Monday, July 30, 2012

blankets 101

We have a LOT of baby blankets around here. A lot of them homemade, and each one with its own special significance.

The first sewing project I ever did was a tiny little blanket for my baby boy (I mean really tiny, it was about the size of two tablecloths put together, perhaps because the material I used was suuuper expensive). My friend Jill helped me, and she was the first person to introduce me to actual sewing on my own. Oh how scared I was!

and that's when I learned that even to a first-time sewer, making blankets is really easy!

I get a lot of comments from people like, "I wish I could be crafty and sew." But the thing is, you don't need to be crafty to know how to sew. You don't even need to know how to measure. A lot of times I don't measure my fabric when I make pillows and blankets and burp rags, etc. And if you don't happen to own a sewing machine, get a friend who does and collaborate to make this easy project! Make it a girls day. (I so need more of those...)

I still have my own baby blanket. I laid it in Charlotte's pack n play to sleep on at night. It's light cotton material and doesn't make her hot at night.

Don't you just love the randomness? clowns, horses, bunnies and bears. haha!

Ever since C was born she has been in love with this blanket, made by her auntie Layla. She can't go to sleep without being swaddled in it. I'm not even kidding. I have tried to swaddle her in other blankets but she just squirms and tries to wriggle out.

But I don't want to take it away, because its special to us. Not only was it made by her aunt, but the fabric itself is from my grandmother's stash. My grandmother that passed away some years ago. It's a wonderful sentiment to know that my baby is wrapped tight in something that her own great-grandmother hand picked and kept for so long. We love this blanket.

Sadly, C is getting too chunky to be comfortably swaddled in this blanket. The time has come to make her a bigger swaddler. (She will always be snuggling up to the first one, though, I'm sure!)

Truth be told I've actually never made a blanket for C. Among all those other little crafts that kept me so busy while awaiting her arrival, I didn't make one single blanket. Go figure. I guess it's long overdue!

For those of you that just had babies, are expecting, or would like to make a great baby shower gift, here are my tips on the perfect swaddle blanket:

*must be square. The one we currently have is 1 yd x 1yd.
*made from lightweight fabric, such as cotton. You don't want that babe to get too warm when they're all wrapped up. I like to do one side cotton and one flannel- its thin enough yet so very soft.
*One word... pre-wash!  Always pre-wash your fabric. If you don't, then when you wash your blanket it will come out billowy and slightly distorted. Especially if you use two different kinds of fabric like me.
*buy a print that you just love! That makes it much more fun :]

Don't know how to swaddle? Here's my step-by-step routine that I have to do about a dozen times a day with miss Charlotte.

Lay blanket flat. Fold one corner over so that it's about as long as the length of your baby.

Place baby on the folded corner, making sure that the edge of the fabric meets their shoulder line. 
 Take one side and wrap over baby's chest. Tuck it in nice & tight. she always gets cranky when I start tucking.

Repeat on the other side. Keep it very tight.

 It should look something like this.

Then take the bottom and fold up to baby's chest, tucking the excess around baby's side. I like to make a point with the bottom corner.

and there you have it. That's how I swaddle though I'm sure other techniques work just as good.

Now to make your own swaddle blanket!
*I realize this is a beginner level project, but I wanted this to be for those that are new to sewing. Shoot, I'm still a beginner sewer!

First, get yo fabric!
And if you do buy flannel, buy about a 1/2  to 1/4 yd extra, because it shrinks terribly in the dryer.

ps- this fabric is from Joanns. They have a groovy collection of designer prints, and yes they are more expensive but that's what those coupons are for, ladies :) You can get Joanns coupons through the mail AND through text as you enter the store.

Wash, dry, and iron fabric.
Lay them out flat on the floor. It's up to you how big you want it. I made this one just a little bigger since C is growing.

Put right sides together and measure your length and width to make sure they match. I like to trim off any excess fabric with my rotary cutters, just so its all nice and even.

Pin along the edges.
Sew 1/4 inch seam along all 4 edges, leaving a hand's width open. If you have decorative stitching I suggest doing a small zigzag, which will hold it together better.

Snip the corners. This makes them pointy! (be careful not to cut the thread)

Turn right sides out and check the stitching to make sure its even and that there are no open spots. Loop stitch the opening by hand, making sure the raw edges are turned IN.

See? It's that easy! Now you have a blanket!

If you guys like this tutorial, let me know. I don't usually do them and I will be happy to do more if anyone cares to read them :D (and if you have a request about how to make something, let me know that too! It doesn't have to be sewing related, and if it is, I probably got it from this blog.)

Happy sewing!


Shelley and Eric said...

I love tutorials! Even if you know how to do something already, it's nice to see how someone else does it!

The Garlands said...

Good tutorial. :) Charlotte is so cute!!! I hope we can see you in a couple weeks!

Layla said...

Cute new blanket. Glad you guys love the one that I made.