Best Fabrics for Dribble Bibs

One of the most common questions I get asked is which fabrics should be used when making dribble bibs. If you Google “how to make a dribble bib” there pages of hits and so many different methods to choose from, I’m not surprised people get confused! Not that I’m going to prescribe a formula here as there many ways to skin this cat… but hopefully a bit of an explanation about the possible fabrics and their properties might assist you if you are at all confused.

So… What’s a dribble bib anyway? The idea behind them is that they will catch that plethora of dribbliness that babies seem to produce when they are teething. They tend to be worn throughout the day, rather than just at mealtimes and as such are also becoming a fashion item as many modern mums want their little people to look nice whilst drooling. With this in mind the trend is for dribble bibs to be decorative as well as functional and in a “bandana” style rather than the traditional bib shape.

These suggestions are by no means definitive, there are so many possibilities and it really does come down to your own personal choice at the end of the day. What works well for one baby might not work well for another so the best advise is to try a few combos and see which works best for you.

Before you read any further, check out our tutorial on “how to make your own dribble bib” (psttt there’s a free pattern in there too!) to give you a better idea of how a bib is constructed and and the materials you’ll need, it’ll help you in picking the best fabric for your need when you come back to this post!

Image courtesy of “My Little Patch”

Top Layer Dribble Bib Fabric Possibilities:

The top layer needs to be absorbent to soak up that dribble! The fabrics listed below are popular choices…

Cotton – a hugely popular choice. Cotton prints are easily accessible and come in a vast array of designs. There’s something to suit every taste, budget and outfit. It’s easy to sew too. Cotton is a thin layer to add, which is great as you don’t want too much bulk around your baby’s neck. See our amazing range of cotton prints .

Flannel – also known as brushed cotton or wynciette, flannel is just like  cotton but is a bit more tactile as it’s a little fluffier. Choose something from our range of flannel fabric.

Cotton interlock or jersey – knit fabrics such as these are also popular, they wash well and tend to fare better without ironing (who wants to iron a bib?) Make sure you use one with a high cotton content or the absorbency might be compromised. These fabrics tend to be a bit more expensive than regular cotton and you generally need a ballpoint needle to sew them. They are a little bulkier than regular cotton, but this means they absorb more too. See our selection of cotton interlock or jersey

Bamboo – mainly used as a backing fabric on a bib but there’s no reason you couldn’t use it on the top too. You could get away with a single layer of this fabric too, especially if using something like Premium Bamboo Towelling which comes in a few colours and is double sided. This would mean minimal sewing and a cost saving as you’re only using one layer of fabric. Bamboo on the top might be too plain for some if you’re after a stylish bib, but it would certainly be functional. 

Image courtesy of “My Little Patch”


Bottom Layer Dribble Bib Fabric Possibilities: 

Again, there’s a lot of choice here. Some people opt for another absorbent fabric, others choose more of a barrier fabric for the back to stop the wetness from soaking through onto little people’s clothing. You need to consider how dribbly your little people are, and how long they might be wearing one bib. 

Microfleece – this is a really popular choice for backing fabric, it’s thin, soft and acts as a barrier in a bib so the wetness won’t pass through to clothing. It comes in a variety of colours so can be co-ordinated with your top fabric. It’s usually 150cm wide and cheaper per metre than some of the other possibilities so is an economical option. Our microfleece fabric is here.

Polar Fleece – this is a really economical fabric to use on the back of a bib so a good choice if you are on a budget. The polar fleece acts as a barrier to stop wetness passing through to clothes. It’s not as soft or thin as microfleece but it does come in a good range of colours. I wonder if bibs backed in polar fleece might be a little warm in the summer months, but we’ve never tried it so I could be wrong. Here is our selection of polar fleece.

PUL – this is polyester/polyurethane laminated knit fabric, it’s completely waterproof, yet still breathable so a good choice for being worn by a baby for a period of time. If you want your bib to have a complete barrier for the wetness then this is a good choice. It comes in many colours and patterns. Some people prefer to sew PUL with a walking foot. We have plain, patterned and sandwich PUL here

Plush fabric (formerly known as minky fabric) Plush is often used when a more luxurious bib is desired. It’s a gorgeous fabric with an incredibly soft and fluffy feel. It’s an incredibly addictive fabric (our name is testament!) as it’s so super soft and strokable. As it’s made from polyester it also has magical barrier properties so will stop wetness passing through to clothes. It’s more expensive than something like fleece, but it is rather special. It has a stretch and a pile so can be trickier to sew… lots of pins and a walking foot usually keep this fella in place though. Our extensive range of Plush fabrics (also know as minky) is here

Image Courtesy of
Image Courtesy of “My Little Patch”

Flannel –  Flannel is going to absorb more dribble rather than provide a barrier for wetness so you may need to change bibs more frequently to stop clothes becoming wet, but I think lighter weight flannel backed bibs are particularly great in the summer when I wonder whether man made fibres might be a little warm around the neck. Our flannel choices are here

Bamboo velour – again this is an absorbent fabric rather than a barrier fabric but bamboo velour is a lovely choice for the back of a bib. It’s not too thick and being a natural fibre it won’t get too hot for your little one either. It has a short pile and is nice and tactile and fluffy. 

Bamboo towelling –  an absorbent fabric, not a barrier fabric again and I’d say this is for a super dribbler! It’s much thicker and more absorbent than the bamboo velour as it has terry loops on both sides  of the fabric so there’s much more surface area to soak up moisture. Your bib will be thicker if backed with bamboo towelling but it will be incredibly high performance. Even though this is not a barrier fabric you shouldn’t need to change the bib so frequently as there’s so much more surface area to absorb moisture before it will go through to clothes. Again this is a natural fibre, our selection is here.

Bamboo Jersey – this absorbent fabric would be a nice pairing if you are using cotton interlock or jersey on the top so the fabric types match (this is by no means essential, it’s just another option). Again, a natural fibre so a great choice for the summer months to keep dribbly necks cool.

Phew! That’s quite a few fabrics to digest there! As I said at the start, there are so many possibilities and options, more than I have listed above but hopefully that’s a good starting point if you are wanting to make your own bibs.

24 thoughts on “Best Fabrics for Dribble Bibs”

  1. I hadn’t heard of a couple of those fabric types before! I am a huge advocate of dribble bibs, much easier to wash these than multiple changes of clothes during the day.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this one. I’ve been looking for a guide of choosing the perfect fabric for dribble bibs and I am so happy because I find it finally.

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