inch in all the way around the edge once it's turned right side out, sew in a design or two in the center, or just straight lines to hold the fabrics together.  I used a heart design on this one.
I also embroidered my mother's name on hers because things have a way of getting lost in nursing homes.  I feel like I'm dealing with school-aged kids again!
She got a kick out of having her name embroidered, too.

No need to leave the guys out.  Just use some fabrics such as these.

It's so often difficult to adjust to being in a  nursing home.  This may be one small way to make it a bit more tolerable.

The relatives are arrive in less than an hour!  Must get to work.

Linking to:


More the Merrier Monday


6 comments:

  1. Now this is some news we all could use! Thank you for posting this idea. You are right...those things at nursing homes are demeaning and these are so much better! Pinning this one! (I have a feeling I may be pinning some more tips from you in the future too!)

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  2. I think those are great. They look exactly like an apron that has been slightly modified - that's more dignified than a "bib" :) Especially nice having her name on it -- and a great way to ensure her laundry gets back to HER - easier for the staff too! They'd make a nice gift for a nursing home - bust some stash, make a dozen or so in lady and in gentleman type prints, and the residents and staff would love it!

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  3. Those are so adorable! I'm glad everything has worked out.

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  4. Making them look like aprons is so much better for your Mum. You've also made it easier for the staff, by adding a name and a way to hang them together.

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