Normally, when the urge strikes, I try to wait it out and hope that it passes. I really don’t enjoy the hassle of getting the machine set up, finding matching thread, pre-shrinking fabric and cleaning up the mess that sewing creates. However, I have to admit that if you can sew, you can make some cool stuff.
A friend recently had a baby boy, and I thought oh, shucks, I should make him a baby blanket. Even if you are not an expert seamstress (which I certainly am not), you can make a great baby blanket. I learned how to make them when I was ten. They involve nothing but straight seams, unless you want to get fancy (which I certainly do not).
I prefer to make mine from two layers of cotton flannel, so they are extremely soft. The weight is really nice – not too heavy, but not too light. There are several sizes for baby blankets, depending on personal taste, and whether they are for swaddling, the crib, the car seat, or a carriage. The finished measurement I was going for in this case is about 36” x 43,” to be used as a combination crib blanket and swaddling blanket. For that, I bought 2 1/8th yards of 45” fabric.
Step 1: Start by pre-washing your flannel. This is going to make it softer and also remove that weird sizing smell. Dry it in the dryer – this is an important part of pre-shrinking.
Step 2: Ironing. You know how much I love that, but it is a necessary step. You don’t want to give a wrinkled blanket as a gift. People would talk. Get it nice and flat.
Step 3: Fold the fabric in half and lay it out on the table, right (printed) sides together. It may not be perfectly even. Don’t stress. Do the best you can, and trim it up so that it’s as even as possible.
Step 4: Pin the edges together. See the way I have the pins? This is so that you can just sew right over them with your sewing machine (be careful – don’t actually let your sewing machine needle hit a pin). LEAVE AN OPENING OF SIX INCHES WHEN YOU ARE AT THE LAST SECTION. You will need to turn the blanket inside out when you are almost done. For a seam, I use the 5/8 mark on my sewing machine.
Step 5: Trim the edges. I like to use pinking shears, which keeps the fabric from unraveling. Check out the trick on the corners – cut at an angle, which will get them to come out nice and pointed.
Step 6: Cup of coffee and cookie break. Domesticity is tiring. We don’t want your blood sugar dropping.
Step 7: Turn the blanket inside-out . For those corners, if you don’t have a special tool for that purpose, get a pencil and poke the fabric out. Finally, it’s time to stitch that opening closed. Fold the raw fabric edges of your opening inside, and hand-stitch (or machine stitch, if you prefer) the opening closed.
Step 8: Back to the iron. Give the blanket a nice pressing, run a lint roller over it to get the loose threads and dryer lint off of it , and it is ready to be wrapped. It looks especially cute if you use ribbon to tie it up. Easy!