Monday, August 8, 2011

{ Flannel Strip Blanket - A Handmade Baby Gift }

Welcome back! I hope that you had a great weekend. We had a great vacation down to Lincoln City, OR last week and a nice weekend but I'll share more of that later. First I want to share what I was working on before we took off for vacation, the adorable Flannel Strip Blanket pictured above.

I came across the link to the tutorial for this blanket at a link party on another blog, but for the life of me I can't remember what blog hosted the party. What's most important though is that I can give credit to the creator of the tutorial I followed to make this adorable and snuggly baby blanket, Sumo over at Sumo's Sweet stuff.

Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Click on the button above to check her blog out or here to go to the Flannel Strip Blanket Tutorial she has posted.  Here I'll share my experience making the blanket and you can head on over to her place for more of the details if I've left anything out.

Making a strip blanket was easy, but very tedious in my opinion... well okay, it wasn't as bad as all that but I thought that I would pump this baby out in one night after reading the tutorial but it really took me a few nights.

First I had to go buy my materials. I got a little confused here. Sumo said I would need, " fabric: for the top, I used 1/4 yard of three patterns and 1/3 of one pattern, for the bottom, I used about 1 and 1/4 yards - I used flannel." When I read this now it makes sense, but for some reason the punctuation really threw me off when I read it quickly. I thought that she was saying I needed 1/4 yard of three patterns and 1/3 yard of one pattern for the bottom. The total yardage coming to 1 and 1/4 yards. I realized that the math seemed off, but not everyone is as into 4th grade fractions as me so I thought that this was just a typo. Not the case, reader error. Luckily I had bought extra fabric, because I wanted to be careful and a 3/4 of a yard didn't seem like a very big blanket, so I was able to finish my project without going back to the store. In the end, my blanket came out with only three fabrics on the top and a fourth on the bottom; whereas Sumo's original has four fabrics on the top and a fifth on the bottom.

Now, the first step after getting your materials should always be pre-washing and pressing to prepare the fabric for sewing, for some reason I skip this part a lot of the time... mostly because I want to get sewing and washing and pressing aren't much fun. But I highly recommend doing this, especially because flannel shrinks a ton - another reason to buy extra yardage- and cutting and sewing pressed fabric is easier than working with creased stuff. 

Next, or first in my case, I cut out all of my strips - 4 inches high selvage to selvage wide (selvages are the finished part of the fabric if you don't already know). Now because Sumo had 4 fabrics her blanket was 9 strips, to even out my three fabric top I added a tenth strip so that both ends of the blanket would have the same fabric.

Once I had my strips cut, I sewed them together with a 1/4" seam allowance (that is the edge of the presser foot on my machine). You will want to sew with the flannel wrong side to wrong side, completely the opposite of how one normally sews. I told myself over and over, wrong side to wrong side. Wrong side to wrong side. What did I do? I sewed the first two strips right side to right side, even while thinking, "wrong side to wrong side"! So out came the seam ripper, I have such a love hate relationship with that thing. So for your benefit, and mine, here's a picture of sewing the strips wrong side to wrong side so that your seams will be out.

When you finish sewing the strips together your sides won't be even so you'll need to trim them, I did this and cut my back piece to fit at the same time. I used a rotary cutter for all of the cutting on this project. I think that rotary cutters are essential for making blankets, but I could be wrong.

See that nice clean, straight edge?!?

Again, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance, sew your fabric wrong side to wrong side; this time all the way around the edges though to create your two layered blanket. 

Oh yeah! And did I mention that I'm a religious pinner? I pinned each row as I sewed and then the two layers here before sewing around the edge for the final blanket. Once you finish your sewing, you'll see that your blanket is really starting to look cute at this point. But you aren't done yet! Now it's cutting time, my least favorite part because my scissors stick. I cut every 1/4" or so, I eyeballed it, on every seem. I did this part while watching March of the Penguins with P and getting a pedicure, so it really is busy work like Sumo says.

As you can see, it's looking really cute at this point. There's just one more step, wash it. Hey! That's why I didn't prewash, I knew that I'd have to wash it once it was sewn anyway. To get my final product, I washed the blanket twice and as it's new owner will see the more it gets washed the more it will continue fray creating even fuzzier lines.

Finally, following Sumo's beautiful presentation I rolled up the blanket and tied it with an extra strip of flannel from the blanket. I can't wait to give this blanket to its new owners Adam and his mommy!

Thanks Sumo for the great tutorial! I hope that Adam likes it as much as I do. As always thanks to you too for reading, I'd love to hear any thoughts you have about this project in the comment section. 

And for the tally this is sewing project number seven, my first blanket. 

Places I've linked up:

Somewhat Simple The Shabby Nest


Sheila said...

This is so cute. Don't worry I also go ahead of myself and forget to prewash...Im so excited to get started. hmmm, I also think Im still working on Patience...Totally cracked up about the seam ripper...I can relate to that love hate- relationship. But when I lost mine, and tryed to use sissors man, did I love my seam ripper...I will never be without one...Great Blog

Janelle said...

I like.

Flannel Queen said...

Your quilt turned out really cute!

Victoria said...

I LOVE this! My sewing ability is basically repairing a button, but your posts have inspired me to possibly try something new. I think this is the project! I'd love to make baby a flannel blanket!! I better call my grandma for some help and her sewing machine...

Sandy said...

I love this and want to make one, but I am now totally confused as to how much fabric yardage I need! Help!

Sandy said...

Thanks for your help Jess... my blanket is done and it turned out great! Blogged about it here if you want to check it out:

Mich9 said...

google knows it :-D

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