Sunday, June 24, 2007

Simple Flannel Baby Blankets



I made some baby blankets about a year ago for a friend's shower and I debated with myself over what parameters make a good baby blanket. Having no personal experience with this I was somewhat out of luck so I did what I usually do in these situations, I called my Mom. With some basic guidelines I made up this simple blanket approach. These blankets are quick to make and seem to get a lot of use by the recipients. One little girl in particular poses with them in many photos! Her dad suggested that the key characteristic of the blankets is their size and stiffness. I guess there is an important role in baby accessories for structural wrapping items useful for containing limbs. If you have even minimal sewing skills you can tackle this project and wow your expecting friends (or yourself) with handmade gifts.

This is my entry to the June Whiplash "competition" - Introduce Yourself. Its my first post to Whiplash!
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This will describe the steps to make one blanket even though two are pictured.
You will need:
One yard each of two flannel fabrics
Fabric cutting devices (scissors, rotary cutter)
ruler
round object like a bowl
sewing machine
thread etc.


Step 1: Purchase and Wash
Acquire 2 yards of flannel fabric, one yard in each print. I purchased mine from a fabric store (amazing!). I was particularly enamored with the Sock Monkey print. Im also a fan of non-pastel baby items so I go for dark, rich colors. I usually choose a patterned fabric for one side and a solid for the other. For the Sock Monkeys I chose a matching "Sock" print for the solid. Its all personal preference though! The solid colors are often double sided (i.e. fuzzy on both sides) while the printed flannels are usually single sided. The double sided stuff will make a stiffer and slightly heavier blanket.

Now wash the fabric (just in the washer with your clothes) and iron it flat.

Step 2: Square the Edges
You need to make your fabric into matching sized rectangles. Inevitably the edges will be un-square when they cut the fabric at the store so you will have to fix it. I use my gridded ruler and rotary cutter but you can do it with scissors too. I square one of the pieces first and then with *right sides together* I make the second piece match the first. I use scissors for trimming the second piece.


Step 3: Round the Edges
One of my favorite touches on this blanket is the rounded corners. I did this by taking a round object (the pictured bowl) and simply cutting away some fabric in a round shape. I just traced around the bowl, then cut away the excess.


Step 4: Sew, right sides together.
Now, with your rectangles right sides together sew around the perimeter with a 5/8ths inch seam allowance. Stop sewing when you get about 6 inches from where you started, i.e. leave a gap (you can see the gap in the spotted blanket in the background).
Trim the corners like this:


Step 5: Turn right side out and press
This one is fairly self explanatory. Turn the blanket right side out through the gap you left in the stitching. Using an iron on cotton setting press around the edge. Use your fingers to help the fabric expand all the way out. The notches you cut at the corner should help in the curves.

Step 6: Top Stitch
Pick a thread color that goes with each of your fabrics. It can be matching or contrasting, the same on top and bottom or different--you choose. Now using a 1/4th inch seam allowance sew around the entire edge of the blanket. You may wish to pin the section where the gap is but I find I dont need to since the flannel is adheres pretty well to itself.


Press the blanket one more time if you like and you are done!

Here they are in the sunlight:



And some I made a year ago:
DSCN1849.JPG

108 comments:

Jodie said...

Great idea - super quick for baby gifts too and i adore sock monkeys and sock monkey fabrics....must get onto that whiplash challenge......
jodie

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

Such a good tut!! Thank you so much!

Joanna Butchart said...

I love that so easy but effective. half of my friends seem to be pregnant at the moment and i wanted to make them something but was unsure what to make. Now I know. Thanks

mama k said...

Cute!
I've made taggie-style blankets with a similar approach. I can say from experience that you don't want the blankets too thick, too stiff or too small if you are going to be using them for swaddling. I got so many crocheted, plush, thick blankets at my baby shower. Nice, but not too practical.
I wound up swiping two thin flannel receiving blankets from the hospital and they got the most use.

(found you via whipup)

Jelly Wares said...

I got your link through whip-up. Great tutorial. These blankets are just too easy with your instructions. Well done!!

Jodie

kt said...

Also found you throught whip-up--these are great! Good instructions; I feel ready to go, even as a novice with a sewing machine! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Your idea appears very simple but unless I have a pattern, I am lost. I am one of the people who cannot just follow directions. Do you have a pattern out?

abmatic said...

I dont have a pattern out, sorry! If there were a pattern it would consist of a ~45" by 36" rectangle with rounded corners. Does that help?

Carol said...

I am sewing a baby blanket today. Thanks for your help!

Anonymous said...

I don't see your instructions for closing the gap - I'm a beginner . . . I assume I do that part by hand before I press a final time?

abmatic said...

you can close the gap by hand, but you can also just sew it shut when you do the top stitching. The flannel sticks to itself pretty well so it isnt hard to do that short section without it being sewn together.

linda schooley said...

I made a couple of this for a girl at my daughters work and she just loves them i made them square but i used 1 1/4 solid color on one side and print on other side and they are also perfect for laying them on the floor right thickness also now i know how to round the corners i also made burp clothes to go with them came out great thanks for the ideas. Linda Schooley

Sven said...

Good Job! :)

Sarah said...

This looks like exactly what I'm looking for, but do you think it would still work with batting? Would I need to do any extra stitching in the middle to keep the batting in place??
Many thanks for your instructions!!

camicool said...

I'm 10 and my grandmother and I made one of these blankets for my art teacher. I used snoopy and wookstock instead of sock monkey. It was fun and easy to do.

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I've only recently started trying to sew, so I've been scouring the internet for easy sewing projects. When I found this, it was so well explained that I knew I could do it and tonight I did. It took me less time to complete this than to watch (granted I didn't get to watch much of it) the movie that I put on. Thanks so much for this tutorial. It made it so simple.

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pam said...

Try buying a yard and a quarter. You can then make a blanket that is roughly 1 1/2 yds. square by using the entire width of the material,assuming (like most flannels) that it is 45" wide. I've been making the larger size for about 30 years, for myself and gifts. Everyone says it's the most appreciated (and practical) thing they receive and most kids use them for years and years! I use a big dinner plate to make the corners for a nice large curve.

pam said...

Edit to above post:
I meant to say:
You can then make a blanket that is roughly 1 1/4 yds. square
Sorry :)

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