Saturday, May 12, 2012

Easy Baby Blanket Tutorial

I recently purchased a new sewing machine.  My old one sewed temperamentally, balking and complaining most of the time.  While I felt a bit bad buying a new one when the old one still had life in it, I'm amazed at the quiet ease with which the new one operates.  Not only does it seem happy to be working, it offers me quite a few different stitching options. 

My fabric stash tends to grow if I'm not careful, but with a new machine, I felt motivated to turn some of the flannel stash into baby blankets.  What an easy project!  Here's what to do:

Start with two different pieces of fabric, 1 yard each.  Flannel shrinks quite a bit, so make sure to wash, dry, and press the fabric first. 

Next, you will need to square up the fabric.  Fabric isn't always cut squarely at the store, and then it shrinks in the wash, so your two 1-yard pieces probably won't be identical.  Here is how much my pieces differed:


If you use a rotary cutter with a mat and ruler, you can easily square up the fabric.


Then, with right sides together, stitch around the flannel (I used a 5/8-inch seam allowance), being sure to leave an opening on one side.  I left about a 7-inch gap, so it was easy to turn the blanket right-side-out after stitching.


Before turning right-side-out, though, you'll want to trim the corners, so they will lie flat. 


Now for the fun part! Turn the blanket right-side-out.  There's just something satisfying about seeing what it is going to look like completed. 

At this point, I suggest pressing the seams.  It will make this next step go more smoothly. 

Once the blanket is right-side-out and pressed, top-stitch around the entire blanket.  This will close the gap in the initial stitching, plus it allows you to embellish a bit with decorative stitches or trim.  I used a contrasting thread color so the design on the back fabric pops.


I love the front fabric, too.



Here's the complete blanket:



And here it is with an ABC book, all ready for gifting:


Four women I know are currently pregnant, so I think I need to stitch up a few more blankets!  Fortunately, this quick, easy, economical, and fun project results in a soft, comfy, and useful gift!

Update:  One reader wondered whether or not the blanket would hold up without stitching in the middle.  I washed the blanket and didn't notice any problems--perhaps I might have, had the blanket been larger.  If you'd like to add stitches in the middle, feel free, but I'm comfortable with it as is.  Thanks for the suggestion, though--I love comments! 

What are your favorite make-it-yourself projects?

Thankful thought:  Thanks for gift-giving opportunities!

3 comments:

  1. Do you need to do some stitching in the middle so that it doesn't bunch up once it's washed again? I love the ease of this but we want it to hold up over time , right?

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  2. You know, the thought had crossed my mind, but I had dismissed it, since the blanket isn't a quilt. My own kids had received blankets without the middle stitching that held up over time. However, they (the blankets) did bunch up. So, I think what I will do is wash the blanket and see what happens. I might end up tying it (which I think would look cute) or just stitching from diagonal corner to diagonal corner. Thanks for the suggestion, and stay tuned for the update!

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  3. Really cute! Hope I can pull that off.

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Thanks for making this a conversation. I love to hear your comments!