Monday, December 8, 2014

Baby's First Blanket

At some point between 11 and 12 weeks, I woke up at 4:30 am and informed Berkeley that "The baby needs a blanket!" and that I was going to be the one to make it. Naturally, his response was that unless I wanted Walmart fabrics for the blanket I needed to go back to sleep and wait until a more reasonable time to start this project. I fell back asleep dreaming about the blanket I was going to make for the baby. At 11am, we walked into the fabric store with a plan, and two and a half hours later we walked out with a handful of different fabrics and a whole different plan.
Backing up a little bit to August, right before we found out, I made the above simple snuggle blanket for our friends. It was a yard of flannel and a yard of cotton. I was planning to make the same kind of blanket for our little one. Then a funky polka dotted flannel entered my life! I love it but I couldn't find anything that matched well enough, thus a new plan took over.
What happens when you fall in love with a piece of polka dotted flannel? You buy it! What happens when you can't decide on a fabric to back it with? You quilt it! And that is just what ended up happening. Two and a half weeks, two more trips to the fabric store, and 255 square pieces of fabric later, I finally had the front and back for my blanket.

Here is where the two ideas merged. I used the same basic "technique" for both blankets.
1. Iron and layout your top and bottom pieces of fabric. Trim as needed. The first blanket I kept at approximately 36" x 42" which is what the two pieces measured coming off the bolt. For our baby's blanket, I pieced together the top part with 17 rows of 15 3-inch squares. The math with seam allowances came up to a top piece measuring approximately 38" x 43".  Since my flannel piece is right from the bolt, I trimmed the top piece to match in dimensions.

2. Lay the two pieces together with right sides facing each other and pin edges together. For this blanket, I used extra safety pins to hold everything together to make sure the lines on the top piece were as straight as possible. For just two solid pieces you might not need to place the extra safety pins.

3. Sew around the edge with a 5/8" seam allowance leaving a two to four inch opening on one side. You will flip the blanket right side out using this opening.
4. Turn blanket ride side out and push out the corners. Fold in open edge. For each blanket, I had added something to the top piece after having the blanket mostly made. On the first blanket I added an embroidered monogram and a tag (shown at the top of this post), and on my baby's blanket I embroidered one of the quilt squares. This is the point in which I added those things. I also repined the middle with safety pins to keep things straight.
5. Stitch through both layers of the blanket 1/2" from the edge with an accent thread. This will be a visible stitch. The large seam allowance in step 4 allows the top stitch in this step to secure the opening used to flip the blanket right side out. I also used this step to add a decorative stitch (shown on the brown edge square in the two photos above).
After your top stitch you are done. Obviously, this blanket for our baby is less than perfect but that doesn't matter to me. All that I wanted to do was get it done. Now I can't wait to have a baby to snuggle in it, to lay on it, to build forts with it.  I can not wait for our son or daughter to be here to (hopefully) love it! Next on my more crafty baby to do list is refinishing a chifforobe and a rocking chair.

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