Thursday, February 17, 2011

Baby Blanket(s) Sewing 101

Before my lil' fella was born, my aunt knitted ablanket for him. I also recieved like 100 more blankets at my showers. Really, only like 15, but that's still a lot.  Most of them are really small and he is getting too big for them at a year old. So, when my cousin's baby shower rolled around, my aunt made 3 blankets for her baby, and I got a little J :) So I asked if she could make one for Lil' Man, he was outgrowing the baby ones anyway. I went to Jo-Ann's, muh favorite store, and found some flannel fabric to get started.

Now, I have never sewn before. Except when I was little my grandmother had a fancy schmancy sewing machine that made all sorts of neat seams and designs, as well as letters. She used to let us practice sewing our names on fabric. I still have one of the little pieces of fabric she let me design. Sigh. Oh the memories.

Anyway, back to the story, since I am a beginnner, I asked her to sew it for me. She informed me that for the size I wanted, I would need 2.25 yards of fabric. This would give me a square blanket when she was through with the seams and all. It took me a while to find the perfect fabric, mainly because there is so much cute girly prints there that I couldn't stop looking at them! Ah! So I ended up finding a super cute print that was white with a bunch of different colored shapes and dogs on it. Not too baby-ish.

I ended up the the cutest stinkin' blanket eva! Previously, I had tried to sew a cushion and pillow for the rocking chair in Lil' man's room, and it turned out pretty funky looking. This blanket, however, was puuuurfect! How in the world did she do it? I mean, the seams were flat and perfect!! SO I called her up and begged her to tell me her secrets. Now, I'm sure many people know these secrets, but I was totally oblivious! So I will lay it out for you. I am one that over-analizes everything, and I want directions that are
S-P-E-L-L-E-D out for me so I know exactly what I'm doing, and why I am doing it!

Here goes....

Most flannel fabric bolts at Jo-Ann's are 41" wide and a yard is 36" long. So 2.25 yds of fabric will give you 81" of fabric. When you divide that by 2(because you need a front and back) you get 40.5. Now, by my sinple calculations, that's about as close as you'll get to square. Also, Jo-Ann's fabric has sections at the bottom of the fabric that say "Made exclusively for Jo-Ann's", you will have to work around that. I bought the same fabric for the whole 2.25 yds for the blanket she made. For the blanket I made, I bought two different fabrics.

I'm pretty sure I got a 1.25 yards in each fabric for some wiggle room in case I totally screwed it up.  I didn't cut them to size, I just lined them up and started sewing. I faced them towards each other and sewed a zigzag seam about 1/4 inch from the edge. Any seam will work I'm sure, my machine is ancient and refuses to sew a straight seam, hence the zigzag. 

After I got to the end and my blanket was almost sewn together, I stopped and ironed the edges. My aunt told me that this step is not necessary, but makes the seams flatter and straighter when you flip it right-side out. AND IT DOES. Probably why my rocking chair cushions look like a 5 yr old made them :).  I had left about an inch and half space open to flip it. A bigger space would be easier to pull the fabric through, but then, that's more space I'll have to hold together while I'm trying to sew.  When I get the fabric pulled through and face up on both sides, I have to sew together the opening I left.  So fold the pieces inward to match the other seam and sew it together. BUT before you do that, you need to  decide on what type of seam you want to use for the "border"(that's what I call it, I don't know the technical term). I had to use zigzag of course. My border is about 3/4 of an inch thick. 

You can use that same seam to sew the space and to make the border. I only stopped the machine to turn the fabric for the corners and that's it. I continued all the way around the square until I met the start seam. My blanket(including the seams) ended up being about 39.75 inches and a 3/4 inch border.

 This blanket was easy peasy for real!

I bought 4 more types of coordinating fabric for 2 more reversible blankets, but just haven't had the time to sew them up. When I get a chance, I will take pics of the process which may help more.

Hope this has helped anyone out there. I'm so lucky to have such great knowledge just a phone call away!

(Oh, and sorry for the dark and blurry pics, my camera is not-so-great. Hope to get a better one with tax money. Here's to wishful thinking:)

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