Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Weekend sewing project: Baby blanket

When I was a kid, I wanted to be creative. I remember having visions of grand drawings in my head, but somehow when pen was applied to paper, nothing recognizable came out. I can't sing or act very well, and while I used to play the flute, I was no virtuoso. Even now, my job requires some graphic design skills, but I'm the last one you'd want to go to if you want something sexy and gorgeous-looking for a web site. Heck, even when it comes to painting my house, I have to get a professional interior designer friend to choose colors for me. It's that bad!

So when I started sewing as a hobby in my early 20s, I was excited to find that I'm pretty darn good at it. I make all of our jousting outfits, and everything for the horses. I've done saddle pads, comforters, and loads of 14th century clothes. I don't make modern clothing, and I don't quilt, but I can look at a painting or photograph of something and make it come out pretty much the same. Yay, creativity I can handle!

Anyway, the latest assignment was a blanket for a baby boy for a good friend of mine. The nursery colors were spring green, grey, and purple, with a forest animal theme. I didn't want the blanket to be too warm (it's Texas in the summer, people!), and I wanted to keep the purple to a minimum, so that a little boy wouldn't mind the colors as he got older. I also wanted to include some cute animals on it to keep with the theme, but they needed to be animals I could applique on, since I don't have a machine that does embroidery.

I liked these cute animals and used them as the basis for the blanket, although as you'll see I changed it up a bit.

I ended up choosing a spring green polarfleece for the blanket background, grey polarfleece for the critters, and a blue flannel lining. I used purple thread to applique the critters on, as well as to create a decorative stitched border around the entire blanket.

 Applique is about 10000x easier if you use iron-on wonder-under stabilizer. The only trick is that you have to keep your iron hot enough to iron on the stabilizer, but not so hot that you melt the (100% polyester) polarfleece. Ask me how I know this! Here's the first two sheets ironed on the polarfleece.

 After freehanding the critters onto 8.5x11 sheets of paper and cutting them out, I traced them onto the stabilizer and cut the critters out of the fabric.

 Laying out the critters on the blanket. I don't recall cutting out a cat?

 The final layout. Critters were then pinned in place.

 Ironing the critters onto the blanket so that I could then applique them on. I used a sheet of paper between the iron and the fleece so as not to melt it.

 Here's a close-up of the purple stitching I used to applique the critters, as well as the decorative border.

Maddy supervised the final blanket assembly, which involved sewing the blue flannel liner to the green facing.

 Volia, the final product, all assembled and ready for delivery. Hopefully my friend won't read this blog post until AFTER I deliver the blanket!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I think the critters turned out pretty adorably...

  2. That is lovely! I am impressed that you could finish a blanket in one weekend. I think the colors and style are perfect for a little boy.

    1. Val, thanks! It was actually a pretty quick project - what took the most time was freehanding the critters and cutting them out. It really required minimal sewing. I sure hope he likes it... when he is old enough to develop taste in things. ;)

  3. Dang girl! You did a great job... the blanket turned out really nice! Want to make me some show clothes?? ;)

    1. Oooh, I love making cool sparkly stuff! Unfortunately, I'd need your body here to do it unless you already have a pattern that fits you perfectly. I'm utterly hopeless at taking measurements and translating that to an actual piece of clothing. But if you have a picture of what you want and I can borrow you for a couple of hours, I'm sure we could make something cool!