09 September 2008

Supereasy and soft fleece baby blanket tutorial

One of the things I've made for Savannah that has gotten the most use over the years is a double-sided fleece blanket (okay she has at least four of them). When she was little, it protected her from hard surfaces for tummy play and protected my carpets from baby drool. Later they were used in the car to keep her warm before the car warmed up. Then they were used to soften the wagon ride, to snuggle in the jogger on cold days, for tea parties, to tuck her dolls in, and larger sizes are used outside (or inside) for picnics and for forts. So to us, they are indispensable (not to mention machine-washable, soft, and durable).

1. Cut two same-size pieces of fleece (we usually coordinate one solid with one color) in the size you prefer, or about 30" x 36".

2. Place them right sides together (or wrong sides out).

3. Using your favorite seam length from 3/8" to 5/8", sew around the perimeter of the blanket leaving a 5-6" opening in the middle of one end. If any of your seams are uneven or larger than 1/2", simply trim away the excess fabric. If perfection is your thing, you can pin and use a walking foot rather than a regular foot.

4. Using the opening, pull the right sides out being sure to pinch the corners so they turn sharply. You can also shape these after the blanket is turned right side out.

5. Once you're satisfied, topstitch around the perimeter (I usually topstitch in contrasting colors and about 1.5"-2" inside the seam).

Here I am topstitching with my walking foot and I have a line drawn on my machine so I can sew a relatively even seam. I used a water-soluble fabric marker for the line - it washes off the machine very easily and if any rubs on the fabric, it comes right off in water.

6. Next sew up the opening by hand using matching or invisible thread. Voila, a super-soft fleece baby blanket.

This one is for my friend Melissa whose baby's sex is a surprise. I thought the bright colors and navy backing were neutral enough for any kiddo plus, babies love the contrasting stripes, even before their eyes can see colors. I might make one just like this for myself as well.

This one is for a high school friend in NY who is having a baby boy with a sailboat themed room. Something about these blue stripes said French Navy to me.


Francine said...

Thank you! This was a big help as I was looking for the proper instructions on how to sew the blanket rather than use the tie system. One side of my blanket is a velboa which requires sewing.


AlwaysCreatingSomething said...

I hope it all works out for you Francine. This week we are having just the sort of weather where these blankets are needed! I wrap mine around my little one in his carseat and when we get to our destination, he has a warm and thick blanket to play on that's easy to wash.


elle said...

so...you leave just a tiny opening and then pull through...then how do you get the rest stitched from the inside...new at sewing! thanks so much! :)

AlwaysCreatingSomething said...

Hi Elle, You can leave whatever size opening you feel comfortable with to turn the blanket right sides out. I prefer to make mine as small as possible because whatever I leave open I have to sew closed by hand, but when I was just starting out, I liked to leave a larger opening to make it easier to turn. The stitching done after the blanket is turned is meant to be invisible, so it is done by hand, not by machine. You can find a great tutorial with lots of pictures here: http://stardustshoes.blogspot.com/2009/04/baseball-stitch.html to help stitch the hole closed with the baseball stitch. Fortunately, fleece is exceptionally forgiving for those of us who don't sew by hand very often.

After you've turned your blanket right sides out, the seam you just sewed will be hidden inside the blanket. I then topstitch, often with a zigzag stitch, which is forgiving, around the perimeter of the blanket. This stitching will show (probably why it's called topstitching) but is optional. It does give the blanket a more finished look and helps so that the sides stay put instead of sliding past each other. I hope this helps Elle! Good luck. Sara