One of my new year’s resolutions was to sew a simple blanket and here it is – my first baby blankets! It was so easy, I made two! One with owls and one with elephants, both are reversible. I used a combination of flannel and cotton fabrics for these blankets. It made a nice lightweight blanket perfect for baby or spring. Requires no batting!
Simply sew two squares of fabric together leaving a 6-inch wide opening un-sewn. Turn inside out by pulling fabric through opening, then topstitch! Voila! I used a fun decorative stitch for the border since my sewing machine had them.
Next time I would also like to personalize with applique using felt letters or fused fabric letters!
2 Squares of Fabric approx. 1 yard each
Sewing Thread like Gutermann or Aurafil (Polyester or Cotton)
Fabrics I Used
Fanfare by Cloud 9, Organic Cotton Flannel, 2 Yards
Bright Owl Allover by Springs Creative Products, Cotton Flannel, 1 Yard
Sweet Meadow Panel by Springs Creative Products, 100% Cotton, 1 Panel
Owl Blanket – 35.5″ wide x 40.5″ high
Elephant Blanket – 34″ wide x 41″ high
1. LAUNDER FABRIC by washing, drying, then ironing fabric. Be sure to wash and dry as appropriate for the fiber content and as you would in the future.
2. LINE UP FABRIC to ensure you are working with clean edges and fabric prints are properly aligned. Trim edges to square up corners and make straight. Adjust placement so both pieces are oriented as desired. Trim again to make equal. See Notes for more on how to properly “true up” fabric.
3. PIN FABRIC by placing right sides of fabric facing each other (so only wrong sides are showing). Make sure corners and edges are lined up correctly, smooth out fabrics. Iron if necessary. Repeat until well aligned. Pin along sides to make sure fabric stays in place.
4. MARK FABRIC using fabric chalk or pins. Mark a 6-inch wide opening on one side where you will not sew. This opening will be used to turn the blanket inside out. Optional: Create a rounded corner by placing a cup or bowl in the corner, trace, and trim.
5. SEW FABRIC using a 5/8″ seam allowance beginning at one mark and ending at the other. Be sure to leave the 6-inch opening un-sewn and backstitch at each mark.
6. PRESS OPEN SEAMS before turning inside out. For rounded corners, cut notches in corners to reduce bulk. Fold open flaps and iron flat along seam to flatten.
7. TURN INSIDE OUT by pulling corners through opening. Poke out corners with a butter knife or pen.
8. IRON OUT EDGES to ensure nice clean folds at the seams.
9. TOP STITCH along border to finish! Choose a traditional Straight Stitch or try a decorative stitch if your machine provides them. Stitch using 1/2″ seam allowance. Polish off by ironing along border to press topstitch flat.
“True up” your fabric to give all edges a straight clean line and re-orient the weave of a fabric to make it lay flat and square giving it 90-degree corners. It will help printed fabrics like stripes or checkers and nap fabrics like Corduroy lay perfectly on your piece. Here is a great tutorial on how to “true-up” or “square-up” your fabric on The Daily Sew. She uses a striped fabric which is a great example.
In a nutshell, you will remove selvedges by snipping and tearing along grain line, tug fabric on the bias across entire piece and back, remove the jagged edge by finding the weft thread and pull to find the crossgrain line, cut along that line. Don’t forget to steam and iron between each step.
I chose easy prints like Polka Dots because it’s an allover print. For first time sewers repetitive patterns that have no orientation are more forgiving. Prints like stripes, plaids, and checkers can be more difficult because they have a direction with straight lines and angles that must be aligned, cut, and sewn accordingly.
Buying Fabric – Choose cotton or cotton blends. They’re the easiest to work with for beginner projects. Make sure it’s machine washable and dryable. Usually sold by the yard or portions of a yard, fabrics can come in 42-59 inch wide bolts. Just read the bolt or ask someone to find out the fiber content or width.
1 yard = 36 inches. So 1 yard of 42″ fabric will give you a 36″x42″ piece. If a larger than the bolt size is needed, you may have to turn the fabric sideways and sew together more fabric to create one larger piece. If the fabric has a pattern, aligning the pattern exactly where the cuts meet and buying enough extra fabric to account for that is required. How best to sew and cut so seams look nice will depend on the size of the piece and the print pattern.
See here for my list of places to buy fabric online. Also, the right tools really help a project come out professional.
Use any seam allowance you prefer. Next time I may want to topstitch a wider border so I may stitch 1-inch from edge for chunkier border.
Working with 2 pieces of flannel was slightly difficult because they’d keep sticking together making lots of wrinkles. I found working from one corner out in each direction and smoothing and pinning as I went helped me line up the fabric easier.
For one blanket, I topstitched using 2 colors! I used a different color for the bobbin thread! One side has gold stitching while the other has blue! The bottom stitch turned out a little funky because the colors mixed but I still like it! *Be sure to use the same type of thread for both the spool and bobbin.
Sewing is 80% prep work and only 20% of actual sewing! In short, it’s a lot of ironing! Plus preparing the fabric. The sewing itself takes only minutes. My first sewing class was taught by a quilter at Purl Soho who emphasized the right tools and good sewing habits. It was a great class, the lessons I learned I follow even today.
I got this simple blanket idea from Stay At Home Artist, I love how her blankets came out. She has a wonderful tutorial with lots of photos.
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