Equestrian DIY – Make Your Own Baby Pad

Equestrian DIY – Make Your Own Baby Pad

When the saddle fitter told me that I needed to ride with thinner baby pads that had wither clearance, I hit the online tack stores to shop.  Unfortunately, most baby pads are square with no room for Simon’s shark withers.  I still want to order a custom Ogilvy or two for showing, but in the meantime I decided to hit up my sewing machine to get some baby pads for schooling.


I started with 1 yard of quilted cotton fabric, 2 packages of blanket binding and 2 packages of thin black cording.


First I took an AP pad that I liked the size and shape of, and traced two sides of my quilted fabric.  These did not fold across the top in one piece, so there was a left and a right side essentially.


Then I cut about a 2″ straight piece of quilted fabric for the spine of the saddle pad, and pinned everything together.


With my machine, I started sewing the spine to each side with the “ugly” or under side facing me.


This is what one side looked like after stitching.  The underside is black, because I am lazy and hate changing out the bobbin thread.  Seriously… bobbin = death.  Anyway!


After I stitched both sides and flipped it right side out, that’s what the pad looked like at the top.


Stitched together and pad shaped, but not pretty yet.  Next we need trim!


I took the blanket binding, and folded it on either side of my saddle pad edge.  This time I sewed front facing side up.  In a minute you’ll see that my thread doesn’t match the grey trim, but that’s because I’m going to cover it up later.


With the blanket binding, you have to sew very slow and carefully.  Since the pad is curved around the edges and the binding is straight, it will want to fold on you.  If that happens it’s not the end of the world (see next picture) but it looks nicer when you go slower and just slowly curve it around the edge.


If it does fold, it looks like that.  Not the end of the world, but not as clean either.


Before you finish this project, you’ll have to sew two sets of blanket binding together.  I just laid the new one on top, and continued with my same line.  This is perhaps not the best way…


Which then leaves me a seam I need to sew back down.  Not as pretty as it could be, for sure.


With the trim all the way around the edges, the baby pad starts to look more finished.


It needs more though!  Time for cording.


First, you need to make sure you fray check the ends of your cording so it won’t fray tiny black hairs all over your saddle pad.  For this, I like to use a candle.  Results may vary… you can also use a liquid product called Fray Check.


This time you do need your top thread to match the color of your cording.  The secret here is go slow!  This thin, black cording I chose was tricky because it kept wanting to dodge the needle.  Hold it straight the best you can and don’t go too fast.  You don’t want it to look wavy.


When the cord is sewn all away around, we’re really close to a finished pad.



This is when I realized that the underside of my spine had some rough seams from the quilted fabric coming together.  Better safe than sorry I say, so I cut some fabric to lay on the underside and cover up the seams that might potentially rub Simon.


I just sewed down a strip of fabric on top of these rough seams with white top and bobbin thread.


New, soft underside!

The only step left (which for me came in baby pad 2.0) was to sew on girth straps.  Why?  Well, without girth straps your pad may do this…



I bought some cheap cotton tape, and just matched what my pattern saddle pad had as far as girth strap length and placement.


I sewed it down with white thread, and took special care to make sure that strap was STRONG.  This meant I did a zig zag stitch, and went back and forth several times on each side.


With the girth straps added, my pad was really done!


It’s had several rides, and held up well.  I’ll be modifying the pattern slightly by doing the sides a bit shorter and also making the girth strap shorter (my cotton tape stretched some).  Otherwise, I’m really happy with it!


All in all, materials cost me $20.  However I have enough cording to make another saddle pad with, and I think I could get by with 3/4 yard fabric instead of 1 yard.  That will cut my costs down some, but for me having fun color options is pretty important.  Even though you can get some baby pads with nice piping or under $20, I like the DIY option.  The pad probably took me around an hour to make, and I certainly could have gone faster.

Is this a project that you might try?

50 thoughts on “Equestrian DIY – Make Your Own Baby Pad

  1. I’m waaaaay too lazy for this and, having grown up with a mother who forced me to sew, I avoid sewing machine’s like the plague. Cool though. I’d probably have even a billion more than I already do if I made my own. Bobbigee’s makes custom ones with a wither cut and girth straps for about $30, for the lazy types like me.

