Friday, August 22, 2014

Easy Beginner Blanket Tutorial

Who's tired of those damn no-sew tie blankets?  You and me both.
I find a clean finished blanket is much more professional.
And never mind that you loose 8 inches off the width and length of your fabric with the tied ends.


Ready for the easiest, peasiest blanket tutorial ever?  This is a PERFECT beginner, "first item I ever sewed", project.  You will get lots of practice sewing straight lines.
Plus, the lucky person in your life will be grateful...and warm.

I used fleece here because that's what my kids picked out.  But you could certainly use flannel, minky or any other soft, fuzzy fabric you find.

First thinks first. Let's talk about needles and sewing feet.
Fleece and flannel is medium weight fabrics-so you need a 14/90 needle.
When sewing blankets, it is very handy to use a walking foot.  A walking foot has feet that grab the fabric from the top.  The feed dogs (the little metal things below your presser foot) grab the fabric from the bottom. Put the two together, the top and bottom fabrics will pull through the machine at the same time. With an all purpose foot, the top fabric generally shifts down and can distort your project.  No one wants that.

Each of my girls picked out a yard of character fleece fabric. Then I headed over to the remnant section to find the fleece backing.  There are ALWAYS 1 yard bundles of fleece in the remnants with are automatically 1/2 off the current price of the fabric.  SCORE!

1. On these character fleeces, there is a very wide selvage (white boarder).
Cut that off, but leave 1/2" of it-this will be your seam allowance.  Leave the rest of the yard as is.

Ali picked purple to back her Toy Story fleece.
2. Which ever piece is larger, lay it down on the floor, right side up.  Doing this on carpet is helpful because it won't slide around on you.

3. Lay the other piece on top right side down, aligning to of the edges. Fabrics will be right sides together.

4.  Cut off the excess of the larger piece. If your small fleece panel isn't straight-see the right side?
Then cut it as straight as you can, you may need to trim some of the top piece.

5.  Pin around entire blanket.

6.  Start sewing in the middle of one of the short sides.  Sew around entire blanket with 1/2" seam allowance.
When you get to a corner, stop sewing 1/2" before the end, turn your work, and sew down the next edges.

7.  As you get close to where you started sewing, leave a 6-8" opening for turning the blanket.

8.  Clip your corners.  I also like to trim the seam allowance around the corner as well. This will give you nice and clean corners after turning.

9.  Stick your hand/arm/elbow/shoulder through the opening and grab the opposite side of the blanket.

10. Grab it like a puppet mouth! Pull the blanket through the opening.
Starting on the opposite side and pulling is a smoother pull than starting closer to the opening.

11.  Pick a pokermabob of your choice.  Trust me here.  Do NOT use scissors point or your seam ripper to poke corners out.  Chop stick or that little blue ruler thing works really well.

12.  Take your pokermabob, and stick it back into the opening.  Push all 4 corners out so they are pretty.

13.  Pin your opening closed. Make sure you didn't leave the pokermabob inside the blanket. Surgeons first mistake!  Just tuck each side of the opening in by 1/2" and pin together.

14.  Let's make the seams look nice.  Using your fingers, rub the seam until it pops out and smooth.  You can press the seam if you'd like, but definitely pin it in place.  Do this around the entire blanket.  Call me crazy, but this will make your blanket look professional.

15.  Once all pinned, again, top stitch around entire blanket at 1/4".  This will close the opening and tack the two sides together.

Admire your work!

(PS-Do you hate that tan wall color? I sure as hell do.  blah!)

Give it to your favorite person/people!