Monday, August 10, 2009

Simple Baby Blankie

Finally, some instructions for a simple baby blankie! Sorry for the delay. I tried to keep this tutorial simple because it really is an easy project, but you know me! I couldn't resist a lot of detail and photos. Don't be intimidated by the length of this tutorial, once you've done a couple they will really not take you very long.

- One full yard (or) two half yards (or) four fat quarters of quilting cotton.
- One yard no pill fleece (flannel is nice too) & matching thread.
- One package satin blanket binding & matching thread.
- Long ruler, scissors, marker, sewing machine.

1. Assemble the top. If you are using a full yard of fabric, you're already done! For the half yards, cut each piece in half length-wise to get four 18"x22" pieces. Square these up. With the halved half yard pieces or the fat quarters, sew together in a checkerboard pattern. Press well.

2. Smooth and Baste

a. Spread the fleece on the floor, preferably on a carpeted surface (it sticks like velcro) and smooth out all the wrinkles. Smooth from the center out until you get no more puckers as you smooth. There is sometimes a slightly nicer side to the fleece, a little fuzzier - make sure this is facing the carpet, this is your "right side."

b. Lay the blanket top right side up on the fleece and smooth out all the wrinkles.

You can see I didn't get a very generous cut of fleece so I'll lose a little of my top when I trim later.

c. Lightly baste - I usually only do pins along the edges and the midlines, to hold it together and keep it from sliding when I pick it up.

3. Square it up.

Using your long ruler and a marker, draw lines where you'll need to square up your blanket. If your lines cross your edge pins, adjust your pins to be inside your lines. Use your sewing scissors to trim along the lines. The binding will cover up the edges so don't worry if some of your marker lines don't get trimmed off.

Ignore that there are no pins in the vertical midline, there should be!

4. Quilt.

Sew the centerlines (see yellow lines below) each direction - follow the seams if you pieced the top, or make a light pencil mark if you used a full yard. I usually use thread that matches the fleece backing.

5. Bind.

a. Binding is the slightly tricky part! Unwrap your binding and with your iron on a medium setting (no steam!!) press out the fold marks in your binding, leaving it folded in half.

b. Press in ~1/4" on each end.

c. You'll notice it's not perfectly in half, one layer is a little longer.

With the longer edge on the bottom, sandwich your blankie edge between the two layers of binding. On one long side of your blankie, start the binding at least 12" from the corner, and start sewing about 6" from the end of the binding.

d. Set your machine to a wide, short zig zag. Use thread that matches the binding. Feel the blanket through the binding - you should have the binding overlapping about 1/3" of the blanket edge. I usually use my walking foot so the top and bottom of the binding get fed evenly but you can also pin it to keep it even. If it's still feeding unevenly, keep your left hand behind the machine, pulling lightly on the folded edge of the binding as you feed the blanket through - a little tricky but it seems to help.

e. Zig zag all the way to the first corner, backstitching a little when you get there.

f. To turn the corner, pull the blanket out of the machine and trim the threads. Hold the binding along the next edge, and slide it until the corner isn't rounded or pointy.

Too round.

Too pointy.

Just right.

g. Pin where you were holding the binding.

h. Pull the top binding layer to the front and the bottom layer to the back.

i. Pinch the fold and adjust until you have a nice mitred corner on the front. Pin.

j. Adjust the same way on the back and pin.

k. Once the corner is under your presser foot, carefully take out the pins in the corner so you don't break your needle. Zig zag stitch along the mitre seam for ~1/4", stopping with the needle down on the right. Lift the presser foot and pivot so you can continue down the edge of the blankie.

l. Continue sewing down the edges, repeating steps 5(f-k) at each corner.

m. When you get to the last edge, stop sewing ~6" from where you started.

n. Smooth the binding down towards the starting point and pin just the top layer.

o. Smooth the beginning binding down to see where the folded/ironed edge meets the ending of the binding. Pin just through the pressed under bit and binding you pinned in step (n). Remove the pin from step (n).

p. Flip the binding so the right sides are together and stitch along the pressed line. Make sure to switch back to a straight stitch for this! Trim to 1/4".

q. Lay binding back along the blanket edge, switch back to the zig zag stitch, and finish binding. Overlap a little where you started and stopped.

6. Final Touches

There will be loose threads at each corner, and at your starting and stopping point. I like to hide these in the binding rather than just clipping the edge. Just thread the loose threads through your needle, put your needle into the binding where the threads originate, and exit the binding at the outer crease. Trim threads.

Voila!! A sweet little blankie perfect for a sweet little baby...

Remember if you make one of these to please add it to the (very lonely) Flickr group for my tutorials!

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