  2. This is something I’d like to think I would do, and would probably buy the materials for, and then never do. Your forays into DIY are totally inspiring! 🙂

  3. Now I want a sewing machine! Pad looks great, you could sell this! I want to try to make fun things for my pony, but the last time I sewed anything it was a stick horse head for my jockey costume one Halloween. We couldn’t find a stick horse so my mom told me to make one. It looked like an anteater….

    My mom used to sew, she made a lot of my clothes when I was little and made me a lot of my Halloween costumes as well. I never did pick it up very well.

  4. Great tutorial!!! I will add 3 suggestions- use poly webbing for the girth strap (flame the cut ends to prevent fraying)- try using piping instead of cording for easier application -here is a piping tutorial- http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2012/01/sewing-tips-how-to-make-use-piping.html —and here is a bias tape tutorial that will show you how to correctly sew together shorter lengths of binding for a nicer finish http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Your-Own-Bias-Tape

  5. I’m fairly nifty with a sewing machine, but the idea of sewing saddle pads terrifies me. So many seams, so many edges, so many things to hide! Very nice work. 🙂

  6. This turned out so good! I’ve been tempted to do this before but always backed down because I’m lazy. Maybe if the crappy weather comes back I’ll give it a whirl 🙂

  7. You are so amazingly good at crafts! I’m currently on a personal project of making my own Equiband using a stock saddle pad to start with. Haven’t sewn in roughly 10 years so we will see how this goes. My parents gave me my grandma’s 1940’s machine to use, so I hope I can make it happen!
    I should learn how to make my own pads, because while I love the Ogilvy saddle pad on P, it rubbed Stampy’s withers last time I used it for some reason.

  8. WHAT
    You made a mother effing saddle pad?!?!?!?!?! THAT IS AMAZING.

    I have an tank of a Singer inherited from some great aunt or grandmother or something. When I was unemployed, I thought “I will learn to sew so I can do things like sew saddle pads and breeches!” LOLZ I couldn’t even sew hems on napkins. Johnny’s mom is an amazing steamstress, so perhaps one day I will have her teach me, but in the meantime, I will just sit here and be awed that you made a functional saddle pad BY YOURSELF.

  9. Love it!

    You’ve now inspired me to give it a try! I think I am going to start slow and just add some piping and trim to one of my existing pads first 🙂

    I do quilting and I saw this nifty trick that some folks use when machine binding quilts that you might find helpful. You stitch a “pocket” to slide the end of the binding into that will hide the loose end so you don’t have to stitch over it. Here’s a link to a you tube video that explains how they did it, maybe you’llbe able to use it?

  10. I’ve been searching eBay and English tack trader for a baby pad and just not finding one I like. I was already thinking about making my own and now I have your guide.

  11. If my sewing machine and I weren’t at level “Hatfields and McCoy” of dislike for each other, I’d be all over this. As it stands, I’ve taken the a;lkdjf;ladf thing apart twice to see why it keeps stopping at the same point and can’t.

    I wonder if I could iron-on tape a baby pad…. 😉 (JK)

  12. oh awesome! i am terrified of making the cut though. my mom tried to get me to basic hem pants and i couldn’t even work the nerve to cut the pants to sew…

  13. ugh – bobbins. they are a pain! Love the pad – how awesome to make your own…! I’m just learning to use a machine now – part of my “holy crap I’m 40” bucket list. 😉 I have a very crafty mom who tried to teach me to sew as a kid, but I just wanted to go outside and play. Kinda wish I had learned then.

  14. Love it! I have always been unimpressed with the baby pad selection, mostly because I try to avoid white pads because they get dirty so fast!

    Hey, can you shoot me an email when you get a chance? I have a question for you regarding buying some of your photography =-) jdebrul2 @ gmail

  15. This is awesome awesome awesome. You CANT buy a *fitted* baby pad with custom trim and piping for $20, so this is really excellent. I have zero sewing machine or skills, or else I’d be all over this!

  16. Do you just have a regular sewing machine or a heavy duty machine? If you have a regular one, did it really struggle anywhere? I’ve been dying to try to make a saddle pad (baby or regular) but my mom thinks that neither of our machines will go through the material :/

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