Before Grace was born (back when I had time to be aimless), I was aimlessly walking around in a fabric store when an elderly clerk struck up a conversation. I mentioned that I wanted to make some things to use when my baby arrived. She suggested making receiving blankets because the commercial ones are never big enough.
I made a few of these blankets that very afternoon. Each one cost less than $3 because I got the flannel on a 50% off sale.
How to make your own flannel receiving blankets
- Two yards of baby flannel. I like to use two different but coordinating prints, but you can use whatever you like.
- Coordinating thread
- The first step is to ask the girl at the fabric counter to cut two one-yard pieces of the flannel. If you're using two different fabrics, it's obvious. But if you're using two pieces of the same flannel, the clerk might not be willing to cut it in two pieces. Ask anyway.
- Wash and dry the fabric. Iron if necessary to remove any big wrinkles.
- Place a one-yard piece of flannel, right side up, on a smooth, flat surface. Lay the second piece of flannel, right side down, on top of the first.
- Pin the layers together every inch or so, the whole way around. In the sake of full disclosure, I'll admit that I always skip this step. I shouldn't, but I always do.
- Begin sewing in the middle of one side.Ã‚ Do not start at a corner!Ã‚ It seems like a corner would be a good place to start, but you're going to have to turn the whole blanket right side out later and an unsewn corner will fall apart and give you a big headache. Using a straight stitch and a ¼-inch seam allowance, sew to the first corner. Without cutting the thread, turn and sew the second side, then the third. Stop, turn, and sew some of the fourth side. Leave a hole in the fourth side large enough to put your fist through.
- Turn the blanket right sides out. Use your finger or the blunt end of a pen to poke the corners out into points. Look at my two example photos. The corners won't be perfect and pointy, but that's okay. Smooth the edges out with your fingers or press them so that they're really flat.
- Locate the hole where you turned the blanket. Pin this together so that the edges stay tucked inside while you're finishing the blanket.
- Next, sew around the edge of the blanket a second time. Do not start on side one this time, as that will weaken the seam on that side. As long as you start on side two, three, or four, it won't matter whether you start in the middle of the side or on the corner. Sew, using a very small seam allowance, ⅛” if you can. Like before, don't cut the thread until you've gone the whole way around. You will want to back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam. Look at the blankets in my photos to see examples of this seam.
That's it. Your blanket is finished. Wasn't thatÃ‚ easy?
Variations on the Oversized Flannel Receiving Blanket
- If you follow my directions exactly, your blanket will be 36 inches by 45 inches, a nice big rectangle.
- If you would rather have a square blanket, cut the end off to make a 36 inch by 36 inch square or buy 45 inches (that's a yard and a quarter) of flannel for a 45"x45" square.
- If you want your blanket to have rounded corners (instead of square, semi-pointy ones), you could trace a dinner plate or CD at each corner and cut and sew along the curved line.
- If you want the blanket to have a fancy, satin, or lace edge, you could buy a pack of blanket edging at the fabric store. Place it in between theÃ‚ two layers of the blanket in step 3 of the preparation. If you do that, you'll definitely have to use pins in step 4.
- Rather than using a matching thread, you can use a contrasting thread to give the edges an extra detail. I did that in my sample blanket above. You could use a zigzag stitch to finish the blanket or, if your sewing machine has fancy stitches programmed in, you could use one of those for a fun edging. Place it ¼” to ⅝” from the edge of the blanket.
- If you want a heavier weight blanket, sew a layer of fleece in between the two layers of flannel.
Next week, I'm going to show you how to follow this same procedure to make your own diaper changing pad. It's just as easy!
Psst - Are you wondering where this crazy, unrelated sewing for baby post came from? No, it's not a hint about our family's growing. It's not.
I found this post (and the one that will publish next Wednesday) in a folder of old projects on my hard drive, and I thought they were good. The blankets I made for myself were my favorite favorites.
I figured the tutorials would help somebody (even though I'm not going to need baby blankets any time soon - or ever again, some of you will). Maybe you